Furniture store awards scholarships to design students
For the third year in a row, Liberty University Department of Family & Consumer Sciences (FACS) students competed in the Virginia Furniture Market (VFM) Design Challenge, where they showed off their interior design skills for a chance to win scholarships.
Since 2016, VFM, a retail furniture store with locations in Southwest and Central Virginia has awarded $15,000 in scholarships to Liberty students.
For the challenge, students work in teams for four weeks to design conceptual sketches and a rendered floor plan for a room. The teams are required to incorporate a number of furniture pieces from the VFM stores. The winning designs will be installed at the Bedford and Rocky Mount store locations before Black Friday.
This year, Liberty students Evelyn Toderic, Maribeth Harrington, Rebecca Orth, and Alyssa Cirillo took home the top prize of $2,500.
Harrington, a senior studying interior design, said her team chose to design a living room with a cozy fall theme.
“We felt that a design like that that would work well for a very diverse group of people who would be shopping at the VFM stores,” she said.
Representatives from Liberty and VFM served as judges. One of them was VFM showroom designer and Liberty alumna Sadie Abramowicz.
After graduating in May, Abramowicz started an internship at VFM after she participated in the design challenge as a student. She said the challenge helped her to become confident in her abilities and to think outside the box.
“The design challenge gave us real-world experience where we are able to show our abilities and really work on our design concepts,” Abramowicz said. “I think my work ethic got a lot stronger with the FACS department. I spent a lot of long nights working on projects. They taught us that hard work will pay off.”
A People’s Choice Award with a $500 scholarship was given to the team that received the most votes on social media.
Individual scholarships were also awarded to students for specific categories, including “Most Promising Interior Designer” and “Outstanding Design Student.”
Harrington said it’s great to see the FACS department partner with a regional business.
“Virginia Furniture Market has invested in the future designers here at Liberty University,” she said. “This project is one of the best we’ve done because of the fact that it has given us real-life experience in the interior design field.”