Dr. Shireen Kanakri, associate professor of interior design in the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning, researches a little known area—how environmental factors like acoustics, color, and lighting affect children with autism. She uses that knowledge as she mentors students in immersive learning projects, such as assisting an organization that serves children with special needs.

“I chose research that impacts kids’ lives to improve the quality of the environment around them. Small things like painting a room a different color can make a significant impact. For instance, a child can sleep without the need for medication. These measures help not just the child but the whole family and could extend to classrooms and other places.

“Ball State has allowed me to collaborate with the community and show the impact of my research on people.” The interior design students can witness how small details can have an impact on real-life issues and that is more valuable than schoolwork. Learn more about Dr. Kanakri’s research.