Texas Tech University

Interior and Environmental Design Doctoral Candidate Wants to Teach, Mentor Future Students

Amanda Bowman

May 22, 2020

Lori Guerrero won one of the university’s Student Academic Leadership Awards.

In February, Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech Parents Association announced the 2020 Student Academic Leadership Award recipients to honor outstanding students who excel both in and out of the classroom. We are highlighting Texas Tech University students who were recognized.

Lori Guerrero
Lori Guerrero

When it comes to playgrounds and outdoor spaces for children, the thought of grassy areas with jungle gyms enter our minds. For Lori Guerrero, a graduate student and doctoral candidate for interior and environmental design in the Department of Design through Texas Tech University's College of Human Sciences, it's a passion.

Guerrero, who also is a registered interior designer, was the 2018 recipient of the Elo and Olga Urbanovsky Fellowship for her research exploring how land-use, particularly outdoor learning environments, influence public health. The fellowship also was granted in recognition of her contributions to the Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE!) Texas initiative, a statewide initiative that improves outdoor spaces at childcare centers.

In 2017, she completed the professional certificate in designing outdoor learning environments from North Carolina State University. She continues to contribute to research and educate the public about outdoor learning environments through community outreach and conference presentations.

In recognition of Guerrero's work, she recently received one of the university's Student Academic Leadership Awards.

How are you a leader in the classroom?
My purpose in gaining a unique blend of professional and academic experience is to share my knowledge with others. I do this in the classes I help teach, and I also share my knowledge through peer mentoring.

How are you a leader outside the classroom?
I share my knowledge and experience with members of the community through my participation in OLE! Lubbock. It is a program that provides training, education and design services to community child care centers. Its purpose is to improve child well-being through the implementation of outdoor-learning environments. My favorite example of being a leader in the community was helping install the outdoor learning environment at the Covenant Child Development Center. It was great to see members of the community join together to improve the children's outdoor environment.

Why did you select your major?
I began my journey in interior design when I was accepted to the Bachelor of Interior Design program at Texas Tech. At the time, I was drawn to the creative side of interior design. I've since grown to appreciate that interior design is informed not only by the arts, but also research in environmental psychology, science and technology.

How do you intend to use your education in the future?
I've known since 2003 that I wanted to be an educator in higher education at some point in my lifetime. I've spent years gaining professional industry experience, earning a certification through a national exam, applying for professional registration and educating myself academically. I plan on achieving an assistant professor position after graduating in August. I don't take lightly the role I have prepared for as an educator and researcher. It has been my life's work.

How has Texas Tech helped you along the path to those goals?
I have been encouraged time and time again by the large network of individuals promoting scholarship and service at Texas Tech University. It's an honor to be recognized by the Texas Tech Parents Association for my service in the community. The recognition speaks to the priorities at Texas Tech to engage in scholarly research that benefits the members of our community.

Who has had the biggest impact on you, and why?
My mentor, Dr. Kristi Gaines, an associate professor in the design department and associate dean of the Graduate School, has had the biggest impact on me and my future endeavors. She has been extremely generous with her time and advice. I value her impact on my academic experience and I plan to pay it forward by mentoring students in the future.