Topic: College of Fine Arts

July 22, 2021

Biodesign Challenge winners
On Left Dominic Zelli and On Right Jonathan Alexander

Two Ball State University art students were part of a design team whose collaborative creation won a top prize in the 2021 Biodesign Challenge competition.

Ball State School of Art students Dominic Zelli and Jonathan Alexander were part of team “River Defenders,” which won in the “Outstanding Social Critique” category at the Biodesign Challenge Summit. This year’s BioDesign Challenge, which ran from June 21-25, showcased projects from 51 top schools from around the world.

This was the first time any Ball State student has participated as a finalist in the Biodesign Challenge Summit. The Challenge was part of a special topics class, taught by assistant teaching professor Devon Ward this past Spring in the School of Art’s Visual Communication area.

“The Biodesign competition and class were exciting opportunities for the students to generate work for a real-world competition with an audience of professionals in their field,” said Andy Beane, associate director of the School of Art at Ball State. “Our students started in January with a simple prompt and during the semester generated new ideas, tested the design, and created a final product and presentation to a large judging body of professionals.”

The River Defenders’ creation, which includes work by Erin Mawhorter and Ashlyn Sterling, is featured in this design video. River Defenders is described as a “satirical ad campaign that imagines using military means to remove invasive species.”