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UC Student Wins IDSA District Competition, Will Next Travel to National Contest

UC senior Emmanuel Carrillo recently won the Industrial Designers Society of America’s student merit district contest, an event judged by professional designers. Next, he will represent UC as IDSA’s national student merit competition in Boston.

Date: 6/7/2012
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Emmanuel Carrillo

The design projects he’s completed and his education in the University of Cincinnati’s nationally number-one ranked industrial design program recently helped senior Emmanuel Carrillo win the Industrial Designers Society of America’s student merit district competition in Detroit.

And because he won that regional contest in which he competed with students from six other design programs, Carrillo, 23, of Dallas, Texas, will next travel to Boston in August where he will compete at the IDSA national contest.

These student competitions during the IDSA regional and national conferences provide an opportunity for design students across the country to have their work judged by professional designers.

Explains Carrillo, “It’s a chance for the top design students to show their work, show what they’ve learned and even show how life experiences of all kinds have shaped their work as designers.”

In the March IDSA contest in Detroit, Carrillo showed three projects he’s completed as a UC student:
Prototype Rubik’s Cube in the shape of a bear, a toy for a child of 2-4 years of age.
Emmanuel Carrillo's prototype design for a Rubik’s Cube in the shape of a bear, a toy for a child of 2-4 years of age.


  • A prototype Rubik’s Cube in the shape of a bear, a toy for a child of 2-4 years of age.
  • Hand-made lifestyle shoes.
  • A chair project he designed and built, inspired, in terms of materials and form, by his prosthetic arm.
When he travels to Boston for the national IDSA student merit contest, Carrillo figures to add one more project to the list of those he will show – his senior design project: a rock-climbing prosthetic.

“And while it is a prosthetic for my right arm, I think of it more as a rock-climbing tool,” says Carrillo. “That’s because I don’t feel the need to replace my arm or a part of who I am. I work all the time without my prosthetic, so the senior project is, for me, just a tool that will help me rock climb, maybe make me even a little super human.”

As with other projects he’s designed in UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), Carrillo has created a working prototype of his rock-climbing tool, and he frequently went to UC’s rock-climbing wall for user testing.

Overall, the chance to describe and show his work to IDSA professionals is a confidence booster and, he admits, a chance to highlight his work, to network and to hone his presentation skills.
Lifestyle shoe design by UC
Lifestyle shoe design by UC's Emmanuel Carrillo.



DAAP is well known for its regular critiques of student work, and, generally, Carrillo presents his work at those crits without having rehearsed. However, in this case of the IDSA presentation in Detroit, he prepared and rehearsed over Spring Break and will do so again this summer for the upcoming opportunity in Boston.

“That’s one thing I’ve learned in this process – the power of presentation, of rehearsal. In advance of the IDSA regional contest, I probably rehearsed 15 to 20 times, recorded myself, got feedback from fellow students until I was really sure of how I wanted to describe the design process, the research and the end results,” he states.

He’ll do the same before heading to Boston, and he hopes the end result will be yet another win.