• YEAR: Junior
  • MAJOR: Interior Design, minor in Building Construction Management
  • HOMETOWN: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Michelle Bouley

Throw out all preconceived ideas of interior design. Meet Michelle Bouley and let her tell you about her career of choice: "The Interior Design program is so much more than throw pillows and paint samples," she says. It's about providing comfort in the way people live and work.

"Humans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, and through interior design I can make those environments safer, healthier and ultimately happier."

For Michelle, co-founder of Purdue's chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), interior design is about accurate and appropriate placement of walls, windows and doors and designing complete environments rather than individual rooms.

Good living

Michelle and a group of other students formed the Purdue chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in January. Since its formation, the Purdue group has grown to more than 30 members.

"Through USGBC, I want to promote saving energy and help to educate students, staff and visitors on campus about the ways to reduce our carbon footprint," Michelle says. "I would like to inspire many but would feel successful if I could start with one person willing to carry on this mission as they journey through college."

LEED-ing the way

Michelle, who grew up in a family that remodeled and did home makeovers, describes herself as passionate about her interests. She hopes to join a firm that practices sustainability and works on LEED-certified projects that adhere to standards for sustainability in materials, procedures, and use of resources such as water and energy. Her dream is to design a LEED-certified building in hospitality — notably hotels and resorts — and, someday, her own home.

"I need to live out what I believe," she says. "I can't comfortably educate others or feel ethical about designing sustainable buildings if I am abusing my carbon footprint."

No joke

Michelle's friends are apt to describe her as motivated and organized. She says she hates to leave things unfinished or messy and probably laughs too much. She really does like to create in her free time and can be found crafting at times. "I spend way too much time on Pinterest," she admits, then adds, "Some day I'll have enough time to follow though with those projects."

The grand design

"Before I came to Purdue, interior design was just a passion and a dream, not a career path," Michelle says. "Here I am, practicing my skills and looking for jobs. My dream is now my reality."