Prof. Akshay Sharma has received one of four 2014 Virginia Tech Illuminator Awards. The awards are presented annually to a faculty member, a staff member, a graduate student, and an undergraduate student who have outstanding abilities, innovative ideas to fuel the future, well-honed leadership skills, and a commitment to service.
Sharma leads the Design for Learning and Empowerment initiative. He and his students employ design as a way to creatively address some of the most critical issues being faced by societies around the world, especially for those “at the bottom of the pyramid” or below the poverty level. Projects include a software platform for an application that makes it easier for children in developing countries to receive life-saving vaccinations. Called IMMUNE, the tool will be used by health organizations based in India. This work has been recognized in a number of prestigious international venues, including Innovation and the Journal of the Industrial Designers Society of America.