Industrial design student collaborates with Access Health Africa

Design was always something junior Emma Wingerd was interested in, but it wasn’t until visiting Appalachian did she know that industrial design was the path for her.

“I love how broad the field of industrial design is both in craft and in subject — with a degree in industrial design, I can be prepared to draw concept sketches of scooters, build a table from scratch or design a new toy on the computer and 3D print it,” Wingerd explained.

The Cary native experienced just how much variance there can be in industrial design through AppLab, a multi-disciplinary class that focuses on developing sustainable solutions to complex, real-world problems.

There, she worked with Access Health Africa for the first time.

"Access Health Africa is a non-profit medical service that improves access to quality health services, education and resources in Malawi,” Wingerd said. 

She first worked on a design with a group for a mobile medical service for people who live in rural areas in Malawi and may not have easy access to health care. 

They provide services such as surgeries, training Malawi health professionals and empowering children with HIV/AIDS through programming. They are based in Boone.

During this project, she produced illustrations that would be used in the mobile medical service. According to Wingerd, the illustrations were designed to help the audience of her project “empathize with the target users” of the service.

The liaison from Access Health Africa then contacted her after the semester ended, eager to work with her again.

Wingerd created the illustrations for a CPR poster, excited for the chance to help others. 

Volunteers then helped her translate the text into the native language of the people.

Her CPR poster was used to train over 148 different people in two rural health centers.

“I was inspired to see how Access Health Africa is working to combat problems, and jumped at the chance to help them make a difference in the lives of those who live in rural Malawi,” Wingerd said. “My hope is that these posters will help preserve the education that Access Health Africa provides and ultimately save lives.”

by Caroline Lubinsky

About the Department of Applied Design 

One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department Applied Designat Appalachian State University fosters excellence in design education, design research and professional placement. The department balances theoretical and pragmatic approaches while exploring an awareness of impact through design decisions on the global community. Faculty focus on a holistic approach to creative problem-solving by integrating sustainability and ethical responsibility in teaching and practice. The department offers bachelor’s degrees in apparel design and merchandising, industrial design and interior design. 

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Emma Wingerd's poster is used to teach students in Malawi during summer 2018. Photo submitted
Published: Oct 4, 2018 10:41am