Story by Kristin Breakell
Born and raised in a tiny Colorado mountain town 100 miles from Fort Collins, Carly Mansker, a senior interior design student in the Department of Design and Merchandising, has come a long way on her journey toward graduation. Mansker transferred schools and changed her major several times, as she struggled to find the right balance between her academic interests.
After graduating from high school with a class of 11 students, Mansker began her collegiate journey pursuing a degree in graphic design at Colorado Mesa University. She soon discovered that graphic design was not for her and transferred to Colorado State University intent on becoming a chemist.
Interior design an ‘oasis’
Mansker changed her major to interior design when she realized that a career in science didn’t offer her enough opportunity to use her creativity. “I chanced upon the interior design program like it was an oasis in the desert,” Mansker said. “Interior design, with the addition of a construction management minor, has been the ideal combination of creativity and analytics. I always knew I wanted to design, it just took some time to discover my niche in the design community.”
Mansker has faced more than just academic challenges during her college career. In the spring of her first year at CSU, Mansker’s mother began experiencing health problems that left her unable to complete daily tasks. Her mother lost the ability to work and Mansker lost any form of financial assistance for her education.
After bringing her mother up to Fort Collins to live with her, Mansker became her mother’s primary caretaker. The emotional and financial hardship of caring for a sick family member left Mansker unsure of how she was going to continue her education at CSU. The support provided to her by the CSU community helped her persevere through these challenging times.
“Because of the tremendous support of the CSU community, I was able to overcome the challenges I have faced and thrive in the pursuit of my education,” Mansker said. “I wouldn’t be here without my professors’ wisdom and willingness to help me reach my goals. They’ve pushed me to limits that I didn’t know existed, but I’ve grown exponentially and it has unlocked numerous opportunities.”
Mansker has become very involved in the interior design program and the CSU community as a whole. She is a member of the CSU ASID Student Chapter, a student division of the American Society of Interior Designers. Through ASID, Mansker has had the opportunity to volunteer for RamRide, Fall Clean-Up, and CSUnity.
After graduation, Mansker plans to help her dad open a bar and restaurant in her hometown before visiting prospective graduate schools. She plans to work for a commercial design firm and eventually get her master’s degree in architecture.
When asked what she will miss most about CSU, Mansker spoke about the invaluable relationships she has developed with fellow students at the university. “As an interior design student, I have spent hundreds of hours in the computer lab with my classmates, which led to many delirious late night work sessions fueled by caffeine and pizza. It was such a bonding experience and I’m really going to miss everyone once I embark on my journey in the working world.”