Blog Contributor Highlight: Kathryn Frye, [3rd] year

March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Photo courtesy of Kathryn Frye.

Kathryn Frye has been a valuable member of the IARc community since the spring semester of 2010. Talented, conscientious, and sweet-natured, she is full of great ideas and a joy to work with.

Growing up in Charlotte, NC, she lived in the same house for her entire childhood. She has always been very close with her immediate family (parents and two sisters). They have a strong bond and enjoy spending time together.

An imaginative and creative child, Kathryn always enjoyed art and design. Growing up, she had to share a room with one of her sisters. Kathryn explains, “My sister would always yell at me because I would switch the furniture around every week.” When she wasn’t spending time with family, Kathryn passed a lot of time by herself, painting and writing stories. In middle school, she crafted illustrated pop-up books. For her birthday each year, she would always receive some sort of art kit for a present. “That was the thing I cherished the most,” she says.

She inherited her independent, imaginative nature from her mother, who instilled the value of creativity into Kathryn and her sisters from an early age. “My mom’s an excellent writer. She loves to write and she loves literature and poetry. That’s something she instilled in us – reading for at least 45 minutes every day.” The Frye sisters were also encouraged to write daily.

Music has also been a huge part of Kathryn’s life. “When I was seven, I started playing the piano and that was something I loved immediately. I played up until I went off to college, and I was in competitions and different things like that. My mom always wanted us to play music. She was letting us be creative, but also instilling structure, which I think is important as a designer.” In high school, Kathryn participated in choir and theatre. Here at UNCG, she is part of a singing group on campus. “Music is still such a big part of my life,” she says. “I truly miss theatre. That’s something I definitely want to do after I graduate – get involved in theatre and music again.”

Kathryn’s current hobbies include reading, writing, and enjoying the outdoors. A favorite outdoor spot is her boyfriend’s parents’ house at Karr Lake, where Kathryn goes to relax. By quietly sitting and observing the nature around her, she feels rejuvenated and inspired. “Sometimes you can learn more by observing than by thinking,” she notes.

So what brought about Kathryn’s journey into the IARc community?

She explains: “In college, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. Both of my parents are teachers, and everyone always told me that I would make a great art teacher.” She majored in theatre education at UNCG, but soon realized that it was more of a hobby than a career direction. After that, she turned to art education before realizing that it also didn’t suit her goals and aspirations. “I wanted to be more creative,” she says. UNCG’s Art program seemed like a natural direction of study. She began taking art classes in the Gatewood building, but her reservations continued.

One day while walking from the Art Department side of the Gatewood building, Kathryn noticed an IARc open house sign. She admits that she hadn’t even known that the major was offered at UNCG. Her interest in the Interior Design field grew after she received a phone call from her aunt. “She said, ‘It’s the best degree. If you’re wondering about what to do with your life, you should at least go visit.'”

Kathryn attended the open house. “It clicked. I saw all the stuff that people had on their desks and how excited they were. I thought, ‘This is exactly what I want to do.'”

After an interview with then-Department Head Tommy Lambeth, Kathryn was accepted into the program, joining IARc the second semester of first year.

Of the IARc program, Kathryn says, “It’s so much different than I thought it would be. It has expanded me as a designer and a person and how I think about life in general. It’s so hard to describe unless you have gone through it. It changes the way you think about people, spaces, different places you go, and about culture and social behaviors; it’s almost like the whole package. You learn such a grand scheme of everything. I’m so excited to take what I’ve learned here and be able to apply it. People from this school have a different way of thinking about things.”

What does she want to do with her life?

“I like so many things, and I think the right opportunity will come when I leave here. And if it isn’t something that I like doing, I can still learn from it.” An internship at Anthropologie has peaked her interest in retail design. “It was a great experience that opened my eyes to what I could do with my design skills,” she says.

Another life goal lies in the realm of missions. “I think there is a way to incorporate design with missions. I enjoy interactions with people different than myself.”

Contributed by Kara Kooy, [3rd] year.

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