Emily VanderMey '20 Wins IxDA Student Design Charette Competition with Teammates Alumni Profile
Meet Emily VanderMey
- Job Title & Employer
- Graduate Student, California College of the Arts
- Information Technology
- College Activities
- Campus Activities Board, Information Technology Student Organization, Phi Beta Lambda
- Presidential, ThanksUSA, iHeartMedia
- Elizabethtown, Pa.
- High School
- Elizabethtown Area High School
- Now Living In
- San Francisco, Calif.
- Dream Job
- Designer for a plant-based meat company like Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods
"Point Park’s multimedia program was my first choice because of its location in the city, small size and multidisciplinary approach. Being able to take classes in journalism, writing, design, web, video and photography helped me find what I liked — and what I didn’t."
You are part of a team who won the IxDA Student Design Charette 2021 competition. Tell us about this international competition and your role on the team.
The IxDA Student Design Charette is traditionally a three-day competition that takes place at the annual IxDA conference, but because of the pandemic, the competition was held remotely and extended to two months. From the applicants, they chose 10 finalists and split them into three teams; my team was Samantha Tung from Loughborough University in London, Liz Wang from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and myself.
I took over the majority of the visual design and animation responsibilities, while Sam did 3D rendering and Liz focused on research. We all split research, user interviews/testing and presentation tasks. We addressed this year’s prompt: How might we achieve greater collective well-being through the power of our individual data?
My team chose to focus on the negative health effects of air pollution, and although there are already many companies whose mission is to democratize air quality data, we discovered that the construction industry is still lagging behind in modern air quality standards and monitoring technologies. After talking to several construction workers and air quality experts, we developed our final concept, PulseAir, which is a system that uses hard-hat-mounted sensors to collect individual air quality data. This data can be used to provide health impacts to workers, diagnostics to companies, lifestyle recommendations to surrounding communities and enforcement tools to policymakers.
Video: PulseAir Presentation (begins at 11:29)
How did your college education and experience prepare you for graduate school?
Before Point Park, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do — all I knew is that I wanted to be in a creative field. Having an opportunity to take classes in different fields, work with several organizations in Downtown Pittsburgh, and participate in competitions with classmates helped me discover my love for research, design and technology.
Why did you choose Point Park’s B.A. in multimedia program?
Point Park’s multimedia program was my first choice because of its location in the city, small size and multidisciplinary approach. Being able to take classes in journalism, writing, design, web, video and photography helped me find what I liked — and what I didn’t.
What are some of your favorite experiences as a Point Park student?
I didn’t realize that Point Park was known for its Conservatory of Performing Arts until I arrived, and at first, I was intimidated by the many extroverted, talented artists I shared classes with. Despite this, most of my strongest friendships were built with students in dance, acting and cinema. Some of my most memorable experiences took place watching performances and exploring Pittsburgh’s art scene.
Why would you recommend Point Park’s School of Communication to a prospective student?
Point Park is at the center of everything. There is never a shortage of internships, volunteer opportunities and career events. Every professor I had was incredibly kind and generous, whether they were meeting with me outside of class to give me guidance, referring me to potential clients or giving support as I was applying to grad programs.
What are your career goals?
During my first two semesters at grad school, I’ve become interested in the intersection between climate change and industrialized animal agriculture, two problems that are closely interlinked. After graduation, I want to use my research and design skills to develop solutions for sustainable companies in either regenerative agriculture or plant-based meat production.