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petrouske-head-shot-webIndustrial Design student Amber Petrouske ’13 was recently named one of three winners from among 100 in the national InterZinc Zinc Challenge. The surprising inspiration behind her winning design – Elite Cleat – was a family camping trip.

“Every year my family goes camping and takes my uncle’s boat. Sometimes we would get back really late, and my younger cousin would always trip over the cleats, which is what you tie the boat to. I thought, ‘Oh, I could just light one of those up and it would be more convenient!'”elite-cleat-web-1

Petrouske had her chance to light up the dock with the InterZinc Zinc Challenge her junior year during Junior Design Studio, taught by Senior Professor of Industrial Design Pascal Malassigné, FIDSA. For the challenge, Petrouske said the students “had to design a marine-based lighting that included zinc.”

Starting with sketches and exploring form, she refined her ideas for the cleat and was open to critique both formally and informally. “The class had one big critique, but aside from that, I went to a couple of classmates to help refine my idea.”

elite-cleat-web-2Associate Professor of Industrial Design John Caruso, IDSA, said, “Amber Petrouske developed a simple solution to assist in tying boats to a dock in low light conditions by adding illumination to the cleat.”

Petrouske said placing first was an amazing feeling, and Malassigné, who was honored as advisor, added, “The ID Program faculty are proud of her winning a first prize in the 2012 InterZinc design context, which is also the fourth time a MIAD ID student has won this award in the last 10 years.”

Top image: Amber Petrouske ’13
Second image: Elite Cleat
Third image: Elite Cleat

Click here to view the 2011-2012 winners of the InterZinc Zinc Challenge.
Click here to read more about MIAD’s nationally ranked Industrial Design Program.