Raja Schaar, MAAE, IDSA
Assistant Professor, Program Director, Product Design at Drexel University
Education Director, IDSA's Board of Directors | 2018-2019
Co-Chair, IDSA's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC) | 2020-2022
Raja Schaar, MAAE, IDSA is an assistant professor and program director of product design at Drexel University. She is an industrial designer and STEAM education evangelist. She also is an active museum exhibition designer working with community organizations, National Parks, and museums all over the country.
Schaar’s interdisciplinary research focuses on methods engaging girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM/STEAM through design and technology; innovation and entrepreneurship education; healthcare wearables; and biologically inspired design. Her current research collaborations include working with departments of dance, education and computing to uncover STEAM identities in African American girls through the development of performance-driven wearable technology; developing pedagogy with Drexel University’s Schools of Biomedical Engineering and Entrepreneurship to examine the role of clinical immersion on product innovation; and working with the College of Nursing to develop a pre-diagnostic wearable device for pre-eclampsia in low-resource communities.
As an educator, Schaar works to infuse her teaching with human-centered design methodologies that address real-world problems. Schaar pushes her students to apply design thinking, making and life cycle analysis to the development of devices and products that positively and sustainably impact the lives of users. She also coordinates industry partnerships and sponsored studios with companies like Devialet and Hubbell.
Her approach is fueled by 15+ years of experience as an industrial designer and university design instructor. Previously, she taught at Georgia Tech in both the Colleges of Design and Engineering. Favorite course topics include global healthcare, wearable technology, impact design and biologically-inspired design.
Schaar also has served as coordinator of school programs at the High Museum of Art; director of programs and operations at Museum of Design Atlanta; and design instructor of the Georgia Governor’s Honors program. She’s developed and led numerous ID summer camps to nurture an early interest in design. Schaar speaks on ID, design and STEAM education at conferences and workshops all across United States, including at TEDx.
Schaar received her BSID from GA Tech and her MA in art education from the School of Art Institute of Chicago.