Alum feels at-home in interior design industry

Working in interior design, Alma got her start at EVIT
Posted on 03/28/2022
Alma built her foundation with training at EVIT, now works in interior design

Alma Serrano has always tried to make the spaces around her feel like home. So it was a natural fit when she enrolled in the Interior Design & Merchandising program at the East Valley Institute of Technology 10 years ago.

“I fell in love with interior design even more when I started my education at EVIT and began to understand interior designers don’t just create the physical spaces where we exist, but they’re also enhancing human experiences through their designs,” she said.

Today, Serrano, 26, is a project designer with a passion for sustainability at Goodmans Interior Structures in Phoenix. She works to create inclusive spaces that enhance the environment and positively impact people’s lives.

“I think as designers we should always strive to reduce the negative impact we have on our planet as well as understand sustainability goes beyond environmental issues as we should also focus on how we’re socially and economically influencing our world,” she said.

At EVIT, Serrano learned about the elements and principals of design, interior fabrics and textiles, use of color and texture, retail and visual merchandising, floor space planning, and rendering. The FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) competition is one of her favorite memories. “It was very exciting to design my first large project from beginning to end,” she said.

Serrano had enrolled at EVIT because she saw it as an opportunity to gain a preview of what college might be like. It was also a nice “escape” from traditional high school electives, she said. “I knew I wanted to attend a four-year university since my freshman year of high school, and I felt much more comfortable applying to schools with a design portfolio, credentials and some experience thanks to the EVIT Interior Design program.”

From EVIT, Serrano went on to Northern Arizona University, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in interior design. “My passion for sustainability really started when I was an undergrad in college and worked on a few projects that required me to research the environmental impact I was having through my designs,” she said.


After NAU, she enrolled in the sustainability leadership program at Arizona State University, earning her master’s degree. She also began to explore other areas of design, such as furniture, furniture upcycling and reconfiguration.

Today at Goodmans, a commercial furniture dealership, Serrano is part of a design team that helps clients with product and finish selection to transform spaces based on their style, wants, budget and timelines. “I love Goodmans’ commitment to having a positive impact on the community,” she said.

Ten years after her first interior design class, Serrano is still using what she learned at EVIT. “I learned to draw my first elevations and floor plans at EVIT, and I still use several of the skills I learned so early in my career thanks to this wonderful school and program,” she said. “EVIT is such an amazing resource.” 

EVIT offers over 40 career training programs for East Valley high school students and adults at two central campuses in Mesa and a branch campus at Apache Junction High School.

EVIT students have a 98% high school graduation rate, two out of three go on to college and 94% are in jobs related to their training, college or the military within a year of completing their program.

Enrollment for 2022-23 is under way. Start the process at

Alma’s Career Path:

  • Completed EVIT Interior Design program in 2014
  • Earned bachelor’s degree in interior design from NAU
  • Earned master’s degree in sustainability leadership from ASU
  • Worked for Restoration Hardware, Floor & Décor, DBSI-Inc, JL Coates Design and Elontec LLC
  • Today: Project designer for Goodmans Interior Structures

Get started on a career while in high school:

How to enroll in high school programs at EVIT:

  • Complete and submit application online at
  • Parents/legal guardians of new students will need an active email account to access and use the online registration system
  • Upload attendance record, discipline record, current unofficial transcripts and proof of immunizations
  • Admissions office will inform students via email once application is approved or if more information is needed
  • EVIT is for all high school students – public, charter, private or home-schooled – who reside in one of 11 East Valley school districts: Apache Junction, Cave Creek, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Higley, J.O. Combs, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Tempe
  • More information: Call (480) 461-4108

How to enroll in adult programs at EVIT:

  • Schedule appointment to meet with an advisor by calling (480) 461-4110
  • Complete online application form at
  • Tuition rates vary by program. Apply for financial aid by visiting and using school code 035723
  • Send questions about financial aid to [email protected]
  • More information: Call (480) 461-4110