Horticulture Alum Earns National Accreditation

Debbie Strand

Debbie Strand wanted to take her artistic skills into the floral design field. She worked in a floral shop in Detroit before she and her husband started a family. Once their children were school-age and they moved to Cary, she asked around at the floral shops where she can learn floral design and many area shop owners suggested MCC.

She heeded their advice and earned her floral design certificate from MCC in 2003. With her new skills, she went on to work in a variety of area flower shops and at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. She opened her own business five years ago—Deborah Strand Designs—based out of her home in Cary.

Her solid skill sets were recognized last summer when she earned the American Institute of Floral Design (AIFD) accreditation, a national honor that includes floral designers from the U.S. and at least 40 different countries. To earn the accreditation, she completed two rigorous tests, including one online and a four-hour hands-on design project to demonstrate her technical and creative prowess. She is also an Illinois certified professional florist and a certified floral designer.

“Attaining my AIFD accreditation has been one of the highlights of my life,” Strand said. “It is one of the greatest accomplishments a floral designer can achieve.

“Everybody at MCC was exceedingly encouraging and helpful to me,” Strand said. “MCC was a great starting point for my career—my career just snowballed from there.”

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