Paige Kirschbaum, a 2012 graduate from American Fork High School, attributes her education and future career success to the interior design courses she took in high school, her involvement in FCCLA, and her decision to participate in a CTE Internship.
From a young age Paige had a passion for interior design, “I spent hours drawing up floor plans while I was in grade school. It was important that once I moved beyond my elementary and middle school education there was an avenue for this passion, said Paige.”
At American Fork High School Paige was drawn to and participated in the Family and Consumer Sciences Education Interior Design Pathway where she learned the elements of design. She also had the opportunity to be involved in designing the interiors for a home building project in Lehi, Utah. “While taking the [interior design] class I was introduced to color theory, model building, the principles and elements of design, and basic space planning. During my senior year, I was given the unique opportunity to take a new course called Advanced Interior Design. In this course, I spent time with the construction students developing a home project in Lehi, Utah. This allowed me a type of ‘real-life’ experience in design making basic selections for the interior of the home.”
While in high school, Paige was involved with FCCLA and competed in numerous state and regional competitions. Through FCCLA she learned business skills and made new friends. Paige describes the importance of her involvement in FCCLA. “My involvement in FCCLA was key during my high school years. It was there that I met a future colleague that attended Lone Peak High School. She continued, as did I, in pursuing the profession of interior design beyond high school. The next time I saw her was at the beginning of my freshman year with Utah State University’s Interior Design program. We became very close and plan to become business partners in the field. This all began with the connections made through FCCLA.”
After graduating from American Fork High School, Paige continued her education at Utah State University studying Interior Design. This summer she will spend eight weeks interning for Vicente Wolf Associates in New York City. “Vicente Wolf is Architectural Digest’s Top 100 Designer and has won numerous other awards. He is a well-known and praised designer in the industry. It is a privilege to be able to work as his intern this summer and I am definitely looking forward to the real-life experience from working hands-on with a New York designer and his team,” said Paige.
Paige attributes her successful preparation for advancement from high school to college (and soon a career) from the courses she took in Career and Technical Education and the opportunities she had in participating in a CTE Internship. “The most influential decision I made during high school was to participate in a [CTE] Internship. The path towards interior design began with my quick start into the field through my internship. Because my decision was made during high school I didn’t have to waste thousands of dollars in tuition trying to decide on a major. I walked into the university knowing exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. Utah State University has a very competitive program that I had heard about for years. I made it past the freshman review along with 16 others. There were over 40 applicants. A second review was made after my sophomore year and currently I will graduate with 14 other students. My high school education helped in pursuing such a rigorous program. I am grateful for the opportunities I was given at the beginning of my education. I look forward to becoming a NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer after graduation from Utah State University in May 2016.”
Blacktie & Barefoot: A Design by Paige Kirschbaum
Marianne Beck, Family and Consumer Sciences Education teacher and FCCLA Adviser at American Fork High School, expresses how important it is for students to participate in a CTE Pathway and CTE Internship. “As a Family and Consumer Sciences Education teacher, who teaches the Interior Design Pathway, I have enjoyed keeping in touch with students who have pursued their interests and have communicated how their interior design classes are what helped them discover their passion. The CTE Career Pathways program is a great way to help students discover how their classes can help them become college and career ready when they graduate from high school. It is also key that students involve themselves in the Work-Based Learning CTE Internship program, and different CTSOs [Career and Technical Student Organizations], to fully engage in all that they can to get the ‘real-life experience’ in the career they are interested in.”