One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Sarah Mummert, Student Public Relations Writer

Equipping students for success is a goal of Cedarville University’s industrial and innovative design (IID) program. As the only program of its kind at any private Christian university in the nation, Cedarville’s IID program gives students the opportunity to benefit from senior capstone projects with national brands, including Chick-fil-A and Answers in Genesis. 

Since the program began in 2010, IID students have partnered with organizations in real-life projects that enhance the students’ learning and benefit a national business. 

ICC CapstonesThis year, Chick-fil-A sought insight from students on a project that was assigned to Abby Ryan (Canton, Ohio) and Nathan Gobrogge (Oxford, Michigan). They analyzed and redesigned aspects of Chick-fil-A's catering experience to give the customers and team members the best experience possible, true to the Chick-fil-A standard. In February, Chick-fil-A hosted Ryan and Gobrogge at their Support Center in Atlanta, Georgia, for a day of meetings with the designers and engineers working in the departments concerning their project. Due to a non-disclosure agreement, they are limited in what details they can share. Representatives from Chick-fil-A corporate attended the restricted presentation of this capstone project in Columbus at the end of April, with Ryan and Gobrogge presenting a second time at the Atlanta Support Center in May. 

Meanwhile, Answers in Genesis — a recent partner with the IID program — partnered with Cassie Cunningham (Birmingham, Alabama) to design a way to meet the diverse needs of parents of young children, individuals with limited mobility and children with sensory needs at its Creation Museum in Kentucky. Still conceptual at present but a potential future reality, Cunningham’s design, “the Meadows Family Care Center,” features four rooms: the main room, a calming room, a nursing mother’s room and a family care restroom. 

“I have put major emphasis on taking cues from God’s creation in my designs because nature and natural design has been proven to reduce stress, strengthen cognitive functions, improve mood and wellbeing and even expedite healing,” Cunningham said. “I wanted to balance biophilic design (nature in architecture) with cleanliness and safety because those are some of parents’ primary concerns.” 

A second project with Answers in Genesis features Tim Comstock (Marysville, Ohio) and his work on the Ark Encounter’s admissions process. The current confusing but temporary building and process led Comstock on a quest to design a new admissions building, design a masterplan for a new, more efficient parking lot layout, and alter the bus path to better integrate with the admissions building and make the process easier and faster for both the staff and guests. As future buildings will feature the architectural style of the old Phoenician port city of Tangier, Morocco, Comstock incorporated this style in his design. 

“The primary focus of this project was to create a fresh concept so that Answers in Genesis could have a unique but thought-out direction that could inform their design process and future decisions,” Comstock said. “At the very least, in a few years I’ll be able to know exactly what parts of my senior capstone made it into a park that hundreds and hundreds of people experience every day.” 

The three-month capstone projects culminated with seniors presenting their work to representatives of Chick-fil-A and Answers in Genesis April 29 and 30. 

Cedarville’s industrial and innovative design program is offered in partnership with the International Center for Creativity (ICC), an independent design studio with innovative education programs. A tenet of the ICC is experiential learning, leading to frequent partnerships with outside companies. 

The ICC has partnered with Chick-fil-A eight times for senior projects, creating a great relationship that leads to internships and job positions for ICC students with the fast-food giant. 

Answers in Genesis is a new partnership for the ICC, established this year by The Graduate School at Cedarville University. The head of industrial design at Answers in Genesis requested a partnership with Cedarville’s program, leading to the capstone partnerships this year. 

“Our students work hard and provide our partners with solid solutions,” said Jim Stevenson, program director for the industrial and innovative design major and president of the ICC. “It’s humbling for them to realize they’re engaging in real-world problem solving.” 


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