Student Spotlight: Nancy Latta
Major: Interior Design
Nancy Latta came to College of DuPage when she and her husband were planning a major renovation to their historic home.
“This was before the days of Pinterest and Houzz, so I had torn out and categorized magazine pages upon pages of designs that we both liked and honored the style of the house,” she said. “The dreaming process was so exciting. I decided the more I could educate myself, the less we’d have to pay someone else. I enrolled in the drafting class at COD just to try it out and was hooked.”
The timing was right – her children were starting school, and College of DuPage was close to her home and a great value. Latta also found that the Interior Design program tied all of her various career paths together: She has a bachelor’s in Journalism and a master’s in Teaching and has been a social worker, a project manager in a marketing firm, a secondary school teacher and a stay-at-home mom.
The program also aligned with her childhood fantasies.
“When I was a young child, my parents would frequently hear me moving furniture around my room upstairs. I would wedge myself between the wall and a dresser and use my leg power to push it across the floor,” she said. “One day I just started tearing up my carpet to get to the hardwood floors below. Fortunately, the floors were in great condition! My parents were incredibly understanding about all of that. I also used to draw pictures of houses with glass floors; I still think that would be an amazing design element.”
Latta took one or two classes per semester on her way toward an associate’s degree, which she earned in 2015. She since has started her own interior design business and now is teaching Drafting Interiors at COD.
“I always wanted to teach at the college level – even more so than seeing that glass-floored house constructed – and hope to deliver the same practical knowledge and enthusiasm that I received as a student,” she said. “I feel like my educational and career experiences have come full circle into something that I never would have expected. My life has great balance at the moment, which I think is a wonderful personal achievement for anyone.”
As for her future goals, Latta knows that growing her business and growing as an instructor are a given. She’s also confident that she will be a student again, but she’s not sure whether it will be pursuing a degree or a certification.
Latta does know that coming to College of DuPage was the right move for her and would recommend the Interior Design program to anyone.
“It can be challenging, particularly if you hold yourself to high standards in terms of the designs that you will produce,” she said. “Expect to work hard. The curriculum provides the right classes and expectations to be successful in the field. I believe hiring companies are consistently impressed with what COD students and graduates deliver.
“I’m particularly thankful to former adjunct faculty Cynthia Milota for her encouragement and initiating the soul searching that led me to where I am. I can honestly say that I’m constantly inspired, I love what I do, and being back in the classroom and supporting COD’s Interior Design program is going to be a treat. It took me a few decades to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I feel fortunate to have found it.”
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