Editor’s note: Lydia Davison is a participant in the PLP project this year. Each year the PLP students spend a half day with departments to shadow their work. Lydia chose to shadow the public information department. We tried to match their assignments with their interests and our daily work. Here is a small recap of what Lydia did during her short stay in our office.
Lydia Davison – Public Information Design Project
I am attending the University of Washington as a sophomore this upcoming fall and as of right now my plan is to major in Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE). The purpose of HCDE is to design and invent products that allow human’s lives to be more effective and efficient. My purpose behind entering into this major is to combine my passion for helping people with my love for problem solving and flexibility. Since the usefulness of everyday items is under the umbrella of my major Jennifer asked Bo and me to go out into the community and find an object that was making lives run smoothly and had been redesigned to satisfy a specific purpose. Together we found three objects and I was fortunate enough to have Bo’s wealth of knowledge about photography to assist me in taking several photos.
The first object we pursued were the solar panels on top of the elder houses at Father Murphy’s. Solar panels are a product of the “green” revolution. They are built to use a natural resource, sunlight, which does not cost any money to produce electricity in order to build cheaper and affordable homes. In areas that receive a particularly large amount of sunlight it is especially useful, because it allows for the community to receive inexpensive electricity. However, in some cases there is a flaw in the placement of solar panels. First, areas that do not receive a large amount of sunlight would not use solar panels as efficiently as areas that are blinded by the sun a majority of the year. Second, the direction of the solar panels on buildings is particularly important; because that can determine how much sun a solar panel receives regardless of the amount of sunlight an area receives a year.
The second object we discovered was a corn field near the pecan farm and Firelake golf course. This spot was chosen due to the corn that is growing on the property. There is a controversy that is taking place due to genetically modified food. Originally, corn and other foods were genetically changed to create traits that would make it resistant to pests; however this engineering raised issues about the impact on insects as well as other plants. Ideally, a product would be created that would only target certain types of pests rather than targeting all insects, so as to preserve the ecosystem. Another possible solution would be to control the spray that is put on non-genetically modified corn that would be resistant to those insects that prey on corn, without affecting the rest of the circle of life.
Our last object we visited was the Iron Horse Bridge. The Iron Horse Bridge will be used to carry products from the Iron Horse Industrial park all over the world. Through this more jobs will be created for the community which will stimulate the economy as well as provide CPN with recognition in the business world. The only design aspect of the bridge that could possibly be improved upon would be to insure that all aspects of the bridge were functioning correctly in order to serve its purpose of carrying train cars across the water and towards their destination, so that products can be distributed. The bridge itself does not need to be redesigned, but rather maintained.