Delgado = Your Success

Typical of many Delgado Community College students who are continuing to build the necessary skills to be competitive in the workplace, Luz is a non-traditional student. She already completed all of the credits for a business administration degree, but decided that she wanted to also obtain a degree in interior design. She is re-inventing herself after being out of work for 10 years because of a serious, life-threatening illness. Her daughter graduated from the Culinary Arts Program in December 2012. She is dedicated and committed to completing what she started and has a clear vision of her future.

What were you doing before you came to Delgado?

Before I attended Delgado I was a respiratory therapist and I worked full-time in a hospital in New Jersey where I lived before. I had to stop working in that career because I became very ill. After I received permanent disability I was at home for a long time and I didn’t know what to do with my time. I had it in the back of my mind to go back to school and do something else, but my health didn’t make it possible. But when I started feeling better, I thought it was probably time to come back to school and do something else.

What was your health condition?

My condition does not have a name per se. It has several components. I have "sponge kidneys" and I lack a chemical in my blood that assists with the passage of molecules in the kidney membranes, which should be excreted in the urine. This causes those molecules to accumulate on the wrong side of the membrane and form stones. There is no medicine to help the condition so far. I have to take diuretics every day due to the formation of kidney stones. I am in constant pain, which requires muscle relaxants and pain medication. I am monitored now bi-monthly by my pain management physicians. Previously, I had to go to the physician every month. The condition also depletes my potassium, which causes me to have muscle cramps and I need to take potassium pills every day, as well. .

How long were you experiencing it?

Apparently the condition is genetic, but it was discovered about 27 years ago when I miscarried a child due to intense pain after I passed a kidney stone.

How are you dealing with it now? Have you recovered?

No, I have not recovered; I will always have it. I Just manage the pain with pain meds, and try to deal with it a day at a time. Being in school is hard because of the long hours; however, it also gives me the chance to keep my mind off the condition and think about a future and a career where I can manage my working hours and have my own flexible schedule to deal with the pain.


Is that why you chose interior design?

I chose interior design as my second career so that I could design the restaurant that I will possibly open with my daughter.

Why did choose Delgado?

We were told that Delgado has a very good Culinary Arts Program and my daughter came over here to study. I had been thinking of going back to school so I thought that we could go back to school together. Also, we only have one car so it was easy for us to go back-and-forth to school at the same time. I decided to come and do business administration while she did culinary arts.

How is school going?

Yes, I am the vice president of the honors council. I am also in Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE); as a matter of fact, we changed the name and now it's called Enactus. Enactus tries to get students connected to the corporate world. Those are the only two organizations that I am active in right now.

Have you received any awards or honors at the school?

I got an honors scholarship a semester ago that covers my full tuition for a whole year.

Tell us about one of your most memorable experience so far.

My most memorable experience was when I walked into a French class and the teacher asked me if I was related to my daughter because she recognized my last name. I said yes, and she thought it was awesome that we were going to school together.

What do you like most about Delgado?

It is very friendly, it's close by, it's an easy drive, and it's small.

What are your overall goals and aspirations?

I don’t really see myself stopping school because I really like studying and I love to learn. But one goal that I have when I finish is opening a restaurant with my daughter when she is ready. She graduated in December from the Culinary Arts Program and she wants to get a little bit of experience first.

What role do you think Delgado has played to help you reach your goals?

Delgado is offering me the opportunity to possibly start a new business with my daughter.

What do you do when you are not at school or studying?

I go to church with my daughter on Sunday and rest.

When you think about Delgado what comes to your mind?

A stepping stone to my new future.

Is there anything else that we should know about Luz?

I have a son that still lives in New Jersey who told me that I am his inspiration. He has taken my desire to go back to school and is re-inventing himself. As a matter of fact, he did not know what to do. He was working at a factory and when he heard that I was thinking about going back to school, he decided to go back to school and get at least a diploma. My son and my daughter say that I am an inspiration and that they have to try to keep up with me.


If you would like to contact Luz to learn more about her student success, email her at


Potential earnings for Luz

What interior designers do
Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful for almost every type of building: offices, homes, airport terminals, shopping malls, and restaurants. They select and specify colors, finishes, fabrics, furniture, flooring and wall coverings, lighting, and other materials to create useful and stylish interiors for buildings.

Interior designers work closely with architects, structural engineers, and builders to determine how interior spaces will look and be furnished.

Many designers specialize in particular types of buildings (homes, hospitals, or hotels), specific rooms (bathrooms or kitchens), or specific styles (early American or French Renaissance).

Examples of types of interior designers

Sustainable designers use strategies to improve energy and water efficiencies and indoor air quality, and they specify environmentally preferable products such as bamboo or cork for floors. They may obtain certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Universal designers renovate spaces to make them more accessible. Often, these designs are used to renovate spaces for elderly people or people with special needs; however, universal designs can benefit anyone. For example, an entry with no steps may be necessary for someone in a wheelchair, but it is also helpful for someone pushing a baby stroller.

Kitchen and bath designers specialize in kitchens and bathrooms and have expert knowledge of the variety of cabinets, fixtures, appliances, plumbing, and electrical solutions for these rooms.

Lighting designers focus on the effect of lighting for home, office, or public spaces. For example, lighting designers may work on stage productions, in gallery or museum spaces, or in health care facilities to find appropriate light fixtures and lighting effects for each space.

Closet designers design closet space for homes to maximize storage and increase orderliness. They work with both fixed structures and stand-alone storage systems.

The median annual wage of interior designers is $46,280. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,380, and the top 10 percent earned more than $84,900.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Delgado offers the Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design. This degree program is appropriate for students who wish to prepare for the National Council of Interior Design exam. Please see an advisor if you wish to transfer to a four-year institution before enrolling in the program. . Click here to view the programs in our online catalog.