Interior design students attend selective training

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    A junior interior design major said she holds the TCU lighting program in even higher regard after being able to hold her own among graduate students at a boot camp sponsored by General Electric.Ericka Bailey, a junior interior design major, is earning a minor in lighting, a degree offered by the department of design, merchandising and textiles. Bailey was among a group of students chosen to represent TCU at GE’s Student Boot Camp Lighting Conference this summer, where TCU’s Center for Lighting Education was the only undergraduate program invited to attend.

    Mary Beth Gotti, the manager of GE’s Lighting Institute, said GE chose the TCU lighting program because it is one of the best in the country.

    “It was the quality of the program,” Gotti said. “To find a school with actual lighting curriculum is rare.”

    TCU’s Center for Lighting Education was one of four programs invited to the boot camp. According to a TCU press release, the other programs present were the Parsons School of Design, Pennsylvania State University and the Lighting Research Center at the University of Nebraska.

    Each program brought different aspects of lighting to the boot camp, said Megan Gover, a senior interior design major who attended the conference. Some students had focused on a mechanical engineering background, while others focused on lighting research, she said.

    All of the students worked together to educate each other on their different lighting focuses, Gover said. She added that TCU students learned to recognize the technical and electrical aspects of lighting, while also showing other schools to appreciate lighting for its design quality and the atmosphere being created.

    Fred Oberkircher, director of the Center for Lighting Education, said students graduating from TCU with a lighting minor can work almost anywhere and that the boot camp furthered their opportunities in lighting.

    Shawn Kornegay, assistant director of communications for TCU, said this invitation recognizes the caliber and credibility of the TCU lighting program.

    Gover said their days at GE started early and kept them busy. Students attended lectures given by experts on topics such as the background of GE, the basics of lighting, the relationship between colors and light, the technical aspects of lighting and the effect of light on health.

    The lighting minor uses the Center for Lighting Education to give students a chance to gain hands-on experience by practicing lighting in the center’s 600-square-foot building.

    Bailey said that with the minor, she can appreciate lighting designs she never would have noticed before, and said that she has learned the best lighting design is one where the effort to light correctly is not noticed at all.