Industrial Design Student wins IDSA 2015 Southern District Student Merit Award

Industrial Design Student wins IDSA 2015 Southern District Student Merit Award

Rachel Lopdrup, a senior in industrial design from Winter Park, Florida, won the 2015 Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Southern District Merit Award. Selected by a group of design professionals at Auburn, Lopdrup represented the School of Industrial and Graphic Design as the Auburn merit representative at the IDSA District Conference in Orlando, Florida, on March 27, 2015.

Lopdrup competed with students from seven other design schools within the southern district. North Carolina State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia Tech, Appalachian State University, Virginia Tech, University of Houston, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, each sent their best senior to the conference to compete for the coveted title of Southern District Student Merit Award Winner.

Five industrial design professionals judged the competition on the following criteria: Portfolio presentation, professional attributes, quality of work, and environmental consciousness. Faculty members from the other schools and the judges congratulated Lopdrup and commented on her professionalism and her extremely thorough level of design research.

From building a gumball machine from whatever she could find around the house as a child, Lopdrup has always known that she wanted to make things. Her success at making things as a student is reflected in the multiple honors that she has received as industrial design undergraduate: Most Innovative Student, Most Outstanding Undergraduate for Industrial Design, and now the IDSA Southern District Merit Award.

“The Southern District Conference had absolutely incredible work from all students. I was genuinely in shock when I heard I had won, but I certainly attribute it to the training I’ve received, particularly in design research,” Lopdrup says. “Through studio professors like Shea Tillman, Randy Bartlett, and Chris Arnold, I’ve learned that intensive research finds areas of unmet needs and drives innovation. When we do projects, we aren’t just googling things; we’re out watching people to find their pain points, bringing in products to study how to improve them, interviewing people such as lead nurses in hospitals to redefine healthcare; when a client asks us to design a product for them, we dive deep into the problem to find what people really need, and design a desirable product for their market and for their manufacturing capabilities. Many people are surprised that, as a senior, I have 15 concepts that have gone from sketch to manufacturing, and several can be seen today in catalogues. Yet that’s because our training has shaped us into designers who can dive deep into any problem, gain empathy for the user’s needs, and figure out how to create a smart and desirable solution that can actually be brought to market.”

As the IDSA Southern District Merit Award recipient and now the district representative, Lopdrup’s work will be displayed at the 2015 IDSA International Conference and Education Symposium this August in Seattle. In addition, IDSA student Merit Award representatives from the West, Midwest, Northeast and Central districts will be displaying their work. To see Lopdrup’s online portfolio, click here.