The DJMT O’Brien Endowed Scholarship Fund was established at the FSU Foundation by gifts from the O’Brien Family – Dianne and Tim (MS Instructional Systems 2004) O’Brien and their daughters Michele Rose (BS Interior Design 1992, MFA Interior Design 1995) and Julia Halderman (BS Mathematics 1993, MS Instructional Systems 1995, PhD Educational Psychology 2002).
Over the past fifteen years, the DJMT O’Brien Endowed Scholarship Fund has aided 41 interior design students.
Today we look back to some of the early recipients to reflect on the impact of the family’s generosity. We asked three alumni two questions, “What was the impact of the O’Brien Scholarship during your academic career?” and “Can you share where you are in your career now?” Join us as we journey with Anne Carr, Katie Logan, and Andrew Tobias from their time with the Department to their current successes.
“FSU’s renowned Interior Design program required determination and grit – and coupled with my active role in leadership organizations on campus – it became easy to lose sight of my goals. Receiving the O’Brien scholarship honored and reaffirmed my efforts pursuing a degree in Interior Design and reminded me the power of philanthropy.
If I had put together a vision board when I graduated of where I wanted to be in 12-years, I’m humbled to say that my career has landed me there! After graduating from FSU in 2008, I moved to Phoenix, AZ and received an MS in Design Research with an emphasis on Sustainability from Arizona State University. I remained in Phoenix for a couple of years after receiving my Masters, working for an architecture firm in their LEED and healthcare design sectors while also serving as adjunct faculty for ASU. In 2012, I moved to Orlando, FL and began working in the Health Interiors studio at HKS Architects. I was well equipped by my education at FSU to take on the pace of working on large projects for an international Architecture and Design firm.”
“Looking back, the O’Brien scholarship played a significant role in my academic career. Receiving the scholarship came as a surprise and gave me the confidence to apply to architecture school after FSU.
After graduating from FSU, I went on to obtain a Masters in Architecture from FAMU. While at FAMU I completed a summer internship at Gensler’s San Francisco Office and upon graduation I was hired back to the office working in their interiors studio. Having a background in Interior Design and Architecture afforded me many opportunities to work with a variety of clients on various project types: workplace, food & beverage, higher education and building repositioning. I have now worked in three Gensler offices as a designer and licensed architect (San Francisco, Oakland and now Philadelphia) over my seven-year career.”
“The O’Brien Scholarship absolutely made my time within the IAD program that much more enjoyable. It allowed me to focus on my studies and not have as much financial strain, which allowed me to soak in the abundance of knowledge the program has to offer.
Currently, I am a Workplace Strategy Manager for the world’s largest sports merchandise company, Fanatics. For every new office build-out or renovation, I am involved in the process of determining the needs, space planning, design, and coordination with design firms and contractors. Before this role, I was a corporate, registered interior designer with a large design firm where I specialized in interior office renovations for locations all over the world, including Fanatics’ offices before joining the team here. FSU’s IAD program was such a great experience and allowed me the working knowledge to hit the ground running in my career. Thanks, FSU IAD!!”
We are so grateful to the O’Brien family for their continued generosity which encourages students like Anne, Katie, and Andrew to make their mark in the design community.
To make a gift online to the Department of Interior Architecture & Design, click on Giving button above. Please mail checks, made payable to “FSU Foundation” with “Interior Architecture & Design in the memo line to the address below.