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Local designers encourage student to explore options at Kirkwood

Outstanding Student, Elena Kaloupek

By Christina Uptain
On April 17, 2019

Interior design, non-traditional student Elena Kaloupek is on her second round of college. After being involved with business, marketing and photography, she felt a pull in a different direction, which is how she found herself at Kirkwood. 

Q: Why did you choose Kirkwood Community College? 

A: This is a second career for me and I moved to Cedar Rapids at a time when I was figuring out what was next for me. I had some exposure to interior design through my photography work and several designers in this city were the ones who encouraged me to check out the program here.  

Q: What are your plans for after Kirkwood? 

A: Our program requires an internship, so I am currently at OPN Architects in downtown CR. They have built a number of buildings in the city and I am going to see if they have a position open to apply for but I am going to apply at others as well, since I don’t plan on leaving the area anytime soon. My degree is work-ready, so I have a variety of options available to me. 

Q: What is your favorite memory or experience during your time at Kirkwood? 

A: The community that is created in the interior design program is so fun and strong. We all go through every class together, we have a studio we work in… we spend time developing our projects and learning from each other, and it is so rewarding.  

Q: What/who is your inspiration? 

A: I am the youngest of four, and we all used to play together about owning businesses and dabbling in creative things, but we all had different strengths. Out of high school, I really didn’t see creative options, so I went into marketing as a creative edge to business. I think it formed a lot of how I view interior design now in a fun way. My parents always encouraged us to be outside and find creative things to do and creating crafts and problem solving when I was inside.  

Q: Who are you outside of KCC/academics? 

A: I am originally from Mt. Pleasant and my husband’s job moved us here to CR about four years ago. He works for Veritas Church downtown as a college pastor and I am also very involved. That is the vision for our marriage, so we go where that job goes and I can do my work anywhere in the world, though we don’t plan on leaving in the near future.  

Q: What does being named Outstanding Student mean to you? 

A: It is a pleasant surprise. It’s nice to know that especially as a student on my second time around, my hard work has paid off and I am being recognized on my own merit. 

Interview conducted by Christina Uptain, Co-Managing Editor 

Outstanding Student Elena Kaloupek works on pallet samples during labs on March 27.
Photo by Jeff Sigmund.

 

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