This past May, April Ratcliff was awarded her Associates Degree in Interior Design while also raising three children and working fulltime at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. Completing that degree while balancing home and work took six years.
“It’s about always growing and moving forward,” she says, and her professional growth in the Corps demonstrates her dedication.
Ratcliff joined the Sacramento District in 2005 as an office administrator. Through continued dedication to the mission, she has progressed to become an interior design technician and works in support of the district’s architects, structural engineers and interior designers.
A California native, Ratcliff grew up in the East Bay and also has family in Oregon. She got her first glimpse of the Corps in 1999 as a student intern with the Portland District.
After moving back to California, she interviewed with the Sacramento District in 2005 and came onboard as an office administrator.
“I found I enjoyed the work environment at the Corps and wanted to find a more technical career route where I could continue to move forward,” she explains.
In 2008, the opportunity to become an interior design technician provided clarity.
“Within six months of beginning the tech position, I realized it was the job for me and I needed more schooling to truly succeed,” says Ratcliff.
She began a degree program at American River College in 2010 and took classes as she could fit them in.
“Because I was already active in the field before I started interior design classes, I had a big leg up on many of the traditional students,” she remembers. “I liked how I could learn something at work one day and then apply it back in the classroom, and vice versa.”
Ratcliff says the support she received from her supervisor, coworkers, friends and family was immeasurable, especially when it felt difficult to work, raise three kids and go to school at the same time.
Supporting interior design for military projects, including work at Beale Air Force Base, Fort Irwin and the Presidio of Monterey, is her primary focus right now.
“I love to see a project get accomplished,” says Ratcliff. “I love to see a completed project and be able to say ‘I made a difference.’”