Bethany
VanOeffelen
Excellence Award Winner
Industrial Design
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Industrial Design builds a better world with meaningful solutions that address human needs and improve the quality of life.

Industrial design challenges us to explore human behavior in relation to products and use design thinking to critically analyze the user experience. Through growing my creative practice I have come to understand that design is about us, people, humans. By designing products we have the ability to improve the human experience. Product design can be anything from a useful gadget to a lifesaving device and everything in between, and that is why I love what I do. My process is very user oriented, from the first stages I want to understand how a problem is currently solved and evaluate what could make it better. I truly enjoy the research phase as much as the actual designing because research and understanding help push the design forward and mold it into something that meets the needs while still encapsulating good design in every sense.

What is your most memorable

experience at KCAD?

My most memorable experience has to be the semester I volunteered with Art Link’s Site Studio: Children Designing for Children, which incorporates industrial design and design thinking. Along with a KCAD Industrial Design professor and others student volunteers I had the privilege of mentoring a group of middle school girls at the Grand Rapids Public Southwest Community Campus, to help teach them about the design process. Together they designed an adaptive piece of furniture for the Children’s Healing Center and I helped guide them and was able to put their design into 3D. I rendered images, put together a poster, and made a 3D print model for them to present their idea to a panel of judges. I will always remember the looks on their faces when I showed them the model and poster, they were so excited to see their idea come to life, and they won second place out of all the teams! This experience made me realize how passionate I am about design and making those ideas come to life.

What are your most

notable accomplishments?

To start, keeping a spot on the President's list and a consistently high GPA during my time at KCAD has been a big accomplishment that I worked incredibly hard for. I also received the Joe Withers Endowed Scholarship my senior year. I completed a year-long internship with Spectrum Health Innovations and Grand Valley State University which was an amazing experience, that was both challenging and rewarding, where I was able to get real experience working with an interdisciplinary team on real world problems. And lastly my internship at 2B Studio during my last semester, which I couldn't have gotten without the recommendation of a great professor.