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Home » News » Graduate Students’ Master of Fine Arts Research Explore Wellness and Human Perceptions

Graduate Students’ Master of Fine Arts Research Explore Wellness and Human Perceptions

Published November 26, 2020

The Department of Interior Architecture & Design’s emphasis on people-centric design serves as a useful platform for new ideas that explores design’s engagement and contribution to the community and world and both faculty and Master of Fine Arts graduate students regularly engage in original, empirical research. MFA students also apply their research findings to a hypothetical design project, demonstrating the practical usefulness of their discoveries.

Over the past summer the 2020 graduating MFA students successfully completed and defended their MFA theses that explore design’s potential contribution to human wellness. Congratulations to Rae Cavazos for the successful defense of her thesis entitled The WELL Community: Designing For Health and Wellness In Affordable Urban Housing, and Lindsey Slater for Restorative Spaces at Amos P. Godby High School. Additionally, Claire Varnedoe explored current perceptions of the profession with her thesis entitled Interior Design: Public Perceptions vs Professional Actualities. These theses can be viewed at the Florida State University Diginole site at We wish these students well with their future careers.

An image of Lindsey Slater's design for an outdoor seating area in a high school. The cafeteria is on the left, a large grassy area with a tree in the middle and lots of seating is in the center, and a media center building is to the right. There is text on the image which reads: "An outdoor dining area serves as an extension of the cafeteria and can be used for socializing with friends during break throughout the day. The cafeteria and media center’s entrances have direct views to each other across the courtyard to strengthen these spaces’ connection as extensions of each other. Outdoor seating in front of the media center allows for students to study outside and provides extra dining during lunch time."

Lindsey Slater’s research explored the potential of restorative spaces in high schools.

Continuing the department’s strong tradition of sharing research findings with others, two current MFA graduate students have had their research accepted to a peer-reviewed national symposium and will offer their emerging findings concerning vulnerable populations at the Interior Design Educators Council national academic conference this fall. Sarah Rifqi will present The Potential Influence of Interior Furnishings on Sense of Dignity For Residents of Domestic Violence Shelters and Caroline Mozo will share findings from her study on Shaping Human Wellness: Family Case Clinic Design. We’re excited to see their work and wish them the best with their presentations.

The Department of Interior Architecture & Design at Florida State University is ranked among the top ten colleges and universities nationwide in the 2019 DesignIntelligence Report for its graduate students’ research.