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IFDA Honors 18 Students as 2023 Rising Stars of Design

The Night of Luminaries and Rising Stars will take place on November 8th, at the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame. 

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Night of Luminaries invitation
Night of Luminaries and Rising Stars will take place on November 8.

The International Furnishings and Design Association’s Carolinas Chapter will honor 18 preeminent design students as part of its 11th annual Night of Luminaries & Rising Stars. The Rising Star designation is given to the most outstanding senior-level design students from colleges and universities across the Carolinas. Each school’s program selects their top student from interior design, interior architecture or  furniture design for the honor.

The students are then recognized at IFDA’s annual event honoring them along with the organization’s Luminary Award recipient. The 2023 Luminary Award will be presented to Barbour Spangle Design. The event is Wednesday, November 8, 5:30pm at the new American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame, 311 S. Hamilton Street, in downtown High Point. Tickets are $25 each and available online through November 6th. All proceeds will be donated to the Barbour Spangle Design Competition through the Bienenstock Furniture Library.

Additionally, Penina Bernstein, a furniture design student at Rhode Island School of Design, will be recognized for winning two design scholarships this year — the 2023 Ruth Clark Furniture Design Scholarship from IFDA’s Educational Foundation and the 2023 International Society of Furniture Design’s (ISFD) Tom Conley Student Scholarship.

Rising Star winners for 2023 are:


  • Lillie Bell, Appalachian State University (interior design)
  • Kristen D. Cherry, University of North Carolina-Greensboro (interior architecture)
  • Marjorie Doran, Salem College (interior design)
  • Rebekka Feiner, Meredith College (interior design)
  • Tanuvi Hegde, Savannah College of Art and Design (furniture design)
  • Go Woon (Alice) Hogan, Wake Technical Community College (interior design)
  • Ayanna Johnson, Central Piedmont Community College (interior design)
  • Emilee Johnson, Cape Fear Community College (interior design)
  • Alexia Kallaur, High Point University (interior design)
  • Anna Lee, Converse University (interior design)
  • Maggie Lockhart, Forsyth Technical Institute (interior design)
  • Hailey McIntosh, Queens University (interior design)
  • Hailey Phillips, Randolph Community College (interior design)
  • Sally Robertson, North Carolina State University (furniture design)
  • Matthew Simpkins, East Carolina University (interior design)
  • Vic Stocker, Appalachian State University (furniture design)
  • Natasha Sturdivant, Western Carolina University (interior design)
  • Jena Ann Tolley, Winthrop University (interior design)

Each student will exhibit a recent project that best exemplifies his or her work and design philosophy at a special cocktail reception held in their honor. At the conclusion of the reception, the students will be presented to the industry where they receive their awards and gifts. The Luminary Award is the culmination of the evening’s festivities.

The Night of Luminaries and Rising Stars is held annually to recognize leadership, innovation and contribution to the home and design industries as well as highlighting the most outstanding young designers of tomorrow.

Luminary Award presenting sponsors are Century Furniture, Davis Furniture Industries, Thayer Coggin, Gefen Productions, Libby Langdon Design, the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame,  IFDA-EF and Nancy High.  

Industry Partners are Benjamin Moore, Hunter Douglas, European Home, The Shade Store, Theodore Alexander, HPxD, Sherrill Furniture and Shifman Mattresses. 

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