The School of Design Welcomes Visiting Scholar Reejy Mikhail

Exterior of Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall
Bio photo of Reejy Mikhail

Reejy Mikhail, a current Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Design at Politecnico di Milano in Italy, delves into the intersection of the physical learning environment and sense-based design for her doctoral research. Her focus is on developing comprehensive guidelines that designers and businesses can utilize to assess users' sensory experiences, particularly in higher education institutions (HEIs) dedicated to design learning. With an academic background that includes an MSc in Interior and Spatial Design from PoliMi and a BA in Interior Design from Alexandria University in Egypt, Reejy brings a wealth of experience. Previously, she served as a teaching assistant and researcher for four years at Alexandria University. Currently, she is a teaching assistant in the Ephemeral/Temporary Spaces MSc course at Politecnico di Milano, actively engaging in various interior design projects at Reejy is deeply passionate about exploring learning spaces, sense-based design, and user behavior.

In a dynamic collaboration, Reejy has joined the Learning Environments Lab at the School of Design as a visiting scholar for a six-month period, working under the guidance of Professor Peter Scupelli. This collaboration builds on her prior experience assisting Professor Scupelli in teaching the Ephemeral/Temporary Spaces MSc course at PoliMi. During her visit, Reejy is dedicated to incorporating CMU School of Design as her second study field for her Ph.D. research, alongside her primary affiliation with PoliMi. Engaging in extensive field research, she plans to interact with the CMU Design community through interviews, surveys, workshops, and observations involving participants ranging from bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. candidates to researchers, professors, and cleaning staff. The overarching goal of these activities is to identify students' sensory needs and preferences, establish sensory performance criteria linked to the physical learning space, and discern interior design elements and strategies that optimally cater to these sensory needs. The ultimate aim is to positively influence behavior, enhance students' learning experiences, and contribute to individual and social well-being.

Reejy Mikhail was drawn to the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University for several compelling reasons. The School's reputation for fostering innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and a vibrant learning community resonated with her research interests. Particularly, the Learning Environments Lab at CMU presented a unique opportunity to enhance her Ph.D. research. This lab, under the guidance of Professor Peter Scupelli, aligns seamlessly with Reejy's doctoral study. The Lab's commitment to exploring cutting-edge concepts in learning spaces and its collaborative approach provides a rich environment for Reejy to expand the scope of her research. The dynamic setting of the School of Design, coupled with the resources and expertise offered by the Learning Environments Lab, significantly contributes to the depth and breadth of her academic pursuits.

During her visiting period at Carnegie Mellon University, Reejy Mikhail eagerly anticipates immersing herself in a diverse and dynamic academic environment. She is particularly excited about the prospect of engaging with the CMU Design community, conducting comprehensive field research, and collaborating with students, faculty, and staff. The opportunity to interact with individuals across various academic levels, from bachelor's to Ph.D. candidates, researchers, and professors, offers a unique perspective for her research. Reejy looks forward to the intellectual exchange and insights gained through interviews, surveys, workshops, and observations. Additionally, she is excited about contributing to the vibrant academic atmosphere at CMU, sharing her expertise, and gaining new perspectives that will undoubtedly enrich her Ph.D. journey.