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How Three Friends Ended up at Centre for Arts and Technology at Different Times


Three friends have ended up on the Interior Design Program, at different times, thanks to word-of-mouth – from each other!

Interior Design at the Centre for Arts and Technology

Photo Grant Robinson

First Diana told Krystina. Then Krystina told Irena…They say word of mouth is the best marketing strategy there is, which is certainly the case when it comes to CAT’s Interior Design program.

Over the past 5 years, we have had three close friends all sign up for the Interior Design program based on what they have been told by each other. “We all grew up together,” explains Irina Cherkoff, current CAT  Interior Design Program student. “Diana (Seminutin) reached out to Krystina (Lutsenko) and told her all about the course, why it was so amazing, and why it would be good for her. Krystina ended up taking it and loved it. I knew I wanted to do something creative but that was also practical, but couldn’t figure out what that was. I loved interior design but didn’t know how legitimate of a career it was in Kelowna. Krystina reached out to me and said ‘let’s go for coffee’. She brought some of her projects to show me and walked me through some of the stuff she did. I had no idea interior design could be so broad. She opened me up to the bigger picture. I’m so glad she did that because I love it.”

“I have lots of family in the industry so I’ve been exposed to construction and design from a young age,” explains Krystina. “Diana told me about the program and I realized with my interests, skills, and background exposure design, the career was a perfect fit for me! It was very reassuring to hear about her positive experience at CAT before I jumped in headfirst. There are a lot of aspects to interior design that people don’t know about so it’s important to talk to someone and do some research beforehand so you’re aware of what you’re getting into.” ‘All the instructors are or were at one point industry professionals so the information we received was relevant, and equipped us for life after school,” says Krystina. “The instructors pushed us throughout the course which developed skills and strengths within us that would be useful as we moved into the work-force. To me, that is very valuable!” Irina agrees.

“My favorite part is that the teachers are industry professionals. Because, especially in this area, they all know exactly what the market is here. They not only teach us the tools we need, but they explain from their experience how they have applied them, and how we would need to. It’s not just teaching from a textbook. We’re learning the tools we need to apply out there in the industry. And people notice that when we’re doing our practicums.” “The practicums are very beneficial because it gives students the chance to create connections within the industry which can lead to jobs in the future,” explains Krystina.

“I was offered a Junior Interior Design position at MATERIA Interior Design Studio while I was still in school! I’m still currently working there.” “I started my practicum a couple of months ago with Evolve Design Build, and I work for them now,” says Irina. “It’s really awesome. It’s really busy but I’m learning so much, and what I’m learning on the job is really helping with my school work. It’s worked out really well. And I know for a fact that Diana got a job from Ç interior design her practicum with MQN in Vernon, and Krystina got a job before she graduated school too.

I was a little nervous – Diana got a job from her practicum, Krystina got a job before she graduated… I thought I’m part of the lump now if  I don’t get a job now it’s going to look so bad! So I’m happy with the way it worked out!” Irina is also more than happy to tell her friends about the program.“You know how lots of your friends have the same interests?” explains Irina. “Any of my friends who have the same artsy-type personality I tell about the ID course. I know it doesn’t always turn out as successful, but all of us are doing great! Even the grads from last year – one of the girls I work with at Evolve, Cassidy Stober, she graduated from the course last year.” “Jen (Yeo) the department head is really awesome,” continues Chirkoff.

“You can tell she really puts effort into the program and making sure that we all know what we’re learning. She’s constantly checking up on us. Which is another reason I love this program. Because it’s smaller you know that you can have better communication and a better relationship with teachers and the department head. You get one-on-one time, they go through your projects and tell you what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and why.” Lastly, what words of advice do the ladies have for current CAT Interior Design Program students? “Remember the course is condensed so it can be pretty intense.” says Krystina. “It’s important to learn time- management so you don’t get overwhelmed.”

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