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With a TCC degree, he has designs on the future.

Matt KeaneMatt Keane came to Tidewater Community College after a six-year stint as a Navy photographer, snapping images in dozens of countries and circling the globe. Twice.

After two years at TCC, he steps into a new career as an interior designer, fulfilling a lifelong dream. He will graduate May 16 with an Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design.

“As a career switcher, I feel even more prepared to embrace this career and love every minute of it,” Keane says. “I enjoy helping people and believe through interior design, I can change and improve lives.”

He adds, “From the first day of class, we were treated like working professionals and given the opportunity to interact with those already in the field. We met paint people, carpet people, antique shop owners – you name it. Combine that with classroom lectures and projects, and we were quickly immersed in the field.”

While at TCC, Keane served as co-president of the student chapter of American Society of Interior Designers, working to provide fellow students with portfolio-building activities. During the past year, the group hosted a furniture auction for charity, creating pieces for home and office. The group also hosted a Pallet Challenge, encouraging budding designers to creating something new from discarded shipping pallets.

“When I first started here, it felt kind of like we were competing with each other,” Keane says. “By working as a cohort, bringing creative minds together, we became a team and learned even more than we thought possible.”

TCC’s affordable tuition was attractive to him. “This program cost a fraction of what I’d have had to pay at another institution,” he says. “And the quality of the curriculum and the faculty, most of whom are working professionals, all add up to an amazing education.”

Matt Keane in his own words

In the days ahead, Keane hopes to continue designing for his own clients, bringing his blend of spirituality and practicality to the table. “I believe design must embrace the essence of life and all areas from physical to spiritual to emotional,” he says.

“I love working with clients and matching their personalities to the design, but I’m also hoping to gain industry experience in a firm. Having the opportunity to work side-by-side with other professionals on time sensitive projects will certainly lend to my growth.”

Keane regularly works pro bono, spending his time and resources to help those who have experienced a traumatic life event. “I live for the ‘reveal’ moment. It’s that point in time when you see if you created a space that matches the person’s desires and needs,” he says.

He continues to hone skills by participating in area design projects. He and his design partner, Julie Francis, recently placed second in a room competition for the Mid-Atlantic Home and Garden Show, held in April. In less than eight hours, the pair designed an “orange crush” game room with stunning orange and silver details.

Keane says class topics seemed to come at just the right time, paralleling projects underway. “Words of wisdom and industry tidbits, offered by faculty, those are the things that stay with you,” he says.

“Even though I’ve completed this phase of my education, I know I’ll be a lifelong learner, reading and experiencing design in many different ways.”

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