As soon as you meet Korri Lampedusa, her brilliance is obvious, and she’s devoted her talents to designing for the disabled.
“Because it’s hard to get bored in a project when you really care about the reason you’re doing it, I’ll just put it that way,” Korri said.
A senior at Design and Architecture Senior High, or DASH, Korri is a national finalist for the Presidential Scholar award. Her specialty is wearable technology, gadgets you put on your body, such as computer-infused booties to help kids who have cerebral palsy get through their therapy sessions.
“And based on these algorithms I picked up it could say oh, this child’s improving and it was like a kid’s game, like stepping on lava or ice, different little games kids play, it would mimic all of those in the device so that kids are having fun while they’re actually improving their impairment and working towards a really able life.”
Yes, it’s complicated, but that’s Korri’s thing.
“Designing devices to aid people that live with disabilities or any type of disorder because I noticed that, like, a lot of projects are based on luxury and what people want but I wanted to address more what people need,” Korri said, adding that she’s inspired by a friend who has ADHD and a sister who has a mental disability.
To her classmates, Korri is a star.
“In the senior class, if you don’t know Korri, then you don’t know industrial design because she is the definition,” said Alexander Lopez, one of her classmates.
“She serves as an inspiration for everyone, not just in ID but in architecture and film, just because of her work ethic,” said Fernando Diaz, agreeing with his friend, Alexander.
Korri’s teacher calls her a visionary who has the potential to turn ideas into reality one day.
“These are the kind of people and designers we need in society that make and change the world, and I know that’s a cliché but there are people that can change it, and can produce and make things better for people,” said Kelley Kwiatkowski, a veteran industrial design teacher at DASH.
One of Korri’s goals is to set an example for other young women that they, too, can succeed in the industrial design field.
“I think that women and young girls can be leaders in this industry just as much as men, not just in ID but all the different stem subjects of producing things,” Korri said.
Korri is looking forward to studying industrial design in college, and hoping to turn her sketches into real products. No one at DASH is betting against her.