Interior Design Faculty

Claire Hamilton has been teaching in the Interior Design Program at Southern Miss since 2003. Prior to teaching, she spent 12 years working in the commercial furniture industry and practiced commercial interior design. She specialized in corporate, state and federal government facilities as well as medical and institutional design. While at USM, Claire has designed several university spaces that have won ASID Design Excellence awards.

Claire has a B.S. degree from The University of Southern Mississippi in Interior Design and a M.S. Degree in Interior Design from Virginia Tech. She is NCIDQ certified and is also a Certified Interior Designer in the state of MS. Claire has served as the past president of the ASID South Central Chapter and was actively involved in helping MS obtain interior design legislation in 2012. Claire received the prestigious ASID Educator Medalist Award and currently serves on the board for the Mississippi Coalition for Interior Design.

Claire is an Associate Professor and serves as the Program Coordinator. She teaches Interior Design I and II, Contract Design I and II, History of Interiors, Portfolio Presentation and oversees the Internship Program.

Contact Info:
Office: Kate Hubbard House RM 301
Phone: (601) 266-6437

Nancy Bounds has worked as a commercial and residential interior designer for over 30 years. For 16 of those years, Nancy ran a successful and award winning design firm in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina moved her to Little Rock Arkansas. While in Little Rock, Nancy worked for a large architectural firm designing commercial and healthcare environments.

Nancy has a B.S. degree in Interior Design from Louisiana State University and a M.S. degree from Stephen F. Austin University in Health Care Interior Design. Nancy is NCIDQ certified, has served as past president of the ASID South Central Chapter, and was the first interior designer in our region to become an EDAC (Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification) certified designer. In addition, Nancy is certified by the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers. Her research focusses in healthcare design and wayfinding.

Nancy is an Assistant Professor and teaches hand sketching and drafting, CAD for Interiors, BIM for Interiors, Interior Construction Documents, Residential I and the Senior Capstone which has an emphasis in healthcare interior design.

Contact Info:
Office: Kate Hubbard House RM 109
Phone: (601) 266-4430

Hans Palacios has been in the architecture industry for over 5 years, and is an architect registered in Mississippi and Texas.  As a LEED Accredited Professional, he is passionate about integrating sustainable design strategies into his architectural projects and research.  His scholastic interests extend into Building Information Modeling, generative design, graphic & web design, and emerging technologies.

Hans completed his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his graduate degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois.  He has also completed graduate work in historic preservation from Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia, and is currently working on his Master of Business Administration from Mississippi State University.  

Hans is a Visiting Assistant Professor and teaches in both the Interior Design and Architectural Technology Programs.  He teaches both hand rendering and digital rendering techniques.

Contact Info: 
Office:  Kate Hubbard House RM 308 
Phone:  (601) 266-5605

Maya Stewart has worked in architecture, interior design and property development for over 16 years and has an extensive portfolio of residential and commercial projects in Beirut, Dubai, Montreal and Hattiesburg. She has a great passion for Art and Design, attended several design workshops, art exhibitions and performance art festivals in Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East.

Maya completed her undergraduate degrees in Interior Design and Interior Architecture from the Lebanese American University and her graduate degree in Architecture from The Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut, Lebanon. She lives in Hattiesburg, practices Interior Design and is a Licensed Realtor.

Maya serves as an adjunct instructor and teaches Portfolio Development which includes branding and page-layout utilizing the Adobe Creative Suite software– Photoshop, Illustrator, and In-Design.

Contact Info:
Phone: (601) 674-6363

Suzanna Lawler has been working as an interior designer since 1999. She started Lawler Design Studio in 2003 in Winter Park, Florida and then moved her business to Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 2010. The majority of her projects have been high-end residential with some commercial projects such as doctor’s offices, hotels, and multi-family housing.

Suzanna has a B.S. degree from The University of Southern Mississippi in Interior Design and a M.S. Degree from Stephen F. Austin University in Health Care Interior Design. She has served six years on the ASID Florida North Chapter board, including Design Community Coordinator, Membership Director, and President. She is NCIDQ certified and is also a Certified Interior Designers in the state of MS.

Suzanna is an adjunct instructor and teaches Interior Textiles, Professional Practices and Residential Design II which focusses on kitchen and bath design and historic period design.

Contact Info:
Phone: (601) 620-0547