Tempe Businesses Employ Design Grads

Posted on January 29, 2013 by Sally Mesarosh

Choosing a career isn’t easy, but for Mesa Community College graduates Erin Versaevel and Nicole Schmidt, the path was made a little easier with the college’s Career and Technical Education options.

MCC’s CTE offers one- to two-year programs that provide students with the academic and technical training needed to obtain a job, industry-recognized credentials, certificate of completion, or associate’s degree. Because local business leaders respect the rigorous training provided by CTE, many of them offer internships or full-time positions to MCC students.

Erin Versaevel, a 2009 MCC Interior Design graduate, found employment at a Sherwin-Williams store in Tempe as an assistant manager and in-story color consultant. She began working there after meeting a Sherwin-Williams representative while attending a professional interior design function as a student.

She said she uses the skills she learned in the Interior Design Program at MCC on a daily basis for her job at Sherwin-Williams.

“I still think back to the color theory class and what it taught me about lighting and its effects on color, as well as all the other nuances of color,” Versaevel said.  “Reading blueprints and paint schedules and measuring for wallpaper are just a couple of the other tools practiced in the Interior Design program that I use often.”   

The hands-on skills learned in the programs often require practice and dedication.

“A couple of the classes I took were hard, but it made me stretch myself,” said Nicole Schmidt, who earned a certificate in Interior Design and is working toward completing her associate’s degree. “It was worth it in the end.  We made books with design samples upon completing the class.”

Schmidt works for Ikea in Tempe.  She said as a student it was helpful to be able to see how things were done behind-the-scenes.

“We went on field trips around the Valley and saw how a chair was built, how granite tiles were made,” Schmidt said.  “When we visited companies, we dressed professionally and introduced ourselves. Everything was very professional.”

Students learn from instructors who are experts in their field and each program has its own advisory board that includes members of the local business community. Their participation and input helps to ensure courses are relevant. Students are trained using the most current business/industry-based technologies to meet the needs of employers, making them competitive in the job market.

Versaevel said she really enjoyed her time at MCC.

“I was thankful to have the ability to balance school and work schedules while earning my degree,” Versaevel said.  “The teachers were friendly and knowledgeable, creating an inviting and comfortable learning environment.  I value both the education and the friendships that I gained there.”

Janice Pierson, MCC Interior Design instructor, said it’s a thrill to watch graduates from MCC’s Interior Design Program find rewarding careers.

“There are so many facets to Interior Design that the career possibilities seem endless,” Pierson said.  “We are proud of both Erin and Nicole and the design skills they bring to their Tempe employers and the community.”

MCC offers 32 CTE programs and over 150 Associate of Applied Science degrees and Certificates of Completion. For more information, visit: http://www.mesacc.edu/its-all-at-mcc/career-technical-education.

About Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College provides outstanding transfer and career and technical programs, workforce development, and life-long learning opportunities to residents of the East Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. MCC excels in teaching, learning and empowering more than 40,000 students who attend annually to succeed in a local and global community.  Mesa Community College is one of ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District.

Please direct media inquiries to Angela Askey at angela.askey@mesacc.edu or Sally Mesarosh at sally.mesarosh@mesacc.edu  or the Office of Institutional Advancement at 480-461-7445.  IA website:  www.mesacc.edu/ia.