When Marymount University senior Emma Naing was selected in July to receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Network of Executive Women In Hospitality’s (NEWH) Washington, D.C., Metropolitan chapter, she felt both excitement and relief. After an application process that required a personal essay, recommendation letters and an in-person interview with the scholarship committee, Naing succeeded and will now use this scholarship to both financially assist her studies and network with peers in the design and hospitality industries.
“Receiving a scholarship from NEWH gave me strength and confidence in myself. The hard work that I’ve put into my education and career has now been recognized by such a big organization,” Naing said. “My personal gratitude goes to my professors Robin Wagner, Jessica Bonness and Bridget Murphy, Academic Advisor Linda Walton and the entire NEWH scholarship committee for believing in me and helping me achieve this scholarship.”
Naing grew up in Myanmar, and originally studied interior design at LaSalle College of the Arts in Singapore before furthering her education in the U.S. She transferred to Marymount as a junior to study in the University’s School of Design and Art, and currently has a cumulative GPA of 3.73 and is on track to graduate in December with a B.A. in Interior Design. At Marymount, she’s taken classes that include lighting design, sketching and rendering, professional development and a senior capstone. She was also elected last year as vice president of the University’s International Club.
It’s clear that she made a quick impact on campus.
“The Interior Design program is very happy and proud that Emma is one of the 2022 recipients of the NEWH scholarship,” said Robin Wagner, Professor of Interior Design at Marymount University. “Emma has been an exemplary example of strength and design creativity. She is a strong designer and her academic commitments and talent show in her work.”
Interestingly enough, Naing’s initial passion for interior design began as a child while playing the computer game ‘The Sims,’ as she would create different house designs in the game. However, the rich architectural designs in Myanmar also made her want to pursue design as a career.
“Studying interior design is inclusive of architecture, culture, arts and construction,” Naing explained. “Overall, it’s all about creating aesthetically pleasing and practical solutions for the users. I am so glad that I found my passion as a child.”
After graduating, Naing aims to become a commercial interior designer with a focus on hospitality design, combining her creativity with the idea of wellness for the general public. She hopes to secure a full-time position at a firm where she can continue to develop her professional experience and earn an National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certification.
“Hospitality projects such as hotels, spas and restaurants are places where people go to seek physical and mental well-being, and to recharge and rejuvenate,” Naing said. “I love the idea of integrating biophilic elements to improve mental wellness through designs.”
Naing still has additional educational goals for the future, such as earning a master’s degree in interior design and perhaps even returning to Marymount one day to serve as a professor. It’s that close bond with Marymount that Naing truly appreciates about her collegiate experience.
“Marymount’s close-knit community allows me the chance to really interact with my professors and fellow classmates,” Naing added. “Marymount is very welcoming to diversity, and I appreciate the University for giving me this opportunity and making me feel a part of the community.”