Sonia Ramirez is a 5th year student studying Environmental Design, with minors in Interior Design, Spanish, and French! She is working for ADG, a well known design firm located in the heart of Oklahoma City.

Ramirez works in the department of interiors, which is a segment of the design team for ADG. Her role includes anything from data programming and Revit modeling to site visits, as-builts and punch lists, she said.

“With seven members in the department, I get to participate in a variety of projects and tasks when working with each member as needed,” she explained.

“Every day brings a new practice or skill and equally exciting experiences.”

-Sonia Ramirez

Ramirez said she has learned a variety of skills, including skills that aren’t directly involved with design. The wide range of projects she is working on has allowed her to explore new programs to her, such as lighting and urban design.

“The versatility of day-to-day tasks and sometimes unexpected experiences help me stay on my toes and pay attention to small details, a crucial factor to the design world.”

At the Gibbs College of Architecture, Ramirez says that her studio experience has proven to be so much more like the real-world experience than she initially thought.

“The hands-on approach through the Environmental Design program has allowed me to work with professionals and communities [alongside] my classmates,” she said.

“The professors’ willingness to provide guidance and resources were always the cherry on top to helping me find jobs and potential opportunities.”

One project that she’s most proud of is her “Coffee Coffee” accent table built during her furniture design course.

Sonia Ramirez’s “Coffee Coffee” table

“There were so many factors that played a role into that class–learning a new skill that applied all stages of the design process, lots of patience, an original idea, and a visible product to prove the accomplishment,” Ramirez said.

The table was named “Coffee Coffee” to emphasize the repetition of elements throughout the project, and because of its unusual shape.

“Coffee Coffee” during the building process

For Ramirez, the best part of the Environmental Design program is that it allows students to dive into more than one built environment discipline. Most of her studio experience has involved interior design, which allows her to connect the smallest and most specific design details to larger-scale disciplines such as Regional + City Planning and Landscape Architecture, she said.

“Every discipline brings its own specialty to the table, but it sure is fun to sit alongside all of them at the same time.”

For incoming students, she says that shadowing a professional who does what you think you want to do is the best advice she could give. The experience of shadowing a professional helped her build her professional network and is what led to her internship today.

“After visiting a design firm, I had a clear vision of what I was looking to gain from my program and the goals I wanted to achieve. The vision of what a day-to-day profession includes got me through the sometimes frustrating times in studio.”

Photos provided by Sonia Ramirez