Sheria Butler earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003. For 10 years she worked in corporate sales, public relations, and advertising at a number of firms in Connecticut. She graduated from NYSID’s MFA-1 program in 2014.
What made you change your career trajectory?
When I turned 30, I looked long and hard at my career and I decided it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the next 30 years. There were aspects of it that I liked, but it just wasn’t the right career for me. I always had a passion for interior design, especially residential design. At first I had some doubts about going back to school full-time—the thought of having homework again was daunting—but I’m so glad I did it.
Was the MFA-1 program what you expected?
I expected it to be a lot of work, and it definitely was. At times the workload was overwhelming but I understand there is a lot of information to cover, especially for MFA-1 students who don’t have a background in design. I was never a computer person, so I was amazed at all the computer programs I learned about in a short amount of time.
I really liked that the classes were small and that the instructors are approachable and very knowledgeable in their field. They have their own careers, yet they respond to e-mails and help you grow as a professional. The learning environment is excellent and the people I met were great. I love the fact that there is a good mix of cultures—my friends are from Korea, China, Taiwan and throughout the US, including California, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland.
How did you like the Graduate Center?
I really liked being in Midtown, it was very convenient and felt like we blended right in with the city. The modern, updated space felt like a design studio. Some people might want more of a campus feel, but I liked that the space felt like a part of the working world. I also liked that we were separate from undergraduates; we did our own thing. We were a very tight-knit group.
What were some of your favorite classes?
In the first year I really liked Textiles for Interiors and Color for Interiors. And in my second year, the computer classes really stood out. Kai Liang was great at teaching Revit, Photoshop, and SketchUp. He taught me how to translate ideas from my head into a computer program. All of these classes were a great foundation for what you’re going to be doing as an interior designer. And the studio classes were also fun because you had free rein and could be creative.