“My husband died of ALS and it was time for me to think about my new life ahead of me. I needed time to heal; what better way to work through grief and loss than in a studio class engaging your mind and learning new things with giving people, so I entered the Interior Design certificate program. I thought I could put my crash course in handicap accessibility to good use for others, helping build them an appropriate home with the training from RISD CE.

Having to create at home because of the pandemic was an adjustment, I really missed the personal gatherings with my fellow students in the classroom setting—as that was a huge part of my own healing process—but we actually learned VERY important online meeting skills. I’m not sure how I would have done any of that without having to pivot to taking online classes at home because of COVID-19. As much as I love class—and I LOVE class—it was good to work at home and stay in touch with classmates via text and email for support/questions; I feel like this was how a real design studio would work and I’m glad that we learned how to problem solve and communicate digitally. I missed my friends, but feel fortunate for the ability to stay in touch with them and create in the wonderful spaces I have at home with my pug, who is actually a very helpful design support-dog.”

—Elizabeth Palko, 2020 RISD CE Interior Design certificate graduate

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