UNI student wins interior design program

Interior design student Jonathan Martin is a recipient of the prestigious Diversity in Design Pipeline program.

Courtesy Photo

Interior design student Jonathan Martin is a recipient of the prestigious Diversity in Design Pipeline program.

Karla DeBruin, Managing Editor

Jonathan Martin earns place in Thermador’s Diversity in Design program, is partnered with interior designer

UNI interior design student Jonathan Martin, is the recipient of the prestigious Diversity in Design Pipeline program. This program started in spring 2021, by Thermador – a luxury appliance manufacturer – and the Interior Design Society (IDS). The program takes five interior design students from across the country and partners them with professional designers. 

“It feels incredible to be a part of this program because I believe that many seniors, no matter their program, have nerves about graduating and starting a career in their field of study,” Martin said. “This opportunity has given me access to many professionals in the industry who have previously been in my shoes and have become very successful as interior designers.” 

Martin, who is originally from West Liberty, found his passion from his mother, who was not able to complete her own degree in interior design. Instead, she decided to raise her four children. 

For Martin, the application was an easy process. The requirements included proof of financial need, letters of recommendation, three portfolio images and a digital copy of a transcript. He first got an email about the program from his professor and advisor Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi. Gulwadi knew Martin was a nontraditional student, as he was the only male in a female dominated profession and is a part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The program offers unique opportunities for Martin, as each recipient receives a mentor as part of the program, and their mentor will help each student through their senior year and into a career after graduation. Martin’s advisor is Jonathan Savage of SAVAGE Interior Design, who is based in Palm Beach, Fla.  The pair has talked about networking and building a portfolio. 

As part of the program, Thermador plans to bring  recipients and their mentors to their headquarters in California at some point during the year. Martin will also be awarded membership to IDS for free. 

This program will also help Martin get a job in the industry, and he has already received an offer for an internship from his mentor. He is looking forward to getting some professional experience and eventually starting his own business and he can eventually help students like himself. 

“Having the ability to communicate with professionals outside of my circle here not only allows me to expand my professional network before graduation, but also allows me to expand my knowledge through the mentorship portion of this program,.” Martin said.

Martin commends UNI’s interior design program for the opportunities and instruction he has received.

“The interior design program here at UNI is incredibly rewarding, challenging and filled with great instruction,” Martin said. “When I decided to pursue interior design, I had no idea how many paths a designer can take with the completion of this degree. If a student is at all interested in interior design as a profession, I highly encourage them to explore all avenues that this degree can offer. The support that you receive from the professors and peers is incredible, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this program.”