Designing a New Future: Andrea Abercrombie ’19
By Courtney Hammett ’19
Recently featured in the Herald Journal newspaper, Interior Design student Andrea Abercrombie ’19 talks about life at Converse College and interning at Milliken.
Finding Her Way at Converse
“My Converse experience has been wonderful and that has been for many reasons. The Interior Design Program at Converse is currently one of only two programs in South Carolina that are accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. This is what initially attracted me to Converse’s Interior Design program; this accreditation both ensures the quality of the program and is attractive to prospective employers. Secondly, Converse offers the Converse II program for non-traditional students. This is important to me because it not only makes attending the school more affordable for non-traditional students, but it also speaks to Converse being welcoming of non-traditional students, understanding the challenges which nontraditional students may face, and being supportive in ensuring our success. I am thankful to Converse II Director, Tammy Stokes, who assisted me with the admissions process.”
Professional Design Work Experience is a part of our academic program, and its purpose is to help us secure design internships and future employment in the design field.
“I was impressed by the dedication of the faculty at Converse. On many occasions, I have personally seen Dr. Susanne Gunter and Professor Ruth Beals working many evenings and weekends to perform tasks and attend functions to enhance the student experience. I know from personal experience that these two women go above and beyond the call of duty on a regular basis. Additionally, President Newkirk has developed a Diversity Committee at the college, and I believe this will serve to further augment all student experiences. Professional Design Work Experience is a part of our academic program, and its purpose is to help us secure design internships and future employment in the design field. The Center for Professional Development is also a valuable resource in helping students to prepare for internship and employment opportunities.”
Hands-on at Milliken
“My internship is with the Milliken Floor Covering Division Hospitality Design Team at the Roger Milliken Center, located in Spartanburg, SC. The internship involves assisting the Hospitality team designers who provide custom floor coverings for places like hotels, restaurants and resorts. My work with the team includes conducting and presenting market research information, developing digital libraries containing various types of floor covering information, recoloring floor covering designs, becoming knowledgeable about our products and customer interests, responding to customer requests, taking inventory, organizing and cataloging product samples, filing production information and performing digital floor covering installation simulations.”
The Stepping Stone
“One of the most unique experiences I have had at Milliken is to observe the design team as they work through the design process. There are designers who design for commercial, residential and/or for hospitality uses. The hospitality designers create one-of-a-kind custom designs for their customers. Not only are the designs unique, functional, and very beautiful, but no one would ever imagine the detail, care, and effort which each designer puts into their designs. I’ve enjoyed the experience of learning the process of making modifications to such designs.
One of the most unique experiences I have had at Milliken is to observe the design team as they work through the design process.
During my internship I was able to visit some of Milliken’s plants. This experience will always stay with me as the production equipment and processes used are unlike anything I have ever seen before. Milliken’s ability to produce a breadth of quality products for everyday use is unimaginable. Anyone can visit Milliken’s Innovation Gallery to get a glimpse of the many products Milliken offers here in the United States and around the world. I had the fortune of being invited to the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Carolinas Chapter Board of Directors meeting, held in Milliken’s Athenaeum Design Center. This was an enlightening experience as I was privy to board members’ perspectives on many issues related to design. This included the use of marketing materials, the customer experience, interactive design opportunities, and new product development.
When I first interviewed at Milliken, I was very impressed by the warm welcome which I received from the members of the Floor Covering Division Team who interviewed me. After being offered and accepting the internship position, I was further welcomed by many other members of the organization and its human resources team. In fact, HR hosted a Leadership Forum for all interns in all divisions of the organization. It was a touching experience to have Milliken invest so much of its time and resources into the development of its interns and making our internship a wonderful experience. Milliken has a wonderful work environment, smart, energetic, and dedicated employees. I will always appreciate the opportunity which Milliken has afforded me and hope to have a relationship with Milliken in the future.”