Berkeley Today Stories

Berkeley College Malquis Palencia.

Student Develops as an Interior Designer Thanks to Faculty Support



Berkeley College Malquis Palencia.


Malquis Palencia has always liked interior design, but she was not sure if she wanted to pursue it as a career. All of her doubts disappeared shortly after enrolling in a design studio course taught by Alfonso Torino, Ph.D., Berkeley College Chair, Interior Design, School of Professional Studies.

“Professor Torino is very passionate about his subject, and he reflects that passion onto his students. After that first course, I had fallen in love with interior design and couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” said Ms. Palencia, who earned an Associate’s degree in Interior Design in winter 2014. She is now pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design at Berkeley College in Woodland Park.

Ms. Palencia, a mother of two children ages eight and 12, said that the Interior Design program is challenging and that professors provide additional support to students.

Professors Help Student to Grow Personally and Professionally

“When I started in the Interior Design program I felt like a baby. I did not know anything. Over the course of the program, I have learned something valuable from each of my professors, and that has helped me to grow as a person and as a designer,” said Ms. Palencia, who is a student member of the American Society of Interior Designers Student Chapter.

Dr. Torino describes Ms. Palencia as a responsible and mature student who has always been very serious about her work and responsibilities.

“Malaquis’ design abilities have been constantly growing since her time here at Berkeley College,” Dr. Torino said. “She is now able to work on any project and achieve great technical and creative solutions.”

Ms. Palencia served the internship for her Associate’s degree at Jeffrey Brooks Interior Design in Long Valley, NJ, where she was encouraged to provide input on design concepts and used her AutoCAD and 3D rendering skills to create floor plans for redesigns.

Ms. Palencia said that one of the most important lessons she has learned at Berkeley College is to be open to constructive criticism on her designs.

“The professors told me ‘If you want to be a great designer, you have to leave your ego outside the door and listen to what people are saying,’” Ms. Palencia said. “I love that my professors are honest and are constantly pushing me to do my absolute best.”