Del Mar teen a finalist in national design competition

DEL MAR — A Del Mar teen’s design of a mobile COVID-19 vaccine and testing center was named a finalist in the 2021 National High School Design hosted by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Allison Casey, a student at La Jolla Country Day, was a top-three finalist and youngest of the top 15 submissions from around the country.

Casey’s schoolmate, Akaash Doshi, received an honorable mention.

This year’s competition challenged high school students to craft a solution for the prompt, “What would you design to create a healthier world.”

Casey envisioned a mobile health center that visits low-income communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The portable health center would help eliminate barriers such as language, technology, information and technology, according to a release.

Casey later expanded the concept to provide flu shots or other vaccines in addition to multilingual medical information and free COVID testing.

As a top-three finalist, Casey had access to a mentor, Rachel Smith, a senior product designer at Zillow. Smith helped Casey organize her ideas, learn more about the design process and prepare for the presentation.

In June, the finalists will present their updated designs to a panel of experts who will determine a winner.

But no matter the outcome, Casey said she participated just for fun.

“I like being creative and using science to come up with new ideas to change how the world views an issue,” Casey said. “It has been one of my goals to come up with one of those ideas.”