May 25, 2017 Interior Design Student Uses Portfolio to Earn Scholarship and Internship in D.C.

Isabella Davis, a third-year Interior Design student, was recently named a winner of the first-annual Little Portfolio Challenge.

Established by international design firm Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, the Little Portfolio Challenge recognizes gifted design students across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. One of just three winners, Davis receives a $1,000 scholarship and an opportunity to intern with the firm this summer in Washington, D.C.

The challenge invites landscape architecture, architecture, and interior design students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, North Carolina State University and Virginia Tech to curate compelling portfolios that illustrate their design abilities.

When Davis learned of the opportunity, she compiled her first professional portfolio, submitting it in hopes of receiving constructive feedback. Included in her winning submission are images from a light study of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, which she conducted in Associate Professor Lisa Mullikin’s studio.

The firm also charged applicants to submit work not directly related to their field of choice in order to demonstrate diverse design experience and ability. Davis, whose design interests are quite eclectic, felt her experience in fashion design complemented her work in a valuable way, in both her portfolio and her education.

An image from Isabella Davis’s portfolio shows innovative use of light and shape.


“I love representation and graphics,” said Davis, “and my background in fashion design has shaped my performance in interior design.”

Davis was one of four students from the UT College of Architecture and Design to be selected as finalists. In early April, she joined Tanya Granados (Interior Design), Cayla Adams (Interior Design), Julie Davenport (Architecture) and five students from other universities at Finalist Weekend at the Little offices in Durham, North Carolina, to connect with the jury and discuss their work.

The jury included Robert Bishop, President of the Durham office; Charles Todd, Office President in D.C.; Michael Coates, Director of Design at Durham; Kelley Deal, Branded Communications Design; and Eric Hawkings, Senior Designer.

Little Diversified Architectural Consulting is an international architecture and design firm headquartered in North Carolina. In 2013, the firm, with seven locations across the world and more than 375 employees, earned the AIA North Carolina Firm of the Year.