2017 Graduated Named One of Top Five Industrial Design Students in USA // Latest News // College of Arts and Letters // University of Notre Dame
Erin Rice ’17 was named one of the top five industrial design graduate students in the country by the Industrial Designers Society of America.
Rice is the seventh student in the past 10 years of Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters to win the Student Merit Award at the IDSA Midwest District Design Conference.
“The IDSA Student Merit Award is one of the most prestigious honors for undergraduate industrial design students, and our continued success reflects the quality of our students and the industrial design program we offer here at. Notre Dame ”, declared Scott Shim, professor at the Department of Art, Art History and Design. “Erin’s projects exhibit excellent traditional core skills in industrial design, but it’s her holistic approach that sets her apart. “
Rice’s work will be presented at the IDSA International Design Conference in Atlanta in August, where she will accept the award.
“This award belongs to the entire Notre Dame design community, especially my peers and professors who have provided endless support and guidance,” Rice said. “I am so honored and grateful to receive an award that leads to so many incredible opportunities and to be able to represent the strength of Notre Dame’s design program.”
Rice is especially proud to be part of the first year in which all of the district-level Student Merit Award recipients are women.
“The field of industrial design has always been dominated by men, so it’s exciting to see women emerge as leaders, creative thinkers, builders and designers,” she said.
“Notre Dame’s design program is one of the few in the country where industrial design and visual communications design work hand in hand,” she said. “Visual communication design has taught me to communicate effectively and clearly, while industrial design has helped me develop my problem-solving, problem-framing and technical skills.
“Both emphasize the need for a user-empathetic design approach, which is highly relevant in other areas such as engineering and business. “
“Notre Dame’s design program is one of the few in the country where industrial design and visual communications design go hand in hand. Visual communication design has taught me to communicate effectively and clearly, while industrial design has helped me develop my problem-solving, problem-framing, and technical skills. “
Erin Rice (far right, seated) and her team discuss their proposed Disney Imagineering Imaginations design competition with faculty member Scott Shim.
Rice took this user-centric approach in a collaborative design development course last fall, in which she worked as part of an interdisciplinary team of four students who won second prize in the Walt Disney Design Competition. Imagineering Imaginations.
After graduation, she began working for the Walt Disney Imagineering design team as part of its professional internship program. Disney Imagineers are the originators of the stories, experiences and design of theme parks, resorts, cruises and attractions around the world.
“The collaborative design course I took in the fall directly led me to being hired by Disney,” Rice said. “I’m excited to use my skills as an industrial and visual communications designer there to become a true storyteller. “
Rice completed five design internships during her undergraduate career, including two in London while studying abroad in 2014.
“Notre Dame’s design program constantly provides opportunities to connect with design professionals, and faculty are passionate about the importance of internships,” she said. “The real world experience I have gained has helped me better understand who I want to be and what I want to do.”
As Rice begins her career, she said she will keep the lessons she learned at Notre Dame for the rest of her life.
“Notre Dame really wants every student to harness their passion and use that passion to serve the greater good,” she said. “The University has built a community around the best academic resources, to work in the service of social justice and human solidarity.”
Nowhere is this more true, she said, than in Notre Dame’s design program.
“I felt it during my freshman year of high school when I first visited Notre Dame and met the late Robert Sedlack, who was running the design program at the time,” said Rice. “He became a mentor to me and helped me appreciate design as a means of social impact. His legacy continues to guide students and faculty alike and is very much alive in my work as a designer. “