Katie Schussheim combines scientific understanding with emotional engagement to change lives through design with support of design research and deep empathy.
Katie Schussheim is a curious researcher, passionate empath and philosophical dreamer. With a love for beautiful objects and a tendency to envision the world upside-down when in need of inspiration when she was young, it was clear that she would someday pursue design. Her first true love was fashion and at the age of 14 she attended Drexel University's fashion camp. This experience irrefutably forged her path in design; however, she felt something was missing. It wouldn't be until a tour of DAAP two years later that a faculty member's interpretation of design changed her trajectory. She distinguished the difference between art and design in that art focuses on the expression of self while design focuses on creating for others. This moment is what solidified her future at DAAP and lead to her discovery of industrial design. The mission and dedication to others that product design expressed mirrored her own and transformed a fashion designer into an industrial designer.
Katie's unconventional path into DAAP and industrial design is just another expression of her tendency to take unique and divergent routes in all aspects of life, a fact which was beautifully supported by the design community's encouragement of inquisitive natures. While pursuing an industrial design degree from the University of Cincinnati, Katie searched for the most vivid, creative application of design for changing the world and elevating people's quality of life. In doing so, she has gained professional experience in the fields of consumer health, minimally invasive surgery, themed entertainment design, and glass packaging. Through each experience she found a new and unique lens through which she could analyze and solve problems. Together, these experiences culminated into a more holistic vision of what it means to make a difference in people's lives. The stark difference between designing surgical devices and Disney experiences put into glaring clarity how "life-changing" could mean creating memories that last a lifetime just as much as it could mean medically saving a life. This has shaped her continuing pursuit of education in and application of interaction and experience design as well as systems and communication design. Katie is a confident investigator, collaborative leader, and loves to work with cross-disciplinary teams in order to support her vision of purposeful design.
Looking beyond graduation, Katie seeks continued and diversifying knowledge acquisition in a multi-disciplinary setting where she can thrive through variety. Eager and insatiably inquisitive, she highly values passion, ethics, and courage of conviction in those around her and she hopes to work alongside those who value the same. Currently, Katie's design niche could be defined an intent rather than product category. Beyond all else, seeking insights into user experiences and the process of applying these through design is what make her tick as a designer. As an individual, well, she would love to chat with you anytime about her ever expanding passions. At this moment in particular, she can hardly contain her love of books, science, costume design, and sign language. What the future holds is anyone's guess.