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MIAD senior designs portable Kevlar shelter to protect kids from gun violence

May 4, 2018

Dana Deggs Senior Exhibit

Industrial Design senior Dana Deggs discusses her senior design project with guests at the 2018 Senior Exhibition’s Preview Night.

A Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) Industrial Design student Dana Deggs has designed a portable, Kevlar shelter to protect individuals from gun violence. Dana’s project is on display now through May 12, 2018 at the MIAD 2018 Senior Exhibition in MIAD’s galleries.

Dana, who is originally from Miami, Fla., was stunned as the world watched the events at Parkland, Fla., high school unfold earlier this year. “It was close to home,” she said. Because of that—and her young cousins who are growing up in a world where school shootings and other mass shootings are frequently in the news—Dana said, “I wanted to make something for everyone to put a dent in the gun violence problem.”

The portable, Kevlar shelter she designed has multiple layers and folds up into a backpack that people can carry with them. She researched how law enforcement and military protect themselves and created a prototype. The current prototype is designed to protect against gunfire from small caliber handguns and also to protect against knife penetration. Dana’s next step is to test its effectiveness at a shooting range and then refine the design.

“During Gallery Night in April, elementary school teachers told me they could see this being used in their classrooms – perhaps being stored under students’ desks,” Dana said.

Dana is the recipient of a Harley-Davidson Scholarship and the Ven Deven Scholarship, as well as a merit scholarship, at MIAD. She has studied abroad in Nantes, France. She graduates from MIAD this May.

“My scholarship is one of the main reasons I came to MIAD,” Dana said. “I’m grateful I’ve been able to come here and learn what I have from my teachers, fellow students and visiting speakers like Glenn Adamson.”

She also took courses in business and advertising, available through MIAD’s cross-registration program with Marquette University.

In her career, Dana said, “I want to make something that changes some part of a person’s day. I want to make something that changes the way someone does something.”

MIAD’s galleries are free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The 2018 Juried Senior Exhibition runs June 2 – August 4, 2018 in MIAD’s Frederick Layton Gallery.