From DCP Student to Faculty Member

Faculty Profile – Genesis Okken, Interior Design

Although her faculty position may be new, Genesis Okken, BDES ’13, MID ’15, has been a part of the DCP family for a long time. Okken’s involvement with DCP as a student combined with her passion for people and human-centered design has led her to become a lecturer for the Department of Interior Design.

1. What is your current role and what does it entail?
My current role is as a lecturer for the Department of Interior Design. I teach seniors in their final studio, which focuses on a hospitality capstone project. I also teach Computer Applications for 3D Design with the sophomore cohort.

Additionally, I’ve been piloting applied color workshops with Elizabeth Calienes, a Ph.D. student in our program, within different studios and support courses as an alternative form of color education. The program already has a heavy course load, so the workshops could potentially provide a more feasible way of better incorporating color theory and application in lieu of creating a separate color theory course. The workshops focus on bridging theory and application by focusing on their current projects. As part of my role, another important goal for my first year as a lecturer is to complete my licensing exam.

2. How long have you been at DCP and what previous roles have you served here (if any)?
This is my first semester as a lecturer at DCP. During my undergraduate education at DCP, I served as an office assistant for my department. I also did my graduate work here and served as a research assistant during that time.

3. What inspires you?
I think the short answer would be people and human-centered design. I’m inspired by different cultures and how individuals think and behave. In fact, one of the things that really drew me to the field of interior design was that I felt it was a form of applied environmental psychology. We get to study the way different people live, work, learn and play in order to develop solutions that are novel, functional and safe.

4. Who are the most influential people in your life?
Most influential is a hard question to answer. I’ve had a lot of amazing mentors in my life ranging from family and friends to past professors and supervisors. They have all been instrumental in shaping the person I am today.

5. What do you think is the most exciting trend in your field today?
I think the cross-pollination that is happening between the design of different market sectors in my field is very interesting, especially how it relates to more innovative strides for those individual building types. Besides the implications for more creative design solutions, my interest is also in part because a component of my past research explored color-planning strategies across multiple market sectors.

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