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In National Competition, Student Wins $5,000 Scholarship

Already a student in the nation’s No. 1 interior design program at UC, Stacey Schield was also the No. 1 winner in a recent national design competition.

Date: 12/18/2006
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover
UC ingot University of Cincinnati interior design student Stacey Schield is singing a happy tune after winning a competitive scholarship worth $5,000.

Stacey Schield
Stacey Schield at her current co-op job with Hixson.

The scholarship came from the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality, Inc. for the 2006 Icons of Industry Scholarship Award, a win that also earned Stacey a trip to New York City, While there she was able to network with nationally prominent designers like David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group, Maya Romanoff of the Maya Romanoff Corporation and Zina Zimmerman of ZZWORKS, Inc.

Stacey, of Denver, Colorado, won the scholarship based on merit and her portfolio pieces, which included a reinterpretation of a Kyle Bunting floor covering. Ironically, however, Stacey was almost disqualified from the contest because the awards committee wasn’t sure she was a student because she was on a professional cooperative education work quarter when she submitted her work.

“I’m currently on co-op working for Hixson (Hixson Architecture Engineering Interiors), and I got a call from the NEWH saying they needed a letter verifying that I was a student. It seems the awards committee didn’t recognize the term ‘Professional Practice’ (UC’s formal term for co-op) on my transcript. So, UC faxed a letter to them that day,” recollects Stacey.

She continues, “I got a call (later) that same week telling me I had won. I screamed with excitement after I got off the phone, and I think all my co-workers got whiplash turning around to see what was going on.”

Stacey Schield, center, with Hixson co-workers
Roselia Harris, left, and Melissa Shrimplin, right, of Hixson assist UC co-op Stacey Schield, center, in selecting samples for a current project.

While Stacey was obviously happy about the scholarship which will help with tuition, she was just as happy to win the NEWH trip to New York City because of the networking opportunities made available to her as well as the chance to study hospitality interiors while there.

“Through the NEWH, I met many genuine and talented designers,” Stacey asserts. She adds, “They all impressed upon me that I could be in their shoes someday and they were there to help me reach my goals. I aspire to learn all that I can from these wonderful mentors and someday be able to give another design student the experiences that I have had.”

Importantly, Stacey adds that many people she met in New York were aware of UC’s top-ranked interior design program. UC’s program in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning is known throughout the industry because of how the curriculum and co-op combine to develop students not just in theory but also in practice.

While in New York, Stacey was able to visit several hospitality locales to study interiors. “Whenever I go somewhere new, I love to visit hotels and restaurants I have read about. Other people go to see the Statue of Liberty, I go to visit the Hudson. My mom says I’ve dragged her to every hotel in the country by this point.”

Stacey figures that she enjoys hotel hospitality design because, for her as a former opera student and singer, they recall the theater sets she once worked within. “For me, interior design is like going back to performing. With both, you have the chance to create an experience for an audience. With opera, the experience was over when the singing stopped. I think that’s why I finally opted for interior design over opera. In interior design, I can create an experience that endures for years, even decades.”

As a one-time opera singer, Stacey performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall at the age of 17. She also studied opera for more than two years at the university level but finally decided to pursue interior design over opera because she loved the challenges of design.

Stacey Schield

When she came to UC in 2003, she knew she had the drive but was afraid she might not have the requisite talent. “I knew I was in the right place when one of my first instructors (Dennis Mann) said that if you have commitment to learn design, you can be taught everything you need to know. Drive and desire makes it happen. He was right. I think this scholarship proves that I have the commitment and that DAAP has given me the tools to succeed.”

But New York will not be the end of Stacey’s travel experience with NEWH: She has been invited to speak at a NEWH leadership conference in Toronto, Canada this January. Also, while in New York she stopped by the office of the Rockwell Group, and they asked Stacey to consider a fall 2007 co-op work quarter at their firm.

So, Stacey hopes she will be returning to New York (for the fall 2007 co-op) at least one more time before she graduates.



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