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Joan Burnett: A Daytona State family plan

Angela Bionelli, right, and her mother, Joan Burnett, are graduating together from Daytona State College.

Angela Bionelli, right, and her mother, Joan Burnett, graduated together from Daytona State College.

Joan Burnett, 50, and husband Steve have a busy life with work, six children ages 14 to 25, four grandkids and endless chores. In the past few years, it got busier yet: Joan began a career change in 2004, enrolling at Daytona State to study interior design after spending 25 years in the accounting field and earning her MBA.

Starting over is always a challenge. Joan quickly realized that she needed both work experience and education in her new field, so she combined her new studies with working for accomplished design practitioners in the area. On top of school and work, she also started her own interior design business on a part-time basis.

Joan has not been alone in her educational venture – daughter Angela and son Jared (twins) also enrolled at Daytona State. Angela earned the majority of her AA degree as a dual-enrolled student at Atlantic High; she’s ready to graduate with Joan on May 14 and has a Bright Futures Scholarship to continue at Daytona State for her bachelor’s degree. 

Jared, who’s been in the Holly Hill Police Explorers program for many years and also has a Bright Futures Scholarship, will be the next to finish at DSC. He’s enrolled in the criminal justice program, focused on becoming a police officer. Joining in the family tradition, another daughter, Shannon, just enrolled at DSC to become a Florida Wild Life Officer.

Noting that her family was very supportive, Joan says they understood her passion for a new career. “I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and interior design allows me to combine my business skills with creativity,” she said, adding, “I love home interiors – I’m passionate about the details of architecture and furniture, creating window treatments and color design. My mentor, Bethany Creamer, assistant chair of DSC’s Interior Design program, has truly been inspirational and shares so much as a practicing designer.”

Joan served as president of the Daytona State Student Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) this past year and is a winner of both DSC’s Hall of Fame award and outstanding student award for her program. She will receive her AS degree in interior design and a certificate in kitchen and bathroom specialization at commencement. Her MBA is from Southern New Hampshire University and her BS in finance is from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

After graduation Joan will go full time with her business, called Accent Custom Interiors ( and will advance to ASID Allied.

Read about Joan's recent coverage in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

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Last updated: 2014-08-04T21:17:09.974Z