By Mark Lambert, M.S. '97
Radford University interior design graduate Karizma Woods ’21 was named to the Future 100 list in Metropolis Magazine, a highly respected trade publication focusing on architecture and design. A feature about the list was included in the March 2021 edition of the magazine.
Each year, Metropolis Magazine highlights the top 100 graduating students from architecture and design programs in the United States and Canada. Candidates for the list submit work samples to be considered, which are then shared with architecture and design firms to help the students get a foot in the door for employment opportunities.
“Getting this award is a huge opportunity for my future career,” Woods said.
Woods, a Hampton, Virginia, native who graduated in May with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, wasn’t always sure where her educational and career path would lead. She said her father was very artistic, and that trait came naturally for her as well. Together, she said, they often explored different artistic endeavors.
“My father used to take me to see model homes, apartments and townhouses when I was younger,” Woods recalled. “We also used to watch shows and documentaries on how hotels and homes are built and read books on architecture and interior design. So, I grew up with a passion for all things imaginative and design-focused.”
CHOOSING THE HIGHLANDER EXPERIENCE
When it came time for her to choose where she would
go to college, Woods knew from her experiences with
her father that design was the route she wanted to take, though she wasn’t sure initially if she would pursue interior design or architecture. She explored several design programs, but soon chose Radford University because its program is one of the best in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
It took a little time for her to find her footing, but Woods soon began to stand out among her fellow students in her sophomore year when she chose interior design as her concentration.
“In the beginning, I was not the greatest design student,” Woods remembered. “I struggled a lot with trying to figure out if interior design was right for me. I’ve always loved design, and I am very creative and imaginative, but it was hard for me to execute my thoughts and ideas.”
Interior designers know how to look at a space or blueprint and visualize the completed environment, working with building products, textiles, light, color and other materials to create an aesthetic interior for their clients. In addition, interior designers must understand the structural requirements of their plans, the health and safety issues, building codes and many other technical aspects.
Woods said that interior design professor Joan Dickinson, Ph.D., helped her wade through all of those aspects of interior design and encouraged her to explore her creative side, forming her creative ideas into real-life design solutions that would help people live better lives.
Woods said, “That is when interior design became a with my crazy and fun designs, and now I can share that with other people.”
Woods is amused that, now, professors in her department actually use her name — Karizma — as a verb for the other students as a way of saying “make it bigger” or “make it more innovative.”
“I think the world of Karizma,” Dickinson said. “She is an enthusiastic, full-of-energy, creative, think-outside-of- the-box, positive designer, which, combined with her work ethic, quickly propelled her to the top of the class.She can generate crazy, outlandish, numerous ideas, but also has the ability to hone them in to meet the design problem. That ability to brainstorm will serve her well in her future career.”
EXCELLING IN THE RADFORD DESIGN PROGRAM
One of the reasons Woods was able to shine is because the smaller class sizes in the Radford University design
program allow more student-focused, individualized instruction. This can help the burgeoning designers find their creative spark and become more imaginative, creative, artistic and resourceful.
“My class size was only about 17 people, and there are only five interior design teachers,” Woods said. “This is awesome because that means my professors can see my growth, and I can build a relationship with them. They know what to expect from me, and I was excited to show them my progression from one year to the next.”
Woods said that Radford interior design faculty members go the extra mile for students by offering guidance and encouragement because they truly want them to succeed.
“They are easy to talk to and are always there for you,” Woods said. “You can see the relationships they build with students, which has always been special to me. They bring the creativity out in you and tell you how to use it for your benefit.”
SUPPORT FROM HER RADFORD FAMILY
Woods also credits her fellow students as an inspiration in her design work, including Ivanna Riggs and Lindsay Venable.
“I met Ivanna during my sophomore year, and we became best friends,” Woods said. “She brought a lot of fun and excitement to my college experience. There were many late nights in the studio working on projects, and she was always there to brighten the mood and just make me laugh. Both she and Lindsay helped make my designs stronger and have been amazing friends and colleagues all around.”
Whatever her future may hold, Woods is ready to dive in and experience her life and career to the fullest.
“I hope to be an interior designer who gets to travel around the world,” Woods said. “After all, there’s a whole planet out there to explore, and I’m just getting started!”