Published: April 12, 2021

Claudia O'HerronClaudia O'Herron, a product design major from Austin, Texas, credits studio courses with learning and understanding how to communicate and become an essential member of a team.

Claudia O'HerronI wish I got to see your faces in the DMC as we all rushed to get coffee just one more time. I wish we got to have one last lecture hall together. I wish I got to peek my head into random studio finals to see what you all have worked so hard on. I wish, I hope, I get to see you all in the future and see what you accomplish. I love you all, and I hate corona.

What inspired you to come to ENVD when choosing your school?
I was a biology major, then business. It was when I walked into an economics class my second day of freshman year that I knew I had chosen the wrong major again. I had a friend that told me I should pursue interior design, and that sounded way better. The next day I changed my major and found my true passion.

Tell us about your involvement and/or student leadership roles in and/or outside of ENVD.
Throughout my years here, I took part in many different clubs, organizations and jobs. Sometimes for only a semester or a year, but here is the list: Student Ambassador, Front Desk Worker, CINC monitor, teachers assistant, rural project vice president and president, student government, summer-time assistant, solar- decathlon architecture lead, ENVD comms - graphic design intern, social media director for Boulder Freeride and Backcountry Squatters.

What is one of the greatest experiences or lessons from your time at CU Boulder that you'll carry with you into the next chapter of your life?
Understanding how to communicate and become an essential member of a team. Studio has taught me how to collaborate and speak with my peers. There is so much to learn from one another and it has been a valuable lesson in my life.

Based on what you know now, what is your best piece of advice for other students?
Do what you love and want to do, not what you think you should do. Follow those passions like crazy and make sure you still have time to go explore the outdoors. It's easy to want to take on every responsibility, but you will get burnt out, I promise. The outdoors has been my savior. If we want to protect this earth, then we must go strengthen our relationship with it. The only way to do that is to immerse yourself in it. Go pick up trash with your girlfriends at Boulder Creek, learn how to climb in the Canyon, and go hit the slopes at Eldora. These, and the people you spend those experiences, will be your most impactful college memories, not the A on a paper, though, that is also pretty awesome.

Describe one of your favorite memories.
The night before an architecture final was due sophomore year, I spent the entire night working on the third floor of ENVD. I decided to do a hand drawing instead of a digital board, which I regretted as soon as I started, but it was far too late. I cried a little, of course, it wouldn't have been a studio project without a few tears, but I found someone's skateboard and took it for a spin around the studios. I glided past all the other students that populated the building; they looked up from their projects and smiled at the strange sight of me passing by. I found friends and talked about our projects and received and gave advice. I met my best friends that night, and some of us decided to go skiing once the sun rose before our afternoon studio class.

What does graduating from college represent for you?
It means I finally get paid for studio projects!

What are your plans beyond graduation?
Traveling, learning how to speak Spanish, climbing distant rocks, learning how to farm and making mud houses.