Siba | 75 Years | Alumni Stories

Stevens – The Institute of Business & Arts is proud to be celebrating 75 years of serving the St. Louis Metropolitan Area this year. We got our start in 1947 as Patricia Stevens College – a modeling and finishing school for women. Over the years, we’ve evolved; adding degree programs, transitioning to a co-educational student body, and updating our course catalog to remain competitive with the needs of employers in the region. To commemorate this milestone, we’re looking back and sharing the stories of some of the alumni who have made us who we are today.

Our latest installment in this series is written by 2012 Interior Design B.A. graduate, Shannon Gonzalez:

I attended Siba from 2009 to 2012. When I first started the Interior Design degree program, the name of the school was Patricia Stevens College (PSC). My grandmother actually attended Patricia Stevens College when the school was an all-girls finishing school. When I started attending classes it didn’t exactly look like the campus we know it to be today–PSC was undergoing a period of transition. My mother and I saw the potential in Cindy and the staff’s vision of what they wanted the college to be. With a new location and new name, they made it happen!

What’s truly amazing about Siba is the amount of hands-on experience students get while attending classes. The best hands-on experience I had during college was being a part of designing the school’s new location on Washington Avenue. As final projects, Interior Design students designed the classrooms, offices, breakrooms, and restrooms. The staff and students also got to vote for what we thought the new name of the school should be, which is now known as Stevens-The Institute of Business & Arts (Siba).

One thing I remember about the classes I took is that they were all taught by instructors who had years of experience working in their field before teaching at PSC/Siba. The instructors always encouraged us to do our absolute best at whatever we were working on. I remember a few times rushing to get a project finished so I could be done early, then hearing “It’s good, but is that the best you’re capable of?” All the instructors I had when I was attending classes were incredibly talented and knowledgeable and I learned so much from them all. From the bottom of my heart thank you for giving me knowledge, wise advice, encouragement so I could follow my dreams!

Since graduation, I’ve worked for some great companies and clients. My first job out of college was actually working as a recruiter for Siba where I acquired some great marketing skills. Then I went on to work for Global Granite & Marble, where I got the amazing opportunity to move to Chicago to be a part of designing their 4th location. After Chicago I moved to Evansville, Indiana, and started doing more photography and graphic design work for clients. I wouldn’t be doing photography or graphic design work if I hadn’t learned Photoshop at Siba. I started my business “Deeshay” in 2020. I offer Interior Design, Photography, and Graphic Design services. My website is if you would like to see some of my work or read my bio. 

The best advice I can offer Siba students is: don’t procrastinate when you’re working on a project. In college sometimes I would wait until last minute to get projects done, and I didn’t realize then that it wouldn’t be an easy habit to break. I have learned that procrastinating only brings unnecessary stress to your life and could potentially cause you to lose clients. Also try not to work for free for your family and friends! (This is something I’m pretty sure every Instructor told me before I graduated.) However, me being me and wanting to design any and everything for everyone possible ended up with me getting burned out before I even started making money in my field. You are going to school to further develop your amazing talents and your time is very valuable. Don’t ever forget that!

I’ll finish with saying I will forever cherish the friendships and memories I made during my time at Siba. I wish all the alumni, current students and future students nothing but the best of luck in life!

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