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Department of

Interior Design

Graduate Program

Graduate Faculty

Graduate Faculty in the Department of Interior Design specialize in diverse areas of research and design. Concentrations include Preservation and Cultural Heritage, History and Theory, Hospitality, Innovative Technology and Graphic Presentation, Autism Spectrum and  Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Housing for the Elderly, Creative Environments, Research Methodologies, Learning Environments and Lighting, among others.

Diane Al Shihabi, Ph.D., ASID, IDEC, NCIDQ, WRID earned a doctorate at UW-Madison, and is an Associate Professor with Tenure and the Director of Graduate Education (DoGE) in the Department of Interior Design. She is also a faculty member in the interdepartmental graduate program of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and guides PhD students in collaborative dissertations. Her research interests include design history and theory, Beaux-Arts architecture, cultural heritage protection, UNESCO World Heritage Sites analysis and documentation, and global preservation practice. Dr. Al Shihabi co-developed the Preservation and Cultural Heritage Program at ISU and collaborates with the Office of Cultural Heritage at the State Department to research, document, and disseminate information on culturally-significant properties abroad. She has NCIDQ certification and eighteen years of preservation practice experience. Her firm held contracts for multiple interior restoration projects, including the Wisconsin State Capitol, Kentucky State Capitol, and Cyrus Yawkey Museum, among others, and received multiple awards in state and nationally-judged competitions. Dr. Al Shihabi is a Board of Review member for the Journal of Interior Design and a Board of Trustee member for Taliesin Preservation, Inc.

Yongyeon Cho, LEED GA, WELL AP is an assistant professor in the Department of Interior Design at Iowa State University. He holds a Master of Fine Art degree from ISU, and a Master of Interior Architecture from Konkuk University and a Bachelor of Engineering in Interior Architecture from Soongsil University, both in Seoul, Korea. In 2018, he worked as a lead interior designer at Keumkang Enterprises Inc, in Seoul, Korea. In 2017, he was an interior design professional at HOK, Chicago office. He was a member of a student winning team for the Healthcare Environment Award, sponsored by Contract magazine and the Center for Healthcare Design (2016). He is a recipient of an Award of Merit (2015) and an Award of Excellence (2019) at American Society of Architectural Illustrators, and the winner of the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers graduate research fellowship(2017). His areas of interest are design evaluation criteria and tools, graphic communication tools and technics, and human-centered design.

Julie E. N. Irish, Ph.D., ASID, IDEC, NRAC, has been a member of the Interior Design Graduate Faculty since Fall 2018.  Prior to that, she was a Lecturer at the University of Minnesota where she gained a Ph.D. in Design, Interior Design, Evidence-Based Design Track (2017).  Before academia, she had a long career in professional practice specializing in Universal Design with an M.Sc. in Inclusive Environments from Reading University, UK, (2006).  Her research focuses on the design of suitable environments for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.  She is also interested in creating environments that support all users, particularly around issues of housing, social justice, and design beyond the minimum.  Her academic awards include the American Society of Interior Designers Joel Polsky Academic Achievement Award for Best Dissertation, 2018, and the Interior Design Educator’s Council Annual Conference Award of Excellence for Best Presentation, 2017.  

Daejin Kim, Ph.D., EDAC, CAPS, LEED Associate, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Interior Design at Iowa State University. He received a doctoral degree in Interior Design and a minor degree in Research & Evaluation Methodology (REM) focusing on quantitative methods from the University of Florida. His research is focusing on healthcare and residential environment that fosters users’ health, and well-being has been published in journals such as Journal of Environmental Psychology, Journal of Housing for the Elderly, Health Environments Research and Design Journal, and Journal of Interior Design. His most current research includes developing a smart home housing for older adults and investigating user’s emotional experience in the built environment using an EEG device and VR technology. His teaching efforts are directed towards demonstrating the application of research and theory to interior design, emphasizing wellness and evidence-based design at undergraduate and graduate level.

Jae Hwa Lee, Ph.D., IDEC is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Interior Design. She received her doctoral degree at the University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction and Planning in Gainesville with a concentration in Interior Design. Her research focuses on providing creative environments with pedagogical recommendations for building creative confidence as well as developing design strategies to support creative behaviors and well-being. She also examines the physical and social environmental dimensions using a mixed methods research design. Her scholarship has been well presented internationally and nationally and has appeared in scholarly journals. In 2019, reviewers for the Annual Conference of the Interior Design Educators Council recognized Dr. Lee’s abstract as among the top ten of all research and creative scholarship submissions. The Environmental Design Research Association also recognized her scholarship at past annual conferences. Dr. Lee currently teaches both undergraduate and graduate interior design courses to demonstrate the application of disciplinary creative-thinking and environment-behavior research methods.

Nicole Peterson, NCIDQ, LEED AP, BD+C is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Interior Design, where she teaches courses in interior finish materials, interior building construction, and design studios. Prior to returning to graduate school and earning her MFA in Interior Design, Professor Peterson practiced commercial design in an interdisciplinary firm. Her research interests are an expansion of the project types she designed in practice, including educational environments and the role of the library in today’s society. Her focus on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning includes presentations at the Interior Design Educators Council’s regional and national conferences.