Designing for the future

Name: Sarah Miller
Program: Interior Design
Year: Senior
Hometown: Granger, Indiana

Not just a pretty picture: “Most people have the misconception of what interior design is about. It’s not just picking out paint samples and carpet. As a designer you have a responsibility to uphold and give back.”

Sarah is a member of the Purdue team that will compete in the 2011 Solar Decathlon, an international collegiate competition to build an energy-efficient house sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Sarah will use her design talents to ensure the house uses net zero energy while being judged in ten different categories including cost, attractiveness and energy efficiency. “Being involved in the Solar Decathlon has allowed me to contribute to improvements for the future. I will have the opportunity to take this experience and make an impact in this market.”

No place like home: Although she spent a short time at Ball State, Sarah was attracted to Purdue for its nationally known interior design program. “Being born and raised in Indiana, Purdue seemed like the obvious choice. It just felt like home.”

Give and take: After gaining professional experience through internships, she was shocked to see how little the industry is doing to design around sustainable principles. Sarah aspires to enter into a new era of design. “If you are going to build something, why not make it green? My generation will have a large impact on the future of design, as sustainability and alternative energy are growing concerns in our country.”

Just like the wind: In addition to music, nature is an inspiration for Sarah and a large influence in her design. “Obviously, it works so why not try to replicate Mother Nature in our designs to save energy and improve our planet.”

Captured in time: Sarah is a collector of old cameras and books. “It is fascinating to think of all the different moments in time the cameras have captured or all the hands the books have passed through. They each have their own piece of history.”

Looks can be deceiving: Don’t let her friendly demeanor fool you; Sarah has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

By Sarah Showalter