ASID NJ Student & Emerging Professionals Week Provided Education, Inspiration, and a Forum for Collaboration

THE ASID NJ 2023-2024 Board at Samuelson Furniture, including from left to right, Jaydah Ruiz, Student Rep to the Board; Paul Sarrubbo, Membership Director; Marina Umali, President; Jeffery McCullough, Professional Development Director; Judi Crook, President-Elect; and Marilyn LaVergne, At-Large Director.

The New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID NJ), orchestrated a diverse and enriching program during its Student & Emerging Professionals Week, February 21 to 24. “It fostered growth and camaraderie within the design ASID NJ community,” said Marina V. Umali, ASID, CID, and Chapter President.

The week began with Samuelson Furniture, where President Lawrence Chalfin and EVP Michael Chalfin led a captivating tour through their expansive Paterson facility. Attendees marveled at the intricate handcrafted pieces alongside cutting-edge CNC manufacturing technology, illustrating the company’s rich history and innovative spirit catering to esteemed clients like the Four Seasons.

A virtual NCIDQ/CID session featured Matt Barusch of CIDQ providing insight into the exam, complemented by personal anecdotes from President-elect Judi Crook, ASID, CID, and Cynthia Peralta-Brito, ASID, CID. Then, insights by Diane Goté, FASID, into the path to becoming a Certified Interior Designer in New Jersey offered valuable clarity.

A hands-on window treatment experience with tips from Design NJ magazine on editorial submissions included.

A Showroom Crawl began with Elliot Laniado of Window Treats in Red Bank, N.J., who explored the evolution of window treatments, focusing on Hunter Douglas innovations. Ren Miller, Editor-in-Chief of Design NJ magazine, shared invaluable tips on pitching projects for publication, while Melissa Fotusky of Sherwin-Williams presented a CEU on the Colormix® Forecast 2024 and the Color of the Year, Upward, a breezy, blissful blue.

The last day’s virtual sessions delved into essential career preparation tips from Kate Kennedy, Allied ASID, and Meghan Maldonado, Allied ASID. Finally, MJ Divino, ASID, CID, and Chair of the Interior Design Program at Kean University, discussed mental health support for students, supplemented by experiences from recent grads Julia Giovanelli, Allied ASID, and Kerri Neumann, Allied ASID, which underscored the importance of well-being in the interior design profession.

Sponsors included: Samuelson Furniture, Window Treats, Sherwin-Williams and Chapter sponsor Design NJ.

A happy crowd at Sherwin-Williams.

About ASID

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) believes that design transforms lives. ASID serves all sectors of the interior design profession and practice through the Society’s programs, networks, and advocacy. ASID was founded over 40 years ago when two organizations became one, but its legacy dates back to the early 1930s. ASID continues to lead the future of interior design, integrating the advantages of local connections with national reach, of small firms with big, and of the places occupants live with the places they work, play, learn, and heal. Learn more at or visit