Among the challenges of attending classes remotely, Anna Chaffee ’21 found a silver lining.
Chaffee, a senior Interior Design student, is currently living, working and completing her online classes in San Francisco—nearly 3,000 miles from Moore’s campus in Philadelphia. Life brought her to the West Coast after her husband moved there for a job last spring. While she originally intended to join him after graduation in May, her plans shifted to move sooner after accepting an internship at Studio Heimat last summer. Following the internship, Studio Heimat offered Chaffee a full-time position upon graduation, which she happily accepted.
Chaffee spoke with Moore's Social Media Coordinator Destiny Anderson about her experience as a transfer student, professional development opportunities at Moore and her experience attending school online by way of The Golden State.
Hi, Anna! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My hobbies include hiking, rock climbing, sketching and painting. My quarantine schedule has included too many cups of coffee and lots of mental health walks outside, along with the regular Netflix binge (the most recent was The Queen’s Gambit).
As a transfer student, what brought you to Moore? What have you enjoyed about your experience here?
Before attending Moore, I started out my college career at Delaware College of Art and Design in Wilmington, DE. I grew up in Maryland and wasn’t keen on living on campus during college, so DCAD was a great way to pursue an education in art and design while being close to home.
During my time at DCAD, I heard a lot about Moore and I became very interested in finishing my BFA there. The small classroom size and location in Philadelphia were major contributors to my decision to attend Moore. A few of the things I have enjoyed at Moore include the close friends I have made, the passion that many of the instructors have for teaching and being surrounded by the creativity of my fellow classmates—both in my major and outside of it.
Tell us about your experience finishing your final semester at Moore via online learning. Have there been unexpected pros or cons to online learning?
Oof. Online learning has been one of the biggest challenges of my college career. Like many others, the first few weeks didn’t seem so bad. It was nice to have newfound freedom from learning at home and going to class in my pajamas. It quickly became an uphill battle to efficiently manage my time for online classes and deal with a global pandemic simultaneously. An unexpected pro that came after the switch to online learning was the ability to move across the country. Over the summer, I moved with my partner from Philadelphia to San Francisco and have been attending online classes from the West Coast.
Last summer, you did an internship at Studio Heimat in San Francisco. How did you find out about this opportunity? What was your application and interview process like for this internship?
I was introduced to one of the founders of Studio Heimat through my instructor, Francine Martini. Eva Muller Bradley, principal and cofounder at Studio Heimat, is a former student of Martini’s. When Fran heard that I had plans to move to San Francisco, she connected me with Eva. I reached out to Studio Heimat to inquire about any possible internship opportunities and I was in luck. I interviewed with them over spring break and was ecstatic to learn that they would take me on as a summer intern. The interview and application process went surprisingly smoother than I thought it would. Francine Martini set our class up for success in professional development by thoroughly reviewing the proper application and interview etiquette.
Congratulations on accepting a job offer from Studio Heimat, as well! What will you be doing in this role?
Thank you! I am very excited to accept my new role as a design assistant at Studio Heimat. The role will include many of the tasks I was performing as an intern but with some additional responsibilities. I will directly support senior designers in their everyday tasks for design projects, including preparing CAD drawings, assisting in preparing presentations, setting up client meetings, attending meetings, working with vendors to request quotes and track orders, working closely with designers on each project’s timeline and schedule, ordering samples for library or client projects, and maintaining the samples library.
How has your education at Moore prepared you for your internship experience and career?
The professional development classes were extremely helpful. There was a period of time between my second and third year where I felt way in over my head. I thought, “What am I doing learning about this career? There is no way I can learn everything and be proficient at it all.” My fellow interior design majors know what I am talking about. The end of my junior year at Moore, that uncertain feeling faded away. Francine Martini made a particularly strong impact in my time at Moore. Her encouragement and advice gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed to obtain an internship. Another part of my education at Moore that prepared me were the project requirements. The major-specific projects are overwhelming at first, but after finding a rhythm for how to complete these projects, I realized how beneficial the strict requirements were. I feel much more confident after being pushed by my instructors.
What advice do you have for incoming Moore students, particularly transfer students?
Don’t be afraid to start looking for internship opportunities right away. I wish I had started trying out different internships right away. They are great opportunities to not only network, but also try your hand at something related to your field but maybe outside of your comfort zone. To my incoming transfer students, I would encourage you to get involved in campus activities and groups. You are most definitely a valuable and important part of the Moore community. Don’t let commuting get in the way of seeking out genuine connections with fellow students.
What are your goals for the future, career or otherwise?
A short-term career goal is to be involved in a client project from beginning to end. I am excited to experience what that roller coaster is like, working diligently on a project and seeing it come to fruition. I want to strive to become a senior designer in the future. After graduation, and after a much-needed rest period, I hope to take some sketching and painting classes again just for the fun of it.