It took a while for senior interior architecture major Morgan Rigsbee to discover her love for design.

Having graduated from the City of Medicine Academy in Durham, a magnet school that trains students to work in health care, Rigsbee came to UNCG for the renowned School of Nursing.

Two years later, she made a giant leap of faith.

Photo of Morgan Rigsbee discussing design plans with Stoel Burrowes

Morgan Rigsbee discusses design plans with Stoel Burrowes, assistant professor of interior architecture.

“I realized nursing wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do,” said Rigsbee, who will graduate in December. “I was considering different options, and my friend told me about interior architecture. I came to the open house, and the moment I walked into the building I thought, ‘I love it.’ I’ve been hooked ever since.”

One foot inside UNCG’s Gatewood Studio Arts Center and you’ll understand why. The third and fourth floors, dedicated to interior architecture, are sleek, modern spaces that fuel creativity and collaboration.

Although called interior architecture because of its holistic and multidisciplinary curriculum, the program is designed to prepare students for careers in interior design. The department has received national recognition, being named the fourth most admired undergraduate interior design program in the nation by DesignIntelligence’s 2015 America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools annual survey.

Interior architecture students aren’t just designing products and spaces – they’re also building them. Rigsbee, who’s built chairs, cabinets and other products and structures, has no problem getting her hands dirty.

“I’ve loved the furniture projects the most because that’s where I’ve learned so much,” she said. “It’s essentially taking a strip of raw tree and turning it into something else.”

The program is also known for its community engagement. Rigsbee has been involved with several projects in the Glenwood neighborhood and was part of a team of students that designed crosswalk art for downtown Greensboro this past summer.

For Rigsbee, interior architecture is more than just an academic department. It’s truly a family.

“Everyone is so close-knit,” she said. “I really love how much the faculty cares about the students and how they push us to do our best work.”

After graduation, Rigsbee intends to work full time for PIX-US, a digitally-based advertising company that develops computer-generated images for print, web and motion applications. She is currently a part-time designer for the company, creating ad designs and overseeing the entire design process.

Looking back, Rigsbee has no regrets.

“I’m glad I made the change,” she said. “My mother said it herself – once I started with interior architecture, she could tell I was a completely different human being. This is what I’m supposed to do.”

 

Follow the conversation about December Commencement on social media by searching #uncggrad on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Relations
Photography by Chris Snow, Photography Intern, University Relations