App State Interior Design program awarded $83,000 Grant for [S4] Student Learning Labs

By: Morgan Lampman

BOONE, N.C.--The Appalachian State University Interior Design program was awarded an $83K grant from the Angelo Donghia Foundation to fund a series of four interrelated labs known as [S4] Labs. The labs are projected to be demonstrated to students and integrated into course projects as early as the fall semester of 2022. This grant will provide interior design majors with “hands-on, problem-based learning experiences using leading industry technologies” and will promote the direct application and understanding of materials, color, and lighting design in about half, or 10 out of 22, of the interior design courses required by Appalachian State University’s Interior Design program.

S4 Labs

The Angelo Donghia Foundation was founded in 2001 in honor of the late American designer Angelo R. Donghia and has provided scholarships to deserving students pursuing degrees in interior design and grants to interior design programs.

The grant proposal was prepared by Chelsea Helms, assistant professor in interior design; Brian F. Davies, chairperson, Department of Applied Design; Jeanne Mercer-Ballard, associate professor in interior design; and Dr. Fabio Andres Tellez, assistant professor in applied design. Mercer-Ballard, who instructs some of the courses that will be impacted by the grant, says the award will provide more opportunities for students by creating new labs and improving existing labs: 

“This grant will help us update and greatly augment existing infrastructure, in particular related to lighting design and materials and finishes, and new AR/VR technology, which are very important areas of interior design education. The revamped and new labs will increase our student's ability to learn visually and hands-on, which is so helpful to design students and their learning styles,” said Mercer-Ballard. “Our former demonstration teaching lighting lab was only about half LED sources and the grant will allow us to revamp this lab to parallel the technology changes of the profession. I can't wait to see what our students and alumni do as a result of the opportunities that the Donghia foundation has enabled for our program.”

Shown below are three App State interior design students (seniors Chloe Wiles, Isaac Wood, and Diana Ternanni) testing out VR equipment that was purchased through the Donghia foundation grant and exploring virtual spaces.


VR 2

VR 3

Appalachian State senior interior design student tests a VR set to wander through virtual spaces.
Published: Apr 12, 2022 2:33pm