Hello, EDRA community! I'm an architectural designer and researcher at the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA), an interdisciplinary center dedicated to inclusive design for all environments, products, and services. The Center is also closely affiliated with the Inclusive Design Graducate Research Group (ID-GRG) at the University at Buffalo (UB), and this provides a unique program for inclusive design education. I joined the IDeA Center team in 2012 as an ID-GRG student under the guidance of Dr. Edward Steinfeld, director of IDeA and distinguished professor at UB. My broad interests in usability and safety led me to write a master's thesis that examined the impact of contemporary stairway design concepts, like glass stair trends and musical stairways, on the behavior and safety of stair users. This research was presented at conferences, including the International Conference on Universal Design (2014), Watch Your Step: National Fall Prevention Conference (2014), and Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (2013) Conference, and is available to read on the ID-GRG website at http://idea.ap.buffalo.edu/idg/.
Last month, I had the pleasure of attending my first EDRA conference at #EDRA46LosAngeles to present a recent IDeA Center study of professionals in the home modification field. I discovered EDRA through Dr. Sue Weidemann, an environmental psychologist, professor at UB, and active member whose enthusiasm for the organization led me further to join EDRA’s Social Media Committee as chair to work on improving their social media marketing efforts. EDRA46 proved to be an exciting opportunity to not only share our research with like-minded people, but also to learn about new and interesting areas of environmental design research. EDRA's collection of books and journals on display was equally impressive as well. I was delighted to find a book called “Fostering Reasonableness: Supportive Environments for Bringing Out Our Best,” edited by Rachel Kaplan and Avik Basu -- highly recommended to people who are interested in the psychological framework for eliciting positive human behaviors through environmental design. As a new, young professional, I'm grateful for the resources and opportunities offered by EDRA and look forward to their continued positive impact on evidence-based design. Thank you for the warm welcome, EDRA!