The Beauty of Design Thinking

Diana (2)
Diana Scates

The Beauty of Design Thinking

Diana Scates is working towards her MFA in Design Thinking and will be graduating in the summer of 2017. Her department nominated her as Radford University's April 2017 Featured Graduate Student of the Month.

Diana is originally from Brazil and moved to Orlando, Florida in 1999 with some of her family members. Diana completed her undergraduate degree while living in Brazil and owned a commercial business there before moving to the United States. After moving to Florida, Diana began working for a large company called Freeman in Orlando that designs, builds, fabricates, and produces tradeshows at convention spaces. In June of 2015 Diana attended an American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) conference in Chicago and at that time she was searching around for a master’s degree program to enroll in. While at the conference, Diana met Dr. Holly Cline, the Chair of the Radford University Department of Design, who told her about the Design Thinking program at Radford. Design Thinking was on her list of potential master’s degree programs, and after speaking with Dr. Cline about the program, she enrolled to begin classes that August. The Design Thinking program is 100% online, which meant Diana could stay in Orlando while completing her degree. “I was concerned at first about it being all online”, Diana stated. “I enjoy interactions with others, however, I was surprised after beginning how much the faculty was concerned and cared about me and I didn’t feel a long way away.” Diana is still working at Freeman while also attending school full time. According to one of Diana’s professors Dr. Dickinson, “While maintaining her job, she somehow manages to submit work that is superlative – superlative in ways that exceed expectations even for graduate work.”

Diana explained that Design Thinking is like an MBA for a businessperson, where the designer is going to find solutions to a pressing problem. “The beauty of Design Thinking is that is doesn't have one specific industry to apply to. You can apply it to any industry, such as business, health care, design, and engineering, and find where you fit.” She stated she can use her abilities to be a designer in many areas and has enjoyed the ways Radford has equipped her to do so. Diana said her time at Radford has been great and one of her most memorable experiences while getting her degree occurred last spring semester. Diana worked the entire semester on projects with two other students from Ohio and Virginia. They worked on an online platform, Stormboard, where they were able to communicate live, which made it feel like they were working together in the classroom. She stated it was a unique experience and academic project to be a part of through an online degree. Diana is currently working diligently on her thesis that is examining virtual reality for cancer patients to reduce stress from chemotherapy and she hopes that this will turn into a project or get implemented. Dr. Dickinson stated, “Diana has raised the bar in our program. Students with whom she interacts see the levels of excellence that they need to reach. She serves as a role model in our program.”

Diana wanted to encourage future Design Thinking students to have your mind open to see the possibilities everywhere and in everything. There are lots of possibilities that can be implemented through Design Thinking. “I love Design Thinking; I know I’m biased. As a Christian woman, I feel blessed with the opportunity that God gave me to do my master’s degree right now because it was a dream that I had for quite a while.”

Apr 4, 2017
Allie Woodrum