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RISD announces inaugural Maharam STEAM Fellowships recipients
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Artists and designers will have six funded internships at governmental and non-profit organizations, including NPR Science, Mayo Clinic, City of Providence, National Defense University, and GlobeMed, 
revealing the critical role of artists and designers in innovation.

Six students from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) have been awarded the Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design. In recognition of RISD’s commitment to revealing the impact that artists and designers can have on a broad range of fields, the New York-based textile company Maharam has generously funded these fellowship opportunities for RISD students for the coming five years, beginning Summer 2012.

The Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design provides stipends of up to 5000 USD each for select internships with a government agency or nonprofit organization. The accepted proposals, submitted in early 2012, were each uniquely designed by students to focus on highlighting and strengthening the role of visually acute critical thinkers and problem solvers in helping to improve public policy and tackle large social issues.

Maharam is supporting this new fellowship program because, like RISD, they believe in the economic progress and breakthrough innovation that comes from the combination of art and design with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)—that STEM + Art = STEAM. Both believe that long-term societal embrace of the arts and design will create a future that is both culturally and economically vibrant.

The 2012 recipients of the Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design are:

Ayodhya Ouditt, RISD 2013 Industrial Design: NPR Science.
Olivia Foss, RISD 2012 Masters’ Industrial Design: National Defense University, STAR-TIDES.
Giles Holt, RISD 2014 Architecture: City of Providence.
Joseph Escobar, RISD 2013 Industrial Design: City of Providence.
Samantha Dempsey, RISD 2013 Illustration: Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation.
Andreas Nicholas, RISD 2013 Film, Animation and Video: GlobeMed.

Learn more about the fellows’ internships and follow their experiences here.

These students are entering arenas rarely seen by art and design students, and have the opportunity to effect real change in policy and practice in local and global organizations and communities. As part of the program, fellows will blog about their experiences throughout the summer and will make a final report to Maharam about the value of their internships and learned outcomes.

“Maharam believes that creativity demonstrated through the arts and design will play an increasingly critical role in America’s ongoing efforts to remain a dominant global force through both culture and commerce, and that, given the realities of available funding and the politics associated with it, private sector participation in fostering this infusion is vital,” says Michael Maharam, the company’s CEO.

“This is a fantastic and rare opportunity for art and design students to bring their creative talents to problem-solving on a broader scale as critical thinkers and makers, thanks to Maharam,” notes Greg Victory, director of RISD’s Career Center. “By designing their own internships, students will be able to pursue the areas that interest them most as they explore the ways art and design thinking can impact real-world problems.”

The RISD/Maharam partnership supports the college’s broader STEM to STEAM initiative, which emphasizes the importance of adding Art to a national agenda focused on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Under the leadership of President John Maeda, RISD has launched a series of partnerships and collaborations designed to champion the role of artists and designers in global innovation.

“This Fellowship program provides students an opportunity to make an impact where our country needs it the most. Michael Maharam is a visionary of textiles but also of the transformation of our culture. His unusual ability to not just spot trends but create them is exemplified by his support of this program,” says Maeda.

Contact:
Jaime Marland: T 401 427 6954 / [email protected]

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June 21, 2012