Outstanding graduate returned home to earn his design degree

Nicholas Hahn smiling in selfie
Nicholas Hahn

Nicholas Hahn grew up in Fort Collins, and after a few years away, found his way back home to Colorado State University. Hahn is a graduating senior in the Department of Design and Merchandising with a degree in interior architecture and design. After high school, Hahn attended Front Range Community College to study interior design and planned to transfer to CSU. One year into studying at FRCC, Hahn decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a costumer in the film and television industry.

“After four years living and working in LA, I decided I wanted to pursue interior design and finish school, so I returned to Colorado and CSU,” said Hahn. “Now, after three years, I am finally graduating!”

Studying at CSU

Returning to school at age 25, Hahn found it difficult to relate and connect with his classmates.

“Sometimes, it’s hard to relate to my fellow students because our lives are on such different paths and our experiences have been so different,” said Hahn.

Hahn also worried that he didn’t have specific career plans for after college. Navigating college and enrolling in the classes he should take to help him pursue his career was difficult given that he was unsure about what he wanted to pursue after graduating.

“Thankfully, through patience and perseverance, I found the path for me and catered my education to my future goals,” said Hahn.

Getting involved at CSU

During his undergraduate career, Hahn found support from faculty members and advisors serving as mentors and his support system. They helped him persevere through his struggles and find direction for  his professional career after college.

Nicholas Hahn speaking at the construction site of the Nancy Richardson Design Center at the final beam raising ceremony
Hahn speaking at the final beam raising ceremony for the Nancy Richardson Design Center.

“These mentors and advisors always pushed me to produce my best work and encouraged me to use my unique experiences to create strong, unique projects that I could be proud of,” said Hahn. “They also emphasized the importance of putting yourself out there and take risks in school and life, which is something I will take with me after I graduate.”

As a result, Hahn was recognized in national design competitions, including for his carpet pattern design for the hospitality industry. Hahn won second place in the Durkan dscvr competition.

Hahn participated in various activities while at CSU. While the Richardson Design Center was under construction, he was asked to give a speech along with a fellow classmate at the final beam-raising ceremony representing his class and the Interior Architecture and Design Program. Hahn studied abroad in London during the Spring 2020 semester. He is also a part of the first University Innovation Fellows cohort offered through Stanford University. Hahn is one of five CSU students working with other CSU fellows creatively think of ways to improve campus engagement. Hahn is currently interning at an architecture and design firm in Denver giving him an opportunity to gain hands-on experience before entering the professional world.

Adjusting to the pandemic

Looking back at his time at CSU, Hahn says he will miss his friends the most. Having spent time in labs, group projects, discussions, and lectures, Hahn says these are the people that share your common interests and understand your struggles and successes.

“CSU gave me some of the best friends I could ever dream of, and I am grateful for that,” said Hahn. “It will be hard to adjust to not seeing them every day once we graduate, but I am not worried because I know we will always be there for each other in life, even after school.”

Nicholas Hahn standing on the right at the Durkan Dscvr Fashion Show
Nicholas Hahn (right) at the awards presentation for the Durkan dscvr competition at the Hospitality Design Expo in Las Vegas.

After graduating, Hahn is planning to take some time to work on his portfolio and search for a job. He plans to enjoy his summer with family and friends before launching into his next adventure.

“One thing I know for sure is that I am ready to leave Colorado and experience somewhere new because what is life without a little adventure?” said Hahn.

Hahn hopes to start his own small residential design firm and develop his own line of interior furnishings and designs. For now, he is planning to find a job at a small residential firm outside of Colorado.

“One area of the design field that interests me most is textile design, and I hope to have the opportunity to create my own custom patterns and designs for fabrics and wallcoverings,” said Hahn.

Since the world has worked to adjust to the COVID-19 outbreak, Hahn admits to struggling under the stay-at-home order.

“Personally, I have never been one to stay home. I love to be active and socialize,” said Hahn. “I won’t lie, I really struggled for a while sitting inside, having no idea what I was going to do and realizing no one else knew what to do either.”

But through this experience, Hahn has taken the time to exercise more, re-discover hobbies, and reconnect with people he has lost touch with. Hahn is also connecting with his family and taking time to enjoy other activities.

“I know this is a trying and confusing time for so many people, but I think it is important for us all to remember that we need to have courage and be kind, and we will certainly make it through this together,” said Hahn.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.