Dr. So-Yeon Yoon, an Associate Professor at Cornell University, will be awarded for her outstanding accomplishments and commitment to interior design education at the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Annual Meeting on June 8 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
The honor carries with it a $10,000 cash prize, sponsored by Milliken, and a complimentary 2015 IIDA Membership.
“Dr. Yoon’s extensive and impressive experience illustrates a depth of understanding of Design that makes her deserving of the praise of the Interior Design community,” said Executive VP and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP. “But it’s what she does with that understanding—combining it with her passion, her dedication and a consistent level of innovation that keeps her students thinking in new directions—that makes me personally very pleased to celebrate her as IIDA Educator of the Year.”
This year’s jurors included Carlos Martinez, Principal at Gensler; Amy Campos, Principal of Amy Campos Architect and the 2013 winner; and Barbara Haaksma, Vice President of Design and Marketing for Milliken.
“Her broad perspective on design and on the world at large is impressive, and she’s using that expertise to take her students into new and exciting territory,” said Martinez. “She’s an integrator who believes in the value of cross-disciplinary thinking, and offers her students a well-rounded understanding of conceptual design, technical expertise and experiential awareness.”
Prior to her arrival in the U.S., Yoon practiced both interior design and architecture in South Korea. She started her professional career as an interior designer, working for Hae-In Environmental Design, Inc., and as assistant architect for Ga-In Architects and Engineers, Inc., in Pusan, South Korea, before relocating to Columbia, Missouri, where she served as a designer and CAD administrator with Chinn & Associates, Inc.
At the University of Missouri, she earned her second master’s degree for Environmental Design, after which she went back to South Korea to instruct at the University of Ulsan’s School of Design in Pusan for a number of years.
Returning to the U.S., she taught in the Architectural Studies Department at the University of Missouri-Columbia for the next 12 years, where she directed the Design With Digital Media program for graduate students. While teaching full-time, she earned her Ph.D. in Information Technology with an emphasis on Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Missouri.
She was the recipient of the 2011 Gold Chalk Award for teaching excellence and a three-time finalist for a University of Missouri award extolling excellence in teaching with technology.
Yoon’s research strategy maintains a focus on effective design and design communication, employing emerging technology to best understand the human response to the physical built environment as well as the virtual built environment.
She has authored and co-authored several books on topics including the usability of virtual reality technology and the use of color in healthcare environments, and has had more than 50 articles published in design and human/computer interaction journals.