Global Impact

There are countless demonstrations of the College of Art and Design’s commitment to providing students with international opportunities that unlock unique networking and research opportunities. The abroad experiences are key to facilitating career success.

Presenting Research

Fulbright visiting scholar Andrea Gonzalez Esteche and Assistant Professor Melissa Dawson presenting their research at a conference in Bogota Colombia.

Fulbright visiting scholar Andrea Gonzalez Esteche ’19 MFA (Industrial Design) worked with Assistant Professor Melissa Dawson to further develop her thesis research after graduation. Gonzalez’s research focused on improving the quality of artisan products, specifically textiles, in her native Paraguay through industrial design knowledge and strategies. She decided to address the problem after noticing a lack of imagination in the country’s artisan products.

Gonzalez and Dawson presented their research, titled “Abracemos lo Nuestro: Encouraging New Ideation with Traditional Paraguayan Textiles,” at the Cumulus: “The Design After” conference in Bogota, Colombia. The two worked together to advance the research and write a paper published in the conference proceedings.

Objectives of the project include discovering new uses for traditional textiles, updating their application and better addressing user needs and contemporary desires. Partnering with the Paraguayan Institute of Artisans (IPA), Gonzalez and Dawson aim to provide the organization with new innovations and techniques artisans can apply to their craft

World Tour

A photo of a sparsely populated street in winter, cast in a green light, taken by Alexandra Gataeva.

As a student, Alexandra Gataeva ’20 (Fine Art Photography) exhibited her work in museums, galleries and art centers around the world. 

One summer, Gataeva was featured in an online exhibit at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Ore. and in physical shows at Blank Wall Gallery in Athens, Greece; Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts; Praxis Photo Arts Center in Minneapolis, Minn.; and Midwest Center for Photography in Wichita, Kan. Each had different pieces, showcasing Gataeva’s wide body of work. 

“I have the freedom to express myself and ideas or issues. I use photography in an intuitive and also a conceptual way,” Gataeva said. “Photography is something I’m passionate about because of all of the technology involved in it and the industry is constantly evolving.”

Gataeva began entering her photography in exhibition calls for entry focused on instant film photography, monochromatic photography, earth elements, landscape and architecture — all elements and mediums she prefers, based on her travels to vast, isolated locations.

Maker Faire Dubai

Frank Barletta and Hannah Giancola at the Maker Faire in Dubai.

Frank Barletta '19 (Industrial Design) and Hannah Giancola '19 (Industrial Design) presented projects that address hygiene issues in rural Uganda at the 2019 Maker Faire Dubai as part of an RIT Global International Research program.

They showcased two group projects that resulted from the Industrial Design program’s annual T-Minus workshop. The one-week event challenges student teams to complete a sponsored project based on a design problem. For the 2019 iteration, the program partnered with Ugandan Water Project to develop improved solutions for the non-profit organization’s mission of providing water, sanitation and hygiene resources to communities in Uganda.

Barletta presented his team’s “Portable Latrine Shelf” design, a wallet-sized carrying pouch for feminine hygiene products that can unfold into a shelf. Giancola showcased her group’s “SinkStep,” a system that intuitively encourages hand-washing in medical clinics to reduce high contamination rates.

Research Trip

Alexa Boyd, Hannah Lutz, Boris Shirman, and Victoria Tripp posing for a photo in green scrubs.

In support of an RIT initiative creating awareness and innovative design solutions to improve medical care in Honduras, students from various disciplines engaged in a research trip to the Central American country. Their work furthered projects connected to RIT Hope for Honduras, led by Mary Golden, undergraduate program director of Interior Design. Students toured Honduras’ largest public hospital, Hospital Escuela, spoke with doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers, and shadowed in the neonatal intensive care unit, observing the conditions and context surrounding their respective assignments. 

The students on the trip were Alexa Boyd (Interior Design), Hannah Lutz (Industrial Design), Boris Shirman (Photojournalism) and Victoria Tripp (Mechanical Engineering).