New Faces: Meet Mariah, our summer intern

This summer, Mahlander’s is once again fortunate to have a talented young woman on staff as an intern in our lighting sales department. Mariah will be a senior in at South Dakota State University School of Design, and we are excited to have her joining our team for the summer. 

Meet Mariah:

A Sioux Falls native, Mariah refers to herself as a “super senior” at SDSU. She’ll be starting her fifth and final year there in August 2022 and completing the requirements for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design with an emphasis in New Product and Venture Development. 

Although she spent much time as a kid rearranging her own bedroom, design was not her first choice when embarking on her education, particularly since she spent her teen years working part-time in retirement homes.

“I initially began college as a Health Science major interested in pursuing chiropractic. I knew it was not for me by the time I reached the end of my first year,” she says. 

Soon she realized her true calling – the signs had been there all along.

Switching Gears

“I should have pursued interior design in the first place. I loved configuring my furniture in every way possible. Once I exhausted all spatial analysis possibilities, I got into online design games and went down a rabbit hole designing houses, hotels, restaurants, and anything else I could find,” Mariah says. And she did not stop there.

“I also enjoyed watching all the shows on HGTV, especially “House Hunters” and “Love it or List it.” It is safe to say that I was meant to be in the Interior Design field.”lighting_design_interns

So, she began her studies in earnest at SDSU. And that includes an internship. Mariah said she would have completed an internship even if it was not a course requirement because it is a terrific way to gain experience. She heard about the opening at Mahlander’s from prior showroom interns, Mattie and Anna, who enjoyed their experience last summer.

“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from Mahlander’s,” Mariah says. “Lighting design is my favorite part of a project because it brings it to life. I am eager to get into my last two semesters of college, as there will be a focus on hospitality and healthcare. Mahlander’s has certainly equipped me with the skills to create a great lighting design in my school projects.” 

More About Mariah

In her spare time, Mariah is a bookworm, reading true crime, mysteries, and thrillers.

“I love all things scary,” she says, adding she also enjoys similar genres when it comes to podcasts and movies. She also has a romantic side, noting her love of the “Bridgerton” series. 

Mariah also loves the outdoors and enjoys many activities including kayaking and hammocking with friends and family.

“Bonus points if I can do those things at a lake,” she says, adding she is also looking forward to her first camping trip this summer.

Learning Curve

Mariah says she is learning a ton from the veteran lighting consultants on staff. 

“I have enjoyed working with the lighting consultants. They have taught me an immense amount of information relating to lighting design. It has been beneficial to dive into lighting design and learn how to enhance the ambiance of a home.”

She also enjoys the challenges involved in helping a client with a lighting schematic.

“I have noticed that finding a balance between function and aesthetic can sometimes be difficult to achieve, but it is a fun process to figure out,” she says, adding that her favorite design style is a tossup between Art Deco and Bauhaus: “I love the ornamental and geometric details of art deco style lighting, but I also love the abstract and simple characteristics of Bauhaus lighting.”

The most surprising element of working in a busy lighting showroom has been learning to distinguish between “good lighting design and lousy lighting design.” And it’s become almost hard-wired in her brain. 

“It takes a lot of skill to be able to do lighting design well. I have a lot of respect for the ladies that work here, and I am fortunate to be able to learn from them,” she says.

“Since starting at Mahlander’s I have noticed that everywhere I go I look up to analyze the lighting.”

Bright Future

After graduation, Mariah isn’t entirely sure what’s next, but does have an interest in healthcare and office design. That may be a great area of focus. While she plans to remain in the Midwest for a few years, she feels the call of the mountains of Colorado and Montana when she’s been there to visit. Wherever she ends up, we’re sure she’ll do well!

Stop into our Sioux Falls showroom to meet this designer-to-be … come, see what’s inside!

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