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Student designers bask in the spotlight

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Like most of us, Nicholas Nunez is forever striving to get organized. But few of us can say that effort has led to a national award. The college senior's Stickemup Bag won third place in the International Housewares Association's annual student-design competition because "it takes a trendy concept to the next level," explains Mr. Nunez. That concept is the popular messenger bag, which he noticed is often thrown onto a chair in college-dorm rooms.

After interviewing fellow college students at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio, Nunez decided it was time that the ubiquitous bag was hung neatly on a door where pockets can be accessed easily and, if its owner is running late to class, taken down and folded up in a flash.

Nunez sits on a stool at his display booth, all smiles while demonstrating his design for attendees at the IHA's annual show in Chicago. Even now he's planning a new product but all he will reveal is that it's "something restaurant related."

Organization is also the theme at the booth beside Nunez, where Chris Heckman shows onlookers how to fit video games and their accessories - cartridges, cords, and cables - into his Game Storage Box.

Mr. Heckman, a senior at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in Wisconsin, calls it the "stuff-it method of organization." He insists that parents will love it.

"Mom was always after me to clean up my room, but really all I had to do was clean up my video-game system," he says, adding with a broad grin: "She wishes I had something like this as a kid."

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