High Point University students gain industry experience at Market

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 26, 2022 – High Point University students worked alongside industry leaders from Oct. 22-26 at the fall High Point Market, one of the world’s largest home furnishings trade shows.

The biannual event attracts industry leaders from across the globe who hire students, providing experiential learning opportunities to network and work alongside professionals during the five-day event.

“It’s amazing to see how High Point attracts so many people from around the world and to interact with them,” said Helen De Weissenbruch, a senior interior design major from Lasne, Belgium. “I love that I can help with the market, gain experience and meet designers who could help me find a job after graduating.”

This is the third time junior Anastasia Avlonitis has worked at the furniture market and her second time working with the company Regina Andrew. The company started by designing light fixtures but has expanded to include other furniture items.

Junior Anastasia Avlonitis, an interior design student from Westchester County, New York, fixes a pillow in the Regina Andrew showroom in downtown High Point

“I’ve become more confident as the years have gone by when speaking to customers, and that’s really important if you work in the interior design industry,” said Avlonitis, from Westchester County, New York. “Having this opportunity, right in our backyard, has helped me feel more comfortable building relationships with clients, giving input on products and designing as well.”

Students like Abigail Peterson have created a strong bond with some of the industry leaders at the High Point Market, leading to summer internships and lifelong connections. A student from Stillwater, Minnesota, Peterson has worked with Baker McGuire for two markets, through a part-time job and as a summer intern.

“I think it’s a really unique opportunity for people to be able to come here and work the different showrooms,” said Peterson, a senior interior design student. “Many of these showrooms have locations across the country and the world, which allows you to grow your resume. Being an interior design major, I’ve been able to branch out and meet a lot of people within my industry through residential and commercial designs.”

It’s not just interior design students gaining valuable real-world experience at the furniture market. Jake Pardi, a senior majoring in sales and finance, saw working at the fall market as an opportunity to expand his repertoire.

“I wanted to work at market this fall for the sales and customer relations experience,” said Pardi, from Saratoga, New York. “Having the world’s largest furniture market just a few miles away from campus is extraordinary. It’s an experience not many other college students can say they’ve had or even get to apply to. All our professors want us to have this industry experience, whether it’s in sales, interior design or any of the other majors HPU offers.”

Industry professionals can tell HPU students are professional, willing to learn and excited to engage with clients. Alexa Keaney, communication and events coordinator for Baker McGuire, has worked with Peterson for the last two markets and has seen her grow through her time there.

“We love having HPU students here,” said Keaney. “They are always so kind, professional, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and well prepared. They really round out our team here, and we love having them help at the market. I love seeing the students in their element and getting to see them practice what they’ve learned in the classroom when interacting with clients.”

“Anyone interested in working the market should do it because it’s very eye opening,” said Morgan Botwinick, a junior from Syracuse, New York. “There are so many different opportunities within the field of interior design, and it can help you decide which path you want to take in the future.”

The High Point Market is held each fall and spring.

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