A recent UL Lafayette industrial design program graduate is making waves with an award-winning design for a life vest that is both functional and comfortable.

The university is touting Jessie Kate Brown for her work designing the "Comfort Flex Life Vest" as part of her senior thesis project that earned her international recognition.

Brown's design placed third in the Innovations In Life Jacket Competition sponsored by the BoatUS Foundation. Jerry Malinowski, coordinator of UL Lafayette’s industrial design program, said Brown emerged near the top of a field that included teams from large firms. There were over 250 entries from 40 countries.

“It’s a part of our culture and heritage in Louisiana to fish and to go boating, and many traditional life jackets are restrictive. I wanted to design one that’s both functional and comfortable,” explained Brown.