Faculty Stories: Shelly Mocchi

Shelly Mocchi

Program: Interior Design


Interior design has been Shelly Mocchi’s passion from a young age.  

“I can recall walking through old buildings as a child with my father and admiring and sketching the ceiling details, intricate trim and custom built-ins,” she said. “I was like a sponge, soaking it all up and wanting to see more and more!”

Mocchi, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Illinois Institute of Art Schaumburg, first found success in the residential market. She fell in love with custom details and made several life-long friends.

When she was ready for a change, Mocchi transitioned into designing custom fixturing and store layouts for an in-house design firm at a retail fixturing company, a job that spawned her love of retail design. After that, she spent many years working as the Design Team Manager for an in-house design team for a large realty company.  

“This was a fantastic experience for me,” she said. “I managed a team of designers custom building spaces within our portfolio of buildings in the city and suburbs. We dealt with all types of office spaces, including some restaurant and retail spaces—even colleges! Being able to work hand-in-hand with the client from concept through construction was extremely rewarding. Each space was unique and provided a new learning opportunity. The benefit of our profession is there is always room to grow and evolve.”

Mocchi is now sharing this wealth of experience with her students at College of DuPage.

“I chose to teach because I find so much joy helping others come up the ranks of our profession. Preparing them for the field, connecting them to employers and hearing their success stories gives me a great sense of accomplishment,” she said. “I hope that my students gain a newfound confidence in their unique design perspective. I had a former coworker ask me why I choose to teach and I explained that teaching is very creative and fulfilling. ‘My job is about success ripples,’ I told them. ‘Each person I help then helps to create better design in our field.’ I enjoy helping to influence the next wave of design.

“Being a manager for so many years also allows me to uniquely support my students on their paths to success. Not only do I have a strong idea of what employers are looking for from our students, but I also understand how to motivate and push students to their full potential.” 

As a designer, she finds inspiration all around her.

“I find myself surrounded by inspiration daily in the great outdoors. But I also love to experience new inspiration by travelling regularly and I find that so impactful on our field,” Mocchi said. “My students are also a huge inspiration to me as they continually raise the bar and deliver more than I’d expect!”

More about the Interior Design program