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Three Virginia Tech housing design students at top of national competition


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 13, 2011 – Innovative kitchen designs by three Virginia Tech apparel, housing, and resource management students landed them in the top 10 out of 401 college and university competitors in the national National Kitchen and Bath Association/General Electric (NKBA/GE) Charette Competition.

Based on the students’ design drawings, faculty from the Department of Apparel, Housing and Resource Management chose Katelyn Shipe of Staunton, Va., Kevin Fields of Callaway, Va.,and Alexandra Van Nuys of Leesburg, Va., to represent Virginia Tech at the competition held in San Francisco and Hackettstown, N.J., this spring.

Shipe, a senior, was awarded second place and a $4,000 Scholarship. Van Nuys, also a senior, and Fields, a junior, were each in the top 10 and received $1,000 scholarships.

“To have all three of our students make it to the semi-finals in the national contest and then all of them selected as the top 10 out of the 80 semi-finalists is a tremendous recognition of their talent,” said Kathleen Parrott, professor of apparel, housing, and resource management in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

The competition, which is sponsored by the NKBA and General Electric Company, requires that within three hours, each student design a kitchen that meets the needs of a family that has requested a kitchen renovation. Each competitor was required to submit a floor plan with specification, an elevation of the design and a design statement. They also were required to incorporate GE appliances into the plan.

Shipe said that her placing in the competition made her appreciate all the hard work during her four years at Virginia Tech. “Just finding out I was in the top 10 was a great feeling,” she recounted. “I believe my design used the available space efficiently because of its functionality, aesthetic appear, and ease of use.”

For Van Nuys it was a confirmation that she chose the right major, she says. “I have a great passion for designing kitchens and baths, so to be recognized for my design means the world to me,” she said. “I believe that I incorporated as many of the clients’ wants and needs as possible in the three hours and it set my design apart from others.”

Fields said that the NKBA recognition that he had a good design really let him know that he is on his “way to becoming a successful designer.”

“The peninsula with the white granite countertop was the highlight of my design,” Fields said. “It was very aesthetic and functional.”

For the past three years, at least one Virginia Tech student has placed in the top 10 national winners for the NKBA/GE competition but this is the first time that all three have been in the top 10. Virginia Tech was the only school of 29 colleges and universities competing that had all of their semi-finals chosen in the top group.

The NKBA is a 45-year-old non-profit trade organization devoted to the education and leadership in the kitchen and bath industry.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech includes programs in the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college seeks to illuminate human experience and expression by creating works of lasting scholarly, cultural, and aesthetic value; empower individuals to engage critically with the complexities of a diverse, global society; and foster the inquiry, innovation, and growth that produce individual and social transformation.