BS, Cornell University; MS, Philadelphia University
Melissa Dawson is an Associate Professor of Industrial Design at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY USA, who earned a BS in Textiles & Apparel at Cornell University and a MS in Textile Design at Philadelphia University. Melissa has spent both her professional design and academic careers espousing the technological complexities of successful soft product design. Over the last several years, Melissa has used her experience to successfully integrate formal soft goods product design courses into RIT’s internationally-ranked Industrial Design undergraduate and graduate programs through the creation of RIT Soft Studio. Melissa’s scholarship interests include RIT Soft Studio’s Abracemos lo Nuestro Project, which empowers traditional Paraguayan textile artisans with design strategies to encourage innovation in new product applications. Melissa is currently on the Fulbright Specialist roster and working on her PhD in Textile Science & Engineering.
Fulbright Specialist Program
In the News
May 11, 2023
Vignelli-inspired regalia to debut at commencement
Associate professor Melissa Dawson and Clare Maxwell '23 (industrial design) designed a cap and gown using fabric from the Vignelli archives for Josh Owen, director of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies, to wear at commencement.
March 10, 2023
Students benefit from interdisciplinary work during Emerging Creatives Student Summit
Students across the country, including four from RIT, came together last weekend to explore the question ‘what do we want our future to look like?’ during the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) Emerging Creatives Student Summit.
December 6, 2021
Vignelli Center's 'Beyond Fashion' event unites RIT and community designers
RIT and local designers partnered to create garments and wearables inspired by the Vignelli Center archives for display during a first-of-its-kind fashion show on Dec. 10. The event is open to the public.
2021 ID MFA Graduate Studio II: Play with Purpose
2nd year MFA Industrial Design Students
Each graduating MFA student was responsible for designing a collection of educational toys appropriate for children between the ages of birth and 8 years. Product aesthetics were defined by and...
2021 Senior Soft Studio II: National Parks
Senior Industrial Design Students
Each student designed soft goods product based on inspiration gathered from a chosen US National Park. Identifying a key observation from selected artifacts found within the Vignelli Center for Design...
Explorations in Wet Felting
Three-dimensional wet-felted pieces made from merino, silk chiffon, and silk throwsters waste. Exhibited in 2019 CAD Faculty Exhibition, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York USA.