The stars aligned for Diane Durocher when she and her family moved to Ramsey, NJ, in 1993. Ms. Durocher was eager to pursue a career in interior design, and Berkeley College had recently launched an AAS in Interior Design at its Waldwick Campus.
“I opened my local paper and there was an article about the new program. I was so excited,” said Ms. Durocher, a 1996 graduate of Berkeley College.
Today, Ms. Durocher is owner and operator of Diane Durocher Interiors in Ramsey. She has served as former president of the NJ Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the leading organization of interior designers, and is the recipient of numerous “excellence in design” awards. Her most recent recognition is as co-designer on a kitchen project that took first place in the 2010 National Kitchen & Bath Association Design Competition.
“I like to think that it was a combination of a competitive college program, phenomenal faculty, and the opportunity to be affiliated with ASID on a student level that made me the professional I am today,” Ms. Durocher said.
Through the Berkeley College Internship Program, Ms. Durocher got her first hands-on interior design job experience. The Office of Career Services placed her as an intern assistant to a designer who worked with high-end clients.
“The first home I worked on with him was just a hair under 30,000 square feet. It was absolutely magnificent,” said Durocher who assisted, among other things, with drafting and design selections. “It was an invaluable opportunity to work in an atmosphere with the very highest quality of craftsmanship and products.”
In her second internship she learned the nuts and bolts of running a small interior design shop. That experience paid big dividends when she opened her own business years later.
Understanding the value of early job training, Ms. Durocher has offered internship opportunities to Berkeley College Interior Design students for 13 years. More than five years ago she hired one of those interns – Roueda Radwan, who has an AAS in Interior Design (2005) and a BS in Interior Design Management (2010) from Berkeley College – as a full-time design associate.
“I love working with Berkeley College students because they know that interior design is not all about picking out pretty fabrics and doing design work,” Ms. Durocher said. “They understand the operating end of the business. That’s one of the great pluses of pursuing an interior design degree at a business college.”