You don’t have to ask Mount Ida 2010 alumna Tulsi Patel what her passion is, instead you have to see it. Patel, a now successful furniture designer living in New Jersey, does not talk about her journey to success in the interior design industry without mentioning those who believed and pushed her towards her dream first – her family.
For Patel, the meaning of family is far reaching and grew exponentially the minute she stepped foot onto the Mount Ida College campus as a freshman in 2006.
“I remember going on a tour of the Mount Ida campus with my dad and quickly realized that I felt at home, and part of a small, private community,” recalls Patel adding, “and of course my dad really liked the fact that I would be safe.”
After speaking to Interior Design Professor Rose Botti-Salitsky about Mount Ida’s Interior Design Degree Program and learning that it is one of the few nationally accredited programs in the area, Patel’s decision to attend was quickly decided upon.
“Mount Ida was breathtaking to me – the campus, faculty members and ultimately the one-on-one interaction and guidance with faculty that I would be receiving throughout my four years and beyond really played a part in my decision to attend,” said Patel.
During her time at Mount Ida, Patel recalls being challenged by her professors; challenges that continued to push her and can be seen in the quality of her designs.
“I will never forget my perspective class professor, the late Tommy Yamamoto. It was one of the best but most challenging courses I took at Mount Ida, but it was one of the best memories I have. He always pushed us to think outside the box and repeatedly told us ‘you have no choice,’ ” notes Patel. “What I learned to this day is truly invaluable.”
Patel now fondly thinks back on her time at Mount Ida, citing one of her favorite memories as late night design sessions in Chamberlayne Hall, the home of our School of Design, where she and her classmates would take breaks to watch the basketball games.
“We would leave after class, watch the games and return to the studio to finish our work,” said Patel. “It was those games and the Mount Ida environment, which energized us to keep pushing.”
Today, Patel is living out her design dream as a furniture and autoCAD designer at Modern Line Furniture in Rahway, New Jersey. She credits fellow Mount Ida Alumni Dawn Hoppel, who works for Nelson in New York City, for recommending her for the job.
Patel was able to recently show off her furniture designs at the BDNY Expo in New York City with Modern Line Furniture’s sister company, Borghese Couture Hospitality which she assisted in launching.
“I never thought I would be designing furniture for hospitality companies,” says Patel. “The fact that I can say ‘go to that hotel – that’s my furniture’ is a dream come true.”
Patel continues to see growing success in the design industry and knows moving forward in her career, she will always have the support of her family – both personal and Mount Ida in nature.
“My interior design classmates and I quickly became friends whom turned into family,” notes Patel.
Asked what advice she can offer students just beginning their own education journeys, Patel said: “Our field is one that requires perseverance. You’ll need it at Mount Ida, pay attention and apply what you are learning in the projects. That education is invaluable and will always come in handy. Another piece of advice is something that my dad always says: do what makes you happy, if you aren’t happy, then what is the point? ”
“It’s important to stick with your passions and to see your dreams through; I am so happy I did,” concludes Patel.
For more information on the Interior Design Program at Mount Ida, please visit our degree program homepage.