Chesterton Tribune



CHS grad Erin Socha part of team in Disney Imaginations Design Competition

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Chesterton native Erin Socha is a member of one of only six teams of finalists chosen from entries around the country for the Walt Disney Imaginations Design Competition.

The Imaginations Design Competition is now celebrating its 26th year, designed and sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering to encourage students to consider careers in creative and technical fields including digital arts, engineering, and architecture. This competition is one of the unique ways that Walt Disney Imagineering searches for the next generation of talented theme park designers.

For this year’s competition, students were given the following challenge: to apply the same design principles used in creating Disney’s famous theme parks, resorts and immersive experience to develop new outdoor spaces within their own college or university that could address the diverse needs of students, faculty and visitors while also providing a respite from the stresses of everyday life.

Team members Casey Liptak, Erin Socha, of Miami University, and Sarah Miholer of Carnegie Mellon University, designed ‘’Niihka: A New Tradition,” an outdoor space that celebrates the Myaamiaki Indian culture. This project would provide an environment for guests to feel close to nature, through architecture and design. A multi-leveled space, the park would provide a number of diverse atmospheres, from structured to more relaxed, integrating technology and an innovative Smart Roof concept to remind the community of its Native American roots.

Other submissions include: Spirit of the Isle, University of Notre Dame; Hideaway Grove, Savannah College of Art and Design; Hourglass, Iowa State University; Campus Canvas, Howard University; Pacific Trove, University of California, San Diego.

The twenty-one finalists are each awarded a five-day all-expense-paid trip to Imagineering in Glendale, Calif. From January 23-27, where they will present their projects to Imagineering executives and take part in an awards ceremony on January 27. Finalists also have the opportunity to meet and network with Imagineers, go behind the scenes where Disney magic is created, and interview for paid internships during their visit.

The projects and concepts presented are not necessarily intended to be built by Disney. They are a way for the entrants to demonstrate their skills and creativity. Submissions become the sole property of Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Imagineering retains all rights to use and/or display the submissions.

For more information on the Imaginations Design Competition, visit



Posted 1/20/2017




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