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National Disability Employee Awareness Month Event 2012



images (3)Universally designed kitchens showcased on Oct. 4

Julia O. Beamish, department head and professor of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management spoke with attendees at the 2012 National Disability Employee Awareness Month event this October about designing spaces that are aesthetically appealing and usable by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.

The presentation discussed the seven major components of universal design and what they mean in practice.  The principles of universal design offer guidelines for making the spaces and products we use every day more convenient and useable for everyone. The program presented research and design solutions that can be incorporated into homes and work spaces to enhance access, comfort, and function.

“These kitchens are truly one-of-a-kind. Our students learn about designing these types of residential spaces by working with a variety of layouts and products, said Beamish. “It’s experiential learning at its best, and it’s part of what makes our program at Virginia Tech so innovative.”

Center for Real Life Kitchen Design Tour

After Beamish’s presentation, students from the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management led tours of the university’s Center for Real Life Kitchen Design in Wallace Hall.

About Julia Beamish

Beamish is nationally recognized for her expertise in the areas of housing and aging and universal design. She has conducted research funded by the Andrus Foundation, the Agricultural Experiment Station, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on assisted living facilities, ECHO housing, retirement housing, and acceptance of alternative housing among older adults. She has been involved in universal design education since the early 1990s and regularly teaches a class in universal design.

Beamish has written book chapters, refereed industry-related articles, and made numerous presentations to professional audiences on this topic. She received her Ph.D. from Virginia Tech, her master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University.

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