Collaborative PhilaU Student Team Wins Second FXI-Sponsored Textile Design Competition

PhilaU students who participated in the FXI Student Design Competition to uncover the next great design utilizing memory foam presented their projects to a panel of judges on Dec. 1.

After months of research, design and collaboration, the project finalists in the competition submitted the following product designs: a glove that helps promote muscle mobility and dexterity; a multi-use pillow system for pregnant women to improve posture while sitting and sleeping; a vest to help lift and move disabled people; and a head scarf to improve sleep while sitting and/or traveling.

Junior textile design majors Lily Kubiak and Joanna Lee won the top prize of $4,000 for their glove design. Kubiak said she got the idea for the glove while volunteering at Ocean Academy, a special services school in Cape May Courthouse, N.J.  She saw the need for such an item firsthand.

The four final teams were judged by a panel that included FXI senior research and development engineers, product development designers and new business development directors, as well as industry experts and faculty from Philadelphia University’s School of Design and Engineering. Students were judged on features and benefits, commercial viability, and innovation.

Team members Ashley Calderini, Nicole Dowds, and Caitlin Connors received a $3,000 second-place-team award for their Transfer Aid Vest design. Students majoring in textile design, engineering technology, textile materials technology, textile design and industrial design worked in self-selected teams on the project.

“The students demonstrated a breadth and depth knowledge about the textile and healthcare industries and potential product offerings that will improve the human condition,” said Janet Brady ’79 M’99, associate professor of textile technology, who helped develop the collaborative project with Jennifer Frank Rhodes ’96, textile design, product development designer at FXI.


Mario Neto, director of business development for healthcare at FXI, was so impressed with all the students, their presentations and product ideas, that, following the final presentations, he decided to take one student from each team (along with their prototypes, and resumes of all participants) to an upcoming industry trade show in April 2011.

The competition was designed specifically for Philadelphia University students to enhance their education, provide hands-on industry experience, and prepare them for future employment.

FXI, headquartered in Media, Pa., is a leading producer of innovative foam products for the home, health care, electronics, industrial, personal care and transportation industries.

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