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Julia Beamish to showcase universally designed kitchens at Disability Employment Awareness Month event


   

Julia Beamish, department head and professor of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, oversees the Center for Real Life Kitchen Design in Wallace Hall. Julia Beamish, department head and professor of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, oversees the Center for Real Life Kitchen Design in Wallace Hall.


BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 19, 2012 – Community members are invited to learn more about designing spaces for individuals living with a disability on Oct. 4, in an event that will kick-off National Disability Employment Awareness Month on campus.

Julia O. Beamish, department head and professor of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management will talk with attendees about designing spaces that are aesthetically appealing and usable by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.

The presentation will discuss 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 will present research and design solutions that can be incorporated into homes and work spaces to enhance access, comfort, and function.

The event, which is hosted by the Department of Human Resources' office of University ADA Services, will begin at 9 a.m. in the auditorium in the Fralin Life Science Institute.

“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.”

After Beamish’s presentation, students from the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management will lead tours of the university’s Center for Real Life Kitchen Design in Wallace Hall. Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited and registration is required before Sept. 28.

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.

Individuals with a disability who need assistance or accommodations, should contact University ADA Services at 540-231-4638.

As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech has more than 13,000 full and part-time employees and is the largest employer in Montgomery County, Virginia. The Department of Human Resources is committed to supporting a high quality of work life for staff and faculty located at the main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, as well as those at off-campus educational facilities in six regions, a study-abroad site in Switzerland, and a 1,700-acre agriculture research farm near the main campus.