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Columbus College of Art and Design: Mariah Zambuto

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Industrial Design Mariah Zambuto

Mariah Zambuto studied industrial design at Columbus College of Art & Design.

How did you discover your passion for design?

Mariah Zambuto loves a good challenge. When she was 16, Zambuto went on a month-long volunteer trip to Ghana. She and other teens helped construct a women’s empowerment center and also taught fourth-grade students. “It completely changed my view. When I came back, I thought, ‘I have to do something with my art that’s going to dosomething.’ Not just, like, hang and make a statement, but create change in action,” Zambuto said.

The Omaha, Nebraska, native went through the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate program in high school as well as the Joslyn Art Museum’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program, which matches teens with professional artist mentors.

Zambuto went on to major in Industrial Design at Columbus College of Art & Design and is the class of 2019’s valedictorian. At CCAD, she worked as a dormitory Resident Assistant and earned an honorable mention at the Morton Kesten Universal Design Competition for her concept of providing nutrition assistance to people with memory challenges.

What’s your favorite part about creating?

“I'm most interested in system design,” Zambuto said. “Creating businesses and how they run is interesting to me. Thinking about problems in human behavior, rather than just products, is super fascinating.”

What’s the hardest part for you about creating?

“Design with a social change mindset has always been at the forefront for me. It’s changing culture. This is what I want to do,” she said.

How do you think this program will help in what you want to do next?

That’s not all. Zambuto was part of a first-place winning team at the FirstBuild Mega-Hackathon in 2016, and this year was named the 2019 CCAD Industrial Design Society of America Merit Award Winner, representing CCAD at the regional competition. “The SMA Finalist student designer is someone with tremendous talent, breadth of skill, and who best embodies the industrial design program they represent,” Zambuto said. “Getting this award was honoring and humbling. It was validating to receive recognition for my work. Receiving this award made my dreams bigger, as well as more real and achievable.”

Zambuto became involved with the local fitness community, too, as a member and brand ambassador for TITLE Boxing Club. During her final year at CCAD, she became TITLE Boxing Club Grandview’s marketing representative.

A product designer, design researcher, leader, and storyteller, Zambuto works by immersing herself completely in what interests her to find empathy with users and create design solutions that truly fit their needs.

Where do you imagine yourself in 10 years?

“For me, thinking creatively has no bounds. I have worked really, really hard to not intentionally limit my potential or just work in one specific industry,” she said. “I’ve never labeled myself, which I think allows me to reach farther and explore more.”