Undergraduate Industrial Design students Hafsa Malik Rhanime, Hohsuan (HH) Hsueh, and Michael Watanabe, along with graduate architecture student Dhawal Jain, have received honors in the 2017 Core77 Design Awards program for Bequest, an internet-based service that connects young people interested in travel, service, and apprenticeship with elderly people craving companionship and support. The students' work received a "Student Notable Award" in the "Interaction" category, as well as the "Community Choice Prize."

The student team created Bequest in the Senior Living Studio, led by industrial design faculty members Brook Kennedy and Bill Green, along with architecture faculty member Nathan King and retired IBM industrial designer and guest instructor Loring Bixler. The Senior Living Studio is sponsored by SFCS Architects, a Roanoke-based architectural firm which specializes in senior living, higher education, and civic/public spaces. Local senior living community Warm Hearth Village also plays a critical role in the students' research and learning.

In November, team member Hafsa Malik Rhanime and Prof. Brook Kennedy were invited to travel and represent the team at the Global Grad Show during Dubai Design Week, an annual forum that showcases 100 of the most innovative university designs under one roof for an audience of global designers and financial backers.

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