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on December 09, 2020

At the New York Institute of Art and Design, we offer accredited and affordable online courses to those who want to study the creative arts. 

This year, we wanted to highlight the success of some of those learners who dedicated the time to their education with NYIAD, and are now doing great things in their careers. Let’s get to know some of these awesome grads. 

 Meet Bettina Kapare, Certified Interior Designer 

When did you enroll at NYIAD?

Bettina:I enrolled in 2019. After having taken other interior design courses, working extra in an interior design studio and helping friends to style their homes, I decided to pursue a professional career.” 

Bettina: “At the time I worked full time in International Private Banking, so the flexibility of studying anywhere, any time suited me. It was a lot of late nights and weekend work! However, I loved every minute of it- and within 10 months I had my certificate from NYIAD.”

Bettina: “I got a lot of feedback from my mentor and felt that it pushed me into developing my sense of style as well get a deeper understanding of the theory behind interior design.”

Bettina: “In June, the blogger behind My Scandinavian Home saw my work and contacted me to do an interview about my home and my design. Shortly after that my Instagram account was published in one of Sweden’s biggest interior magazines. Within a couple of months, I had several client requests from people all over Europe.

Today I have 7 different ongoing projects- everything from refurbishing and renovations to new builds. 3 projects in Luxembourg, 1 in Stockholm Sweden, 1 in Switzerland, and 2 in Chamonix, where I live.”

Meet Rome Lima-Stanley, CEO and Creative Director of Interiors at Lima-Stanley Design

When did you realize that interior design was a field you wanted to pursue?

Rome: “My husband and I were thinking about starting to flip houses. I decided to study Interior Design to help us in our future work. I enrolled at NYIAD in 2017 because of the pace of the course and the easy enrollment. However, I fell in love with the course and with school- and I opened our studio back in 2018. It was amazing. I learned so much with the school, and the most special thing that I learned was to have an eye for design in many aspects. Plus my mentor was awesome. She was so supportive and so easy to deal with.”

Rome: “I was lucky enough to have some background in corporate as a project manager. With that, I could apply some of that knowledge to my new career, and I started working for retail stores as a lead designer. Then at the end of 2018, I opened my design firm together with my husband (who is also a NYIAD student- for Landscape Design!). 

We are thriving and celebrating two years in business now, offering Interior and landscape projects that work together with an emphasis on health and sustainable practices- that promise a healthier lifestyle inside and out for the future living of our clients.”

If you could give one piece of advice to our current students, what would it be? 

Rome: Keep studying and learning day-by-day. NYIAD prepares us with so much knowledge for the industry. 

Meet Nichole Perry, Founder of Oak Tree Events by Nichole

Why Did You Enroll At NYIAD?

Nichole: "I enrolled into NYIAD after planning a tea party for a women’s church group. I did research online and came across the school. During the time, it seemed to be reasonable pricing and a great program, so I decided to enroll in the event planning course. I wanted to enroll to earn a certificate in event planning, and to better my knowledge of planning events and working with clients.


The coursework for the event planning course at NYIAD was very comprehensive, organized, straightforward and informative. I enjoyed the projects and learning new tips and pointers. I also enjoyed learning how to create a contract for your event planning business.

The most memorable professional project I have completed so far, would have to be- planning graduations and orientations for The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone!" 

Meet Lauren Liess, Interior Designer and Host of HGTV's "Best House on the Block"

We interviewed Lauren back in 2018 to celebrate the airing of her design show, but wanted to check in to ask her a few more questions! 

If you could give one piece of advice to our current students and recent grads, what would it be? 

Lauren: “Have your work professionally photographed. When I first started out, I took photos of my work and put them on my website. And no one called me. I visited successful designers' websites and compared mine to theirs and saw that they all had professional photography and of course, mine didn't.

Lauren: "I saved up and hired a photographer and almost immediately after loading the professional pictures of the same projects, I started getting calls. I don't do advertising but I do put a considerable amount of time and money into having some of my work professionally photographed.”

Lauren: “I chose NYIAD because it seemed straightforward, all-encompassing and fun. I really loved it & was able to start my business from what I learned,” 

Meet Stephanie Finucane, Award-Winning Interior Designer and Founder of The Right Space

Why did you enroll at NYIAD?  

Stephanie: “I knew I wanted to really dig deep and learn all I could about interior design. The passion was there, and so was a business I had started in 2007 for color consulting. NYIAD was the perfect fit for my lifestyle and schedule. I was also super impressed with the curriculum and structure. I could see it really working for me!”

Stephanie: “My coursework was detailed. It kept me on my toes, and I took elaborate notes throughout the whole process. I had times where I could not study, and then there were times where I dedicated myself to an entire weekend of studying. It was always a joy.”

Stephanie: “When I started working, there was a lot to learn and experience. What I know now versus what I knew 5 years ago- it’s nothing short of amazing. I am still learning. Throughout the course, I applied that knowledge to my business. The deeper I got into the course, the clearer I could see the impact on my business and success. It continues to grow. In fact, during this global pandemic, my company has exploded with growth. Best year yet.” 


Stephanie: “NYIAD students- Take good notes, go back and watch videos again and again, until you get it.  This is a valuable class and you will be able to start a solid business with this foundation.  Even though everything has gone digital now, the same methods apply.”

Meet Sandra Mijan- Professional Interior Designer 

We interviewed Sandra about her interior design business back in 2018, but wanted to check in to ask her how things have changed since then! 

What is the most memorable project you've worked on in recent memory?

Sandra: "I must say that 2020 will be very memorable and every completed project was a miracle. I have worked on quite a few despite closures and shutdowns."

Sandra: "The beauty of our field is that we can adjust to anything, work online and persevere. Business has been going great and consistently growing!" 

What advice would you give to all the students currently studying at NYIAD?

Sandra: "There are no small or big projects, treat every one the same. Stay true to your authentic self and don't compare."

Meet Sam Lozano, Interior Designer

What's the most rewarding project you've worked on in your career so far? 

Sam: "I remodeled a mall, and worked on designing a more comfortable space for the former president of my country."

Sam: "I'm so glad for the people who gave me the opportunity to continue growing and who have given me these opportunities." 

Meet Sarah Cleaver, Founder of Events By Sarah KY, and Recipient of The Knot Best of Weddings 2021

Headshot by Hanna Marie Photography

Why Did You Enroll at NYIAD?

Sarah: "I enrolled in December of 2018 and graduated in early 2020. A friend of mine received the Event Planning Certification and spoke highly of what she learned in the course. I decided to enroll to sharpen my skills and get better at planning events, as I was already working a job where I was planning church conferences and summer camps for middle and high school students. Not only did it help with my church job, but it opened my eyes to the fact that I could start my own event/wedding planning business as well, which I now have!"

Photo by HV Photography

Sarah: "My mentor’s name was Jaqueline. She gave me great feedback, and was really key in the improvement of my event planning skills. She encouraged me in my strengths,
and coached me through my weaknesses to allow for growth. It was helpful!"

What's the most memorable project you've worked on so far? 

Sarah: I would have to say that the first wedding that I did as a professional wedding planner (with EventsBySarahKY) was definitely the most memorable! The bride, groom, and wedding party from this wedding have been some of the most supportive people for me and my business and have been my biggest cheerleaders. We still keep in contact to this day, and they’re always sending me encouragement!"

Photo by HV Photography

If you could give one piece of advice to our current students, what would it be?

Sarah: "There are so many! How about two? Pay close attention to, and get good at, making day-of timelines! Learning how to do these, and do them well, has been a key aspect in my event/wedding coordinating business! I have had many vendors and other wedding professionals compliment me on my day-of timelines, and tell me how helpful they are to them. Not only are the day-of timelines incredibly helpful to you and the other vendors, but it helps bring peace of mind to your clients, helps you keep track of what is coming next in the day (so you don’t have to remember a million things!), and gives you something to come back to when you’re problem solving so that you don’t miss anything!


Also, get yourself a good assistant for the day of your events. My assistant is incredible (all my clients LOVE her!) and really helps me remember everything that I need to on the day of the events. When you have a reliable person whom you can trust and delegate to, you’ve managed to double the amount of space and tasks that you can cover. That’s so important! My assistant is the best!"

Could NYIAD be the perfect start to your creative career journey? 

If you have always wanted to pursue a career in a creative industry, taking a course at NYIAD could be the best way for you to dive in. All of our courses (everything from interior design and AutoCAD to wedding planning and jewelry design) can be completed entirely from home, at your own pace.  

Get started this year by taking the first step toward a fulfilling, creative career you can be proud of. Click here for more information on all of our programs, payment options, and enrollment.