In just days now, Henderer earns two bachelor’s degrees – a B.S. in Interior Design and a B.S. in Design and Innovation Management – as well as a minor in family business. And then she returns to work full time for the family business, Henderer Design + Build.
Though it is not readily apparent from the photos, Rylee Henderer ’23 describes herself as an “older than average” student. But as one already working for an award-winning multigenerational family business, maybe she knows that quality takes some time.
In just days now, Henderer earns two bachelor’s degrees – a B.S. in Interior Design and a B.S. in Design and Innovation Management – as well as a minor in family business.
And then she returns to work full time for the family business, Henderer Design + Build, a full-service design, build and renovations business started by her grandfather.
Henderer is a project designer. But even as a working professional – she dropped to part-time status while pursuing her degrees – she has great appreciation for what she’s gained as a student.
“I think the most valuable thing I learned was how detailed the process of designing spaces can be,” Henderer said. “At surface level, interiors is often thought of as furniture design and plans, but it goes as deep as door hardware, hinges on cabinets, and even down to the lightbulbs specified in lighting fixtures. I love the idea of being able to influence others through the spaces I design and create.”
True to the nature of a family business, Henderer has been on job sites since she was a child, and delved into many areas of the work: she first worked as a carpenter’s apprentice, learning the different aspects of the job, including demolition, framing, tile work and finish carpentry. From there, she became office coordinator.
When she began studying design, it was numerous scholarships from both OSU and outside organizations that allowed her to drop to part-time work and concentrate on her degree programs.
“Classes have been really intensifying as I move through the programs, but being able to really focus on that has been so helpful,” Henderer said.
Henderer was awarded a number of scholarships themed toward those in a family business, but also – notably – the 4Word Women Scholarship and the Susan J. McGregor & Jean McGregor Scholarship.
“The significance of awards and scholarships focused on women in leadership is really important to me personally, as someone who will be a business owner in a male-dominated industry,” she said. “It shows the importance of having women in roles of leadership and in rooms where decisions are made to shape the future.”
But she is in a supportive family, and she has a wonderful role model:
“I am the first person on my mother’s side of the family to graduate from college,” Henderer said. “This was something I only learned a few days ago, but it had a huge impact on me. I’m an older-than-average student, and the road to get here has been really long, but I’ve been determined to finish!”