Three faculty members in the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management at Virginia Tech have won a national award for their research, outreach, and teaching achievements.

At its annual meeting in Tulsa, Okla., the Housing Education and Research Association presented its Housing Impact Award to professors Julia Beamish and Kathleen Parrott, and JoAnn Emmel, associate professor emeritus. HERA, the professional association of housing researchers, educators, and extension professionals, recognized the three for accomplishments including recent publication of the second edition of their books “Kitchen Planning: Codes, Standards, and Guidelines” and “Bath Planning: Codes, Standards, and Guidelines.”

Beamish, Parrott, and Emmel were instrumental in founding the university’s Center for Real Life Kitchen Design, which opened in 1998 in collaboration with the kitchen industry. The first of its kind in the nation, the center is a working studio in which students learn about kitchen design through hands-on experience. It comprises six regularly updated working kitchens representing a range of price levels and space arrangements suited to diverse households.

Along with design and the technical aspects of products, the focus of the center has always been about how users complete tasks. Research conducted by the trio has assisted the National Kitchen and Bath Association to define recommendations, particularly those associated with amount and type of storage needed in kitchens of different sizes. Beamish, who also serves as chair of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, and Mary Jo Peterson, a co-author of the books, also developed criteria to clarify space requirements for kitchen and bath designs used by people with disabilities.

The three faculty members also have taught courses in residential space planning, residential technologies, sustainability, consumer housing, and kitchen and bath design as part of the nationally accredited housing option, the longest-running program in the nation affiliated with the NKBA’s accreditation process.

This program prepares students for careers in kitchen and bath design, manufacturing, and marketing of housing products such as appliances and home furnishings, and residential construction. Six Virginia Tech students have recently claimed top honors in the national NKBA/GE Design Charette, while more than 18 have placed in the annual NKBA student design competition.

The Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management incorporates consumer, business, and design perspectives in undergraduate programs including apparel product development and merchandising, housing, residential property management, and consumer studies.



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