University Community

Interior architecture student gains real-world experience with University Planning

Brenna Cromwell is rethinking how space is used at the university she walks daily.

Cromwell is a third-year student in the interior architecture program in the College of Fine Arts, along with minoring in sociology, studio art and Spanish.

Through a course that helps students find internships in the field of interior architecture, Cromwell was encouraged to apply for an internship with University Planning at Ohio University.

After securing the internship, Cromwell is now gaining hands-on experience with OHIO’s planning department and helping to create a more efficient campus community.

“At University Planning, we rethink space, and we keep in mind better access and inclusivity for students and those around campus,” Cromwell described. “In order to achieve that, we find underutilized spaces and we optimize the uses of those spaces to the best of our ability in order to provide access to programs that have a need for space.

The Campus Space Optimization Initiative guides the work of University Planning. This initiative aims to rethink space at OHIO by looking closely at how things change over time, by examining how the campus and people are truly using space, and by being transparent and flexible with the community.

“It’s really cool to see how the Athens community and the OU community come together to make better spaces and make this campus more efficient,” Cromwell said.

With a goal of becoming a senior designer one day, Cromwell believes that the skillset she is building at OHIO will help her achieve just that.

“I think that this internship has helped me to understand how the design world works and space planning is a big part of it,” she said. “I would like to become a senior designer one day, and I think this internship will help me get there.”

When it came to selecting a university to pursue her career in interior architecture, the one-on-one approach that OHIO provides resonated with Cromwell. After going on a personal tour of the program’s studios while touring she knew she was in the right place.

“Compared to other universities, that had not happened where it was more of a personal connection," she said. "That was the tipping point in my decision to come to OHIO.”

Outside of her work in the classroom, architecture studio and with University Planning, Cromwell is involved on campus. One way is through helping fellow Bobcats transition to OHIO as a LINKS peer mentor.

“Peer mentoring for LINKS has been really rewarding because I’m now close friends with the linkees that I have and had in the past,” she said. “It helped me build a different community from my interior architecture friends and network there.”

She is also the vice president of finance for her sorority, Delta Zeta and a co-student representative for the International Interior Design Association.

When asked what advice she would give to incoming students, Cromwell responded: “Don’t miss out on the events that OU has. Always look for more to go to because there’s some really cool things here and cool people that you’ll miss out on if you aren’t paying attention.”

March 9, 2023
Jordan Schmitt