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VPA’s Manfredi Receives Industrial Designers Society of America Young Educator Award
Louise Manfredi, an assistant professor of industrial and interaction design in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ (VPA) School of Design, received a 2020 Young Educator Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), one of the oldest and largest industrial design associations. Manfredi received the award virtually at IDSA’s international design conference in September.
The IDSA Young Educator of the Year Award recognizes junior faculty, non-tenured or tenure-track educators who have made a noteworthy impact on industrial design education within the early years of their academic career. Individuals are nominated by a peer or student.
Manfredi joined the School of Design faculty in 2017. In addition to teaching industrial and interaction design, she serves as the program lead for Invent@SU, which helps undergraduate students transform into inventors as they design, prototype and pitch original devices.
“I was pleasantly surprised to receive this award,” says Manfredi. “It is a wonderful feeling to be recognized not only by the faculty and students who nominated me but also by a committee of educators, fellows and industry professionals. That the committee saw the merit in my approach of blending design and engineering methodologies has been incredibly rewarding.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of co-teaching with Dr. Manfredi over the past two years, and as such, I could point to numerous examples for why she’s deeply deserving of this honor,” says Don Carr, professor and coordinator of the industrial and interaction design program. “As an educator, what’s abundantly clear is that through her teaching Louise makes the classroom fun, dynamic, challenging and her passion for learning is contagious.”
Manfredi’s teaching and research focuses on what can be learned from other disciplines to make design and engineering better. This commitment has seen designers learning from neuroscientists, and biomedical engineers learning about usability testing from industrial designers.
“It is so important that designers and engineers have the opportunity to learn from each other,” says Manfredi. “They work on different parts of the same projects in industry; therefore, it makes sense that they experience this in their education too.”
This commitment to interdisciplinarity is core to her research agenda, which blends multiple fields of study to promote sustainable material use in the prototyping phases of product development.
Manfredi is an active member of IDSA, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Design Research Society (DRS). She holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and a B.Des. in product design from the University of Leeds, UK.
“I credit the breadth of my own education in design, science and engineering for the teaching skills I have developed so far,” notes Manfredi. “I feel that I have been successful because of the talented people who taught me and took the time to mentor me as a young academic. I always strive to exude the same passion for knowledge as my professors did and support students who have a desire to learn as much as they can.”