Product design students win IDSA scholarship, merit award

Two Product Design Program bachelor of fine art candidates were honored recently for their work by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), earning invitations to the Western District Conference April 10-11 in San Jose, California.

Product design undergraduate student Hana Hiratsuka is this year's UO IDSA Student Merit Award representative. She was selected by a panel of professional Portland-area designers during the first phase of the IDSA Western District Student Competition. She'll represent the UO at the IDSA Western District Conference, which encompasses professionals and students in Oregon, Arizona, California, Colorado, and Washington.

Above: “Breath Buddies,” by Hana Hiratsuka, is a home medical device for Angie, a three-year-old user who has cystic fibrosis.

In addition, product design undergraduate Liz Zarro received a scholarship to attend the conference. Zarro is one of just four recipients of the scholarship, which is new this year.

“I am very pleased to have Hana representing the UO Product Design Program this year in the Student Merit competition,” says Assistant Professor Trygve Faste, UO’s IDSA faculty adviser. “She is a thoughtful and talented designer who presents her work clearly and professionally. I'm also not the least bit surprised that Liz won an IDSA scholarship to attend the Western District Conference—she is a very deserving candidate. All in all I am thrilled that we have such great students in general and that we will have a strong presence in San Jose this year.”

Hiratsuka says it is a “huge honor” to represent the Product Design Program at the conference. “When I joined [the] Product Design [Program] I didn't understand how great this program is or even what design was. Through guidance from teachers and collaboration and help from other students, I've learned what design is and the great things it can do. This award is a great opportunity to travel and meet professionals and other students who have the same passion for design. I can't wait to meet them and see the types of projects emerging from other schools as well as share so many amazing stories about UO Product Design.”

Zarro says that without the scholarship, she would not have been able to attend the conference. "I’m excited to learn about trends and connections to the maker movement, and to meet other students and designers who are part of the IDSA community," she says.

Sylvia Bargellini, IDSA Silicon Valley Chapter treasurer/secretary, says the motivation for the awards was “to give an opportunity to design leaders in the West Design District the ability to grow design and leadership skills by attending the conference. This is an opportunity we are very excited to be able to offer." 

All of the UO Product Design Program BFA projects can be viewed at their final review Friday, March 13, beginning at 5 p.m. at the White Stag building in Portland.  

Pinicola Shelves
Above: Liz Zarro’s “Pinicola Shelves” is intended to be sustainability built, simple to install, and easily shipped. This project page is from the portfolio that earned her a scholarship to the ISDA Western District Conference.

smoke shield
Above: Hiratsuka’s “Smoke Shield” is a 360-degree visibility headlamp for firefighters to improve communication.


March 16, 2015