Alumni Profile: Theresa Ferrer

Project Play Power

Provide an educational background including professional experience.

First and foremost, my dad taught me to laugh! Then I learned from my mother to be curious about everything. So after three years as a business major at UNO I realized I needed to make a change to include a little more creativity in my career pursuit. I selected LSU’s Interior Design program and it was the right choice. I was guided by very talented faculty to find my niche in the industry. Thanks to the versatile program I got to sample many facets of the fi eld and by my third year discovered that museum and theme design excited me the most.

Even before graduating I secured a position with an architecture fi rm in Chicago and one year later was picked up by a fi rm south of Chicago that provides museum design and fabrication services exclusively. Three years later I returned home to New Orleans to enjoy a wide variety of theme and exhibit design and fabrication projects from all over the world. A relationship with Kern Studios led me to the privilege of working with designers from Nickelodeon and Disney on interactive parade fl oats and such wild things as a mobile, 20-foot high steel and fabric bird that continues to thrill crowds in Paramount Parks today.

Then everything changed with the storm and my career took a more serious turn. In the last year I have devoted all of my time and attention to the Louisiana Children’s Museum in an effort to create and implement a traveling program that uses the magic of play to tend to the mental health of children who have suffered terrible trauma from the events that transpired that August, as well as the hardships they continue to endure every day now. I am currently leading teams of activity leaders who implement the program, Play Power, in the areas in and around New Orleans that have been most impacted by hurricane Katrina.

Why did you choose LSU for your education?

Because it’s the best! LSU’s Interior Design Department is a family. It’s the perfect support system for receiving an education of your own “design!” Additionally, the campus is gorgeous and the atmosphere is so much fun.

How did your LSU degree help to prepare you for your profession?

I actually sent a bouquet of flowers to the faculty of the ID department three months after I graduated to thank them for preparing me so well for my career. I sent the bouquet with a letter enumerating all the ways each professor had contributed to my personal growth as a designer. One of the principles at the architecture fi rm in Chicago where I was working at the time said that he loves hiring LSU ID grads because they come so well prepared. I considered this comment by comparing myself to the two other entry level designers who had been hired at the same time. They were not LSU grads and there was no doubt that I was more equipped and, therefore, able to enjoy my job much more than they were.

What current or past research and projects/exhibitions have you done?

Project Play Power

Please list any awards or special recognition that you have received.

My very first design project after graduation was published. The client was a software company that wanted an industrial themed space with lots of metals and natural stone. One week after it was built, my design for them was featured in a publication for the software trade. Sixteen of my museum and theme designs have been recognized in newspapers local to the cities they were in. Play Power receives national recognition on a regular basis. I’ve been interviewed twice by ABC National News, and many times for national and local publications and newspapers.

What are your plans for the future?

My immediate plans are to continue my work with Play Power until it is well oiled and easily replicable. Beyond that, I plan to stay devoted to this region for the next couple of years as we rebuild to make it better than it has ever been.