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 The 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.

February 6, 2014, Newton, MAMount Ida College will host Woodrow Wilson Fellow Kevin Powers, the Division Counsel for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Chicago Field Division, for an intensive week-long visit on campus from February 24 – 28, 2014. Powers will conduct classes, seminars and workshops, and be the featured speaker for the College’s Wadsworth Distinguished Lecture Series. Powers also will meet with students and faculty members informally throughout the week to share his practical knowledge in the areas of drug enforcement, Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues, Title II wiretaps, and more.

As the featured speaker at the Wadsworth Distinguished Lecture Series on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Campus Center Theatre on the ground floor, Mr. Powers will discuss the notorious and high profile case of Whitey Bulger with special focus on the law enforcement issues that it raised. The lecture is free and open to the general public.

kevin powers

“We are honored to welcome our second Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow to Mount Ida College.  Kevin Powers’ expertise and experience in law enforcement and criminal justice is excellent and of great interest to our students, particularly those in our expanding Criminal Justice and Forensic Studies  Programs,” noted Barry Brown, President, Mount Ida College.

Brown continued, “Offering opportunities to meet nationally renowned experts like Mr. Powers is one of many ways our students gain real-world insight, helping them to trail blaze their own successful career paths after they graduate.”

About Kevin Powers

Kevin Powers has served as Division Counsel for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Chicago Field Division since February 2005. Legal advisor for a five state region, including Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, along with eight federal judicial districts, Mr. Powers also provides legal advice to the Special Agent in Charge and over 400 special agents, task force officers and support staff, on topics such as operational law, Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues, Title III wiretaps, personnel and employment issues, and all criminal and regulatory aspects of Controlled Substances Act.  He also acts as liaison between the DEA Chicago Division and federal and state prosecutors offices in his area of responsibility and he provides on-going training to DEA regarding legal issues.

Prior to working for the DEA, Mr. Powers held a number of significant prosecutorial, defense and criminal justice positions including the City of Chicago Law Department in the Individual Defense Division, Office of the United States Attorney, Northern District of Illinois.

Powers has a Bachelor of Arts in Government and History from Colby, and a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law.  Following his formal education, Mr. Powers was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps in October 1992.  In the Navy he served both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney in hundreds of cases and was honorably discharged in September 1996.

About The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program, which is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in Washington, DC, brings prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders, and other professionals to campuses across the United States for a week-long residential program of classes, seminars, workshops, lectures, and informal discussions. For 35 years, the Visiting Fellows have been introducing students and faculty members at liberal arts colleges to a wide range of perspectives on life, society, community, and achievement. The Visiting Fellows program is available to all four-year colleges and universities. For more information, visit CIC’s website at

About the Wadsworth Distinguished Lecture Series

The Wadsworth Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 1990 to engage in prominent individuals to provide lectures on selected topics to the Mount Ida community and the community-at-large.  The series is named after dear friends of the College, the late William Steele Wadsworth, a member of the Board of Overseers of the College, and his wife the late Arlene Graham Wadsworth, an alumna of the Class of 1920. Previous Wadsworth Lecture speakers include Arthur R. Miller, Andrew Card and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., to name a few.

About Mount Ida College

Founded in 1899, Mount Ida College is a small, private college in Newton, Massachusetts that provides career-focused programs built upon a strong foundation of social sciences, humanities, and the arts—all to prepare our students for achievement in their chosen careers, and in life. With a tight-knit, inclusive community, a diverse student body, winning NCAA Division III sports teams, a beautiful and safe suburban campus, and a vibrant school spirit, Mount Ida is the place where students become the best version of themselves. To learn more, visit the College’s website at

On Monday, January 27, 2014, the Mount Ida Community celebrated the successful completion of our new state-of-the-art Fitness Center, a 5,000 square foot extension of the Athletics Center, as the College moves forward with its unprecedented building and restoration plan which began last summer. This fall, the College also held ribbon cutting ceremonies for the grand openings of Malloy Hall, the Campus Center and Dining Commons and the expanded Dental Education Center and Community Dental Clinic. Encased in glass, the Fitness Center is a quality space for our students to enjoy every day.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, led by Athletics Director Matt Burke, President Brown and members of the Board of Trustees, was an opportunity for the community to thank our valued partners, including our contractors, engineers, architect and financial supporters who have helped make this project possible.


The new, two-floor Fitness Center  includes men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers, a fitness room for yoga and Zumba, an additional space for weight and strength training and new cardio equipment, including treadmills, elliptical trainers, bikes and rowing machines. The Fitness Center will be managed by Nicole Poli, who also serves as our Women’s Lacrosse Coach; she can be reached at

In the coming weeks, until the final touches of construction are complete, Fitness Center hours of operation are 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily. Upon completion of all construction, hours will be 7:00 a.m. to midnight daily.  For a schedule of intramural and fitness offerings, please visit our website’s calendar or contact Craig Martin, Intramural Programs Director at

The renovation of Shaw Hall, the historic manor house located in the heart of Mount Ida’s campus, is the final project of the College’s building and restoration program and is nearly completed. For construction updates, please visit the College’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.