Tech architecture grad heads to internship with Chip and Joanna Gaines

Shelby Gifford will earn a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Louisiana Tech University’s School of Design in May, 2021. She will begin an internship with Magnolia the summer following graduation. (Photo by EMERALD MCINTYRE)

By Kelly Cole

Shelby Gifford is an Architecture graduate student graduating from Louisiana Tech University in Spring 2021. She has accepted a summer internship with Chip and Joanna Gaines at Magnolia in Waco, Texas – beginning right after this weekend’s commencement events.

Gifford, originally from Arkansas, came to Louisiana Tech searching for a way to combine her love for art and math into a career. After touring the Architecture department, she knew that pursuing a degree in architecture at Louisiana Tech was the perfect fit for her and her career aspirations.

“I toured Tech’s Architecture department at the end of my high school career,” Gifford said. “Since then, I have been on this path ever since, and I am so thankful that I was able to explore my passions.”

Throughout high school and her undergraduate career, she spent time with her family watching Chip and Joanna Gaines’ television show, “Fixer Upper.” While watching the show, a passion to see the potential in what something could be led her to pursue a career in flipping homes.

“I remember watching Chip and Joanna with my mom and sister,” Gifford said. “It felt so unrealistic, but I knew that I wanted to do what they do. I wanted to be able to take something and give it a new life.”

During her junior year, Gifford participated in the design-build project with MedCamps.

“It was a stressful time but so rewarding,” Gifford said. “That’s what I love about flipping homes, it can be stressful but when you see the outcome and how it can benefit others it is so rewarding.”

Louisiana Tech’s School of Design and Architecture program have provided Gifford with the connections she needed to receive this opportunity. From friendships with fellow students to her professors, Gifford said the Tech Family was her favorite memory from her five years at Tech.

“My classmates and I worked side by side together every day for almost five years, and my professors gave me the skills I needed to get to graduation,” Gifford said. “I wouldn’t have been able to connect with Magnolia without the help of Karl Puljak (Director of the School of Design), he paved the way for this dream to come true.”

Gifford begins the internship at Magnolia on June 1, one week after Louisiana Tech’s spring commencement. She said she hopes the internship will be able to offer her a new perspective on flipping homes and a full-time career after the internship is completed.

“This is all a dream come true,” Gifford said. “I would not have been able to achieve this dream without the connections and skills I gained while being at Tech. I believe they will follow me throughout my career as an architect and beyond.”


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