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AACSRE Announces Research Fellows

Two emerging fellows will continue on to support AACSRE, as well as two new emerging fellows have been selected to further impact the knowledge within their diverse disciplines and on premise signage.

The Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education (AACSRE), in an effort to fuel the next generation of study on on-premise signage, has announced the emerging research fellows for 2018-2019. The class consists of four distinguished individuals that have a broad capacity for research and passion for signage.

Since AACSRE’s establishment in 2015, the organization has worked to define and implement an Emerging Fellows Program with a focus on expanding the thought leadership impacting on-premise signage. The four diverse disciplines being highlighted with this class are:

  • Graphic Design and Color (Dr. Aparna Sundar),

  • The Impact of Infographics on Signage (Dr. Eric Ragan),

  • Aesthetics and Design issues in Marketing (Ngoc Minh "Rita" To),

  • Cross‐disciplinary practices and environmental dimensional graphic design (Muhammad Nafisur Rahman).

AACSRE’s Emerging Fellows Committee is chaired by Dr. Steven Kopp of the University of Arkansas. Dr. Kopp commented,

“Again this year we had some exemplary early-stage scholars who have received the Emerging Fellowship support. We are fortunate to have donors who have the foresight to sponsor this Fellowship, and equally fortunate to have received some innovative approaches in the nominations."

Dr. Aparna Sundar, continuing Emerging Fellow, is an Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon. She has extensive industry experience in market research and design. Aparna was a consultant at IPSOS where she conducted consumer research and in-store intercepts to understand shopper behavior and brand perceptions. She translated primary and secondary data into actionable recommendations linking objectives to strategy. Her research focused on in-store design, graphics and the effects of color on branding. She worked with clients such as P&G, Target, Wal-Mart, Hershey’s, Kellogg, PepsiCo and Unfi.

As a designer, Aparna worked in retail, translating concepts to design for clients such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, J C Penny, Macy’s, AT&T, Starbucks, Seattle's Best Coffee and Michaels. Aparna earned her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati (Lindner College of Business and College of Design Art Architecture and Planning).

Dr. Eric Ragan, continuing Emerging Fellow, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M University. He heads the Interactive Data and Immersive Environments (INDIE) research group and he is faculty lead of the Visualization Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCI-VIZ). His research involves the design and evaluation of visualizatiozns and interaction techniques in the areas of information visualization, data analysis systems and virtual reality. His work focuses on the study of human memory and understanding of information.

Dr. Ragan received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.

Ngoc Minh "Rita" To is a doctoral student in Marketing at the Bauer College of Business. Her research interests focus on aesthetics and design issues in marketing. Currently, she is investigating how different aesthetic elements influence consumer self-brand connection, as well as how hidden meanings behind logo designs can influence brand perceptions. As part of her dissertation, she seeks to examine how visual cues can prompt consumers to participating in more prosocial actions. Prior to her Ph.D. program, Ngoc Minh "Rita" To holds a Bachelor of Business (Honors) from the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Oversight for Nqoc Minh "Rita" To’s research will be provided by the Faculty Chair, Dr. Vanessa Patrick-Ralhan. Dr. Patrick-Ralhan is the Bauer Professor of Marketing for the University of Houston, Texas. Her most recent accolades include Best paper award for the inaugural SMU-LVMH Luxury in Asia conference, 2016., the LeRoy and Lucille Melcher Faculty Excellence in Service Award by the Bauer College of Business, 2015-16 and Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy, University of Houston 2016.

Muhammad Nafisur Rahman is currently pursuing Doctoral studies in Architecture, at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA as an active graduate research assistant at Communication in the Urban Environment (CUE). His research interests are design pedagogy, visual identity and culture, dimensional typography in urban context, cross‐disciplinary practices and environmental dimensional graphic design. His current research work focuses on large letterforms in the urban environments and signage as urban artifacts, urban typography, visual identity through urban public space and image‐making. His research explores the influence of environmental typography and visual identity on the built environment of rapidly developing urban commercial streetscape.

Prior to this ongoing research work, he worked as Branded Environments Designer‐II at Perkins+Will and Designer at HDR Architecture, both in Chicago. Rahman was involved in teaching architectural design studios at different levels during his teaching at BRAC University, in Bangladesh since 2012. As a practicing designer, educator and photographer—Rahman has an ability to integrate his background in architecture with graphic design as an intuitive fusion and his strong skills in composition and typographic manifestations were acknowledged—both in practice and academia. His works consist of various architectural interior and branded environment projects, exhibition design, promotion materials, brand designs, experimental typography, identity and wayfinding, book publications, poster design, etc. Rahman has also developed his own passion and character in spatial photography, visual abstraction— his works have been showcased in different exhibitions and bagged awards. At UIC School of Design, he taught 'Design Photography' and ‘Color Theory’ courses. He was involved in conducting month‐long design workshop at the University of Evora, Portugal, under European Union Mobility Research Scholarship in 2011.

Muhammad Nafisur Rahman holds M.Des. in Graphic Design from University of Illinois at Chicago, UIC in 2014 and B.Arch from BRAC University, Bangladesh in 2007. He also completed 'Typography and Design' summer certificate workshop at the Basel School of Design, FHNW, Switzerland in 2013.

More information about the Emerging Fellowship Program and the backgrounds of the 2018 Class of Fellows are available on our website, and any questions or comments can be directed to Patty Herbin, Executive Director.

AACSRE looks forward to working with Dr. Sundar, Dr. Ragan, Ngoc Minh “Rita” To, and Muhammad Nafisur Rahman and welcomes them to the AACSRE team.

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