Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
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Meet former intern: Hayley Pendergast ‘19

Headshot of Hayley Pendergast.Major: Interior Architecture

Pendergast says at first she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study — until she took her first interior design class and says “it just clicked.” As a student, she also founded Diverse Thinking in Design, a campus group that partners with local organizations and high schools with marginalized communities to expand access into the design industry.

Internship Experience: Pendergast completed two interior design internships. At UW-Madison Division of Facilities Planning & Management, she worked closely with Capital Planning on project design and construction. The following summer, she had the opportunity to work on concepts and construction documents, reorganize the materials library and contribute to a multi-million dollar design competition at architecture and planning firm SmithGroup Madison.

She describes both positions as great learning experiences. “One thing that makes a really good interior designer is practice,” she says. “No matter how good your college program is, it’s impossible to learn everything about your field in class. Plus, I became more familiar with professional environments: how to set realistic goals and how to manage tasks and deadlines.”

Pendergast also appreciated the concurrent internship course. “It helped me track my progress on an introspective level, think about what I learned and how I could apply these skills after graduation.”

Current Position: Junior Interior Designer at Flad Architects

“I learned valuable skills throughout the course of my internships that I apply to what I do today,” Pendergast says. “However, the most valuable skill was the ability to learn and practice something new in a timely manner.”

Advice for Current Students: “Use your resources. Reach out to professors and see if they know of any opportunities. Even if they are not hiring at the moment, don’t be afraid to reach out to firms to get your name out there and get your portfolio and resume on file. Be proactive and advocate for yourself.”