Chatham Views

Alumna profile: Abigail Gambino-Walker ’16

Tell us a little about your history and how you came to find Chatham’s program.

I am currently employed as a high-end residential interior designer here in Pittsburgh, and I graduated from Chatham’s Bachelor of Interior Architecture program. Over the course of a few years, I have worked on numerous scale renovations, new build constructions, and showhouses for Traditional Home Magazine across the United States. I am proud to have won first and second place in three international interior design competitions. Prior to my undergraduate education, I ran an online art business that I started in high school. So, I’ve been busy!

I came to find Chatham through my wonderful mother, Dr. Nancy Walker. When we were children, my mother would take us to play on Chatham’s campus in the summer. Applying to Chatham was a no-brainer because it was so familiar to me and the opportunity to complete the Interior Architecture program in three years was too good to pass up.

How was your experience in the program? 

I am not going to lie… The three-year Interior Architecture program was hard! It took a lot of dedication, even when all you wanted to do was anything but AutoCAD.

The coursework was rigorous, and professors were demanding, but the trials and tribulations were completely worth it in the end.

The handful of ladies that I graduated with were so incredibly talented and professional. From my dedication and instruction, I even landed a job before graduation and soon thereafter graduated with both confidence and peace of mind.

If I were to recommend anything to current students, it would be to first absorb as much information as you can and go the extra mile. Do extra brainstorming and research–a competitive edge never hurts. Second, the staff at Chatham are there to help you succeed. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or extra critiques. They also become great connections after you graduate. Third, and probably most importantly, is to go to events and network! I have my current job because I was in the right place at the right time and got my name out into the community. Trust me, it is so worth it!

Tell us about your professional experience today. Do you find yourself thinking back on what you learned at Chatham? 

Many of the skills I use daily are from a strong foundation that I built while at Chatham. When I began my undergraduate degree, I possessed an already strong customer-service background and wildly creative and curious mind. The formal education I received honed my existing abilities but also shaped new skills such as understanding building systems and codes; cultivating design concepts; and delivering knock-out presentations. Being a successful designer is all about being well-rounded and Chatham helped me to achieve a holistic approach to both work and life.

What would you say to a student considering the program today? 

I would say “just do it already!” Since being in the field for a few years, I have noticed that Chatham has a notoriously good track record amidst the interior design community in Pittsburgh.

In fact, my boss says she only wants interns from Chatham now because of how prepared the students are for real-life design application.

As a whole, the University is very progressive and tightly-knit, which is by design and to your benefit. There are so many ways to be involved, volunteer, perform, compete, explore, and engage locally, nationally, and globally as a Chatham student. If you have big dreams and aspirations or need help in understanding your best future and career goals then Chatham is the place for you.

Visit Abigail’s website

Chatham’s Bachelor of Interior Architecture is a professional interior design program that prepares students for practice in an interior design or architecture firm. The Bachelor of Interior Architecture was most recently accredited by the Council for Interior Design (CIDA) in 2017.