Design Institutes introduces 4-H’ers to possible career options By Trisha Gedon

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Design Institutes introduces 4-H’ers to possible career options

By Trisha Gedon

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma 4-H’ers who took part in the second Design Institute not only had a great time and made new friends, but they also took home a lot of new knowledge and experience that can be helpful with their 4-H project, but also could be useful in choosing a college major and career.

There were 13 4-H members and three adult volunteers from around the state taking part in the Design Institute, including Holly Levick, Comanche County 4-H’er.

Karla Knoepfli, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension associate specialist in the State 4-H Office, said one of the purposes of the Design Institute was to help participants discover how science, technology, engineering, art and math are part of interior design.

“Through the activities in the Design Institute, we wanted them to gain a greater understanding of the importance and application of the elements and principles of design,” Knoepfli said. “Recognizing and mastering these concepts are vital to the 4-H interior design and construction project area and apply to many other 4-H projects.  Participants began to see and realize how these visual concepts surround us as man-made designs and as natural occurrences.”

The Institute’s design project focused on a “dorm room.”  They toured a dorm room on the OSU campus, created a design board and experienced hand and electronic drafting concepts creating a computer simulation of the room and furnishing – floor to ceiling.  Presentations were made the last day.

The group also had an opportunity to tour a furniture store and learn about various brands of furniture, upholstery and room accessories. They divided into groups and went through the store selecting various furnishings and accessories and then designed a room on the computer.

Over the course of two days, the group learned the importance and application of the elements and principles of design, technology used in interior design practice and the importance of considering the client’s overall needs.

“They definitely learned interior design is much more than decorating a room or making cute things,” Knoepfli said.

Comanche County 4-H’er Holly Levick, said she was interested in the Design Institute because she knew what she learned would come in handy when she had her own home.

“When we moved in our house, I made a blueprint of my room,” Levick said. “It was smaller than the room at our other house, so I had to figure out how my things were going to fit. I even built my own dresser.”

Kayla Wolfe, a 4-H’er from Rogers County, said she has always enjoyed sewing and though the Design Institute would be a lot of fun.

“I like to put my own spin on things,” Wolfe said. “I’m active in shooting sports, so I made a western heritage dress for that. I hope to be able to teach a 4-H workshop on what I learned at the Design Institute.”

Alana Pulay, assistant professor in OSU’s Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising, said it is important for the 4-H’ers to gain an understanding of why interior design is important.

“It’s important to meet the needs of the end-user and client – disabled, elderly, children, student, business, school or restaurant – to ensure their welfare, safety and health within the built environment,” Pulay said.

The adult volunteers who took part in the Design Institute also gained knowledge and information.

“The volunteers who participated now have a tool box full of resources and ideas for leading project groups in the design and construction project area,” Knoepfli said. “Both the youth and adults were excited with the opportunities and exposure to state-of-the-art technology offered at OSU.”


NOTE TO EDUCATORS: I have quoted a couple of attendees in this release, but please feel free to add quotes from the 4-H’ers in your county.


Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.  Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.


Trisha Gedon
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)


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