Mike Weikert is founding director of the Center for Social Design and Master of Arts in Social Design at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). In 2008, he established the Center for Design Practice at MICA, a multi-disciplinary studio bringing together students and outside partners from government, nonprofit and business sectors to collaborate on innovative ideas for positive social change. More than 250 MICA students and faculty have participated in projects with partners as diverse as the Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Maryland Energy Administration, National Wildlife Federation, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Whole Foods Market, among others.
Previously, he served as co-chair of the graphic design department at MICA, partner/creative director at Atlanta-based Iconologic, and as a design consultant to the International Olympic Committee. In 2011, he was nominated for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award and in 2014, received the Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award recognizing his innovative work in design education. He serves as a Network Representative to the Clinton Global Initiative University, launched by President Clinton in 2007 to engage leaders on college campuses around the world. He’s also a member of the Winterhouse Design Education & Social Change Symposium, a group of leading thinkers and practitioners in design, management, architecture, and engineering gathered to address issues central to promoting design education and social innovation.
He has received multiple grants and awards recognizing his work: Core 77 Design Awards, Print’s Best Invitation Design; Print’s Best Logos & Symbols 6; Graphic Design USA; Graphis Logo Design; How International Design Annual; How Interactive Design Annual; Print’s Regional Design Annual; Show South; and Typography 24, and with grants from: Sappi Ideas That Matter; the National Science Foundation (NSF); National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
His pioneering work in social design has also appeared in various books: CO LAB: Collaborative Design Survey; Design Alliance; Designing for Social Change: Strategies for Community-Based Graphic Design; D.I.Y. Design It Yourself; Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design; Graphic Design: The New Basics; Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming; Just Design: Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes; LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation; The Nature of Design, as well as in numerous leading design magazines and online publications: Communication Arts, Core 77, Design Observer, Fast Company, GOOD, Graphic Design USA, Graphis, How, Impact Design Hub, Metropolis, Print, etc.
MFA, Graphic Design, 2005, Maryland Institute College of Art
BFA, Graphic Design, 1993, Miami University
Lee Davis is an author, designer and social entrepreneur, and currently Co-Director of MICA’s Center for Social Design and Faculty in the MA in Social Design (MASD) program.
Lee is a Co-Founder of NESsT, a pioneer in supporting social enterprises -- businesses designed to solve critical social problems. Lee served for 15 years as co-CEO (1997-2011), building NESsT into a global team with 50 staff and offices in 11 countries, and was a 2004 winner of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. As Chief Innovation Officer at NESsT (2012-2013), he was curator of the 2012 Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF2012) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2010, Lee was appointed as a Social Enterprise Fellow at the Yale School of Management’s Program on Social Enterprise, supporting Yale scholars, students, alumni, and practitioners interested in exploring the ways in which business skills and market disciplines can be harnessed to most effectively and efficiently achieve social objectives.
Lee has written and co-authored several books on social enterprise and venture philanthropy, including: Profits for Nonprofits, All in the Same Boat: An Introduction to Engaged Philanthropy, Risky Business: The Impacts of Merging Mission and Market, and End of the Rainbow: Increasing the Sustainability of LGBT organizations through social enterprise. From 1996-97, Lee was a Research Fellow in the “New Directions in Grassroots Development” initiative of the Johns Hopkins University, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where he authored The NGO-Business Hybrid, an international study of social enterprise cases in 13 countries. He also served as a Professorial Lecturer in the graduate Program on Social Change and Development at SAIS where he developed and co-taught the first graduate-level course on social enterprise.
Prior to founding NESsT, Lee worked as a Program Officer in the Public Participation Program of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) in Budapest, coordinating projects with partners across 15 CEE countries in 1996-97. He started his career as a designer with firms in New York, Connecticut, and Osaka, Japan, and was the first in-house designer in international relief and development agency CARE in its New York headquarters, responsible for art direction, design and production of publications promoting CARE’s programs across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Lee was a recipient of the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to undertake an independent ethnology of design in Japan and Switzerland from 1988-1989.
MA, Institute for Policy Studies, 1995, Johns Hopkins University
BA, Studio Art, 1988, Connecticut College
Thomas Gardner is a designer and educator. His teaching and research explore design methodologies and tactical technologies, with a particular focus on pedagogy, fabrication, community engagement and emerging practices. He is the co-founder of HousingOperative, a design-build agency based in Detroit and dedicated to the realization of architecture for social and cultural change.
Following his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Thomas worked with a number of leading design studios, including Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Steven Holl Architects in New York, as well as Stanley Saitowitz in San Francisco, where he served as project architect for the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston. Subsequently, he completed his graduate studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where his thesis focused on post-industrial urban housing, resulting in the design and construction of the first single-family dwelling in a downtown Detroit neighborhood in over 80 years.
Thomas has taught architecture and design at Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons The New School for Design and Lawrence Technological University, and has served as a critic at design schools across the US. Most recently, he worked with Project H, where he led Studio H, a design + build program for high school students in Berkeley, California.
Bachelor of Architecture, 1990, University of Texas at Austin
Master of Architecture, 2006, Cranbrook Academy of Art
Becky Slogeris is the Associate Director at the Center for Social Design at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) where she is responsible for program coordination, operations and communications for various initiatives engaging MICA students and faculty in social innovation projects in Baltimore, nationally and internationally. She runs the Center's Education and Youth Initiative, which uses collaborative and human-centered processes to explore the most pressing needs of young people in and out of the classroom.
Becky comes to MICA from the Baltimore Urban Debate League, where she developed Common Core aligned professional development and curriculum around argumentation for Baltimore City Public School teachers. Her work is focused on designing project-based curriculum and tools for teachers that empower students to create change in their communities. Past partners include Teach for All, the White House's My Brother's Keeper Initiative, and 826 DC. Her teaching experience includes work with the Children’s Defense Fund and Elev8 Baltimore as a Freedom Schools Servant Leader Intern and Out-of-School Time Coach at Collington Square Elementary in Baltimore and with CUNY's College Now Program as a an instructor for the Center for Urban Pedagogy in New York. She's developed national project-based curriculum for FEMA, the USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, and First the Seed Foundation.
Becky is currently the Social Design Instructor for Wide Angle Youth Media's Attendance and Design Team, where she leads a team of high school students to create solutions to issues around attendance, suspension and student transportation in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools.
Becky also teaches in MICA’s undergraduate graphic design department, MA/MBA, and MPS in Information Visualization programs.
Becky was recognized by Graphic Design USA as a 2012 Student to Watch, and received a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Social Design Fellowship to continue her work on the BMore Fit Teacher Toolkit, an exercise tool for engaging students and improving their academic performance in the classroom, the Baltimore CARES Service-Learning Curriculum, a guidebook for revitalizing vacant lots with high school students, and The Baltimore Textbook, an interactive urban theory guide for middle school students. Her work has been featured in the book Thinking With Type from Princeton Architectural Press.
She is a graduate of MICA with a BFA in graphic design and an MA in Social Design.
MA, Social Design, 2012, Maryland Institute College of Art
BFA, Graphic Design, 2011, Maryland Institute College of Art
Smile M. Indias is currently a T. Rowe Price Foundation Fellow, an Associate at the Center for Social Design at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and a Social Design Advisor to the Baltimore Police Department working towards an inclusive implementation of the City of Baltimore Consent Decree.
Before moving to the US, she served five years as a Senior Graphic Designer, eventually the Creative Director, for the former Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino lll as part of his Strategic Communications Office. During that period, she worked on developing print and web materials that translate complicated government documents into digestible pieces of information for the consumption of the general public. She has also worked on key transparency and accountability initiatives of the administration, namely the open government data portal of the country (www.data.gov.ph) and the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines (www.gov.ph).
Additionally, Smile was Adjunct Faculty at Ateneo de Manila University for six years. Smile graduated cum laude and received a BFA in Information Design from Ateneo de Manila University; she received an MA in Social Design from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). She was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and is currently based in Baltimore, Maryland.
MA, Social Design, 2017, Maryland Institute College of Art
BFA, Information Design, 2010, Ateneo de Manila University
George co-founded Greater Good Studio to increase the impact of his user-centered design practice. He started his career as a design consultant at IDEO Chicago working across sectors from consumer electronics to healthcare. He then became the Lead Designer for the Chicago Transit Authority designing a prototype bus for the City of Chicago. He is now a tenure-track professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He remains wildly optimistic that we can solve the most entrenched problems of our time, together for the greater good.
Sarah Brooks is a service designer, researcher, strategist, facilitator, educator, writer and advocate for social change. Sarah has worked has touched lives globally over the past 20 years through the U.S. Federal Government, non-profit, for-profit, and hybrid social enterprises. Sarah has designed products and services that help Veterans access the benefits they’ve earned, to support fair and just supply chains in the developing world, engage participation in the global sharing economy, access media that seeks to create a more informed civil society and regularly convenes designers around themes of social innovation and regenerative design. Her approach is grounded in human-centered design, living systems dynamics and humanistic psychology.
Following two and a half years of public service as a 2014-2015 White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, and Chief Design Officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, she is currently Director of Design & Government at IBM. Sarah lives in Washington D.C.
Ramsey Ford is an award-winning product designer, a design professor, a maker and an entrepreneur.
His design background gave him a unique perspective for helping people solve complex problems. His passion for social justice inspired his thesis on what designers could learn from community organizing. He received both his undergraduate degree in industrial design and Master of Design from the University of Cincinnati.
Those experiences – combined with a knack for facilitating creative process and a passion for social justice – were the start of Design Impact’s founding idea of embedded design – deeply engaging design as a change process in organizations and communities.
Ramsey continues to advance the conversation on inclusive design through workshops and speaking engagements such as the Public Interest Design Institute, IDSA International, and Unite for Sight Global Health and Innovation Conference. An avid writer, Ramsey regularly shares his perspective on social design through outlets like Design Observer, FastCompany, Innovations and Product Design Hub. His work has also been published in the Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook and Leap Dialogues.
Myra Margolin is a community psychologist specializing in community-based media production. She has worked in a wide range of settings helping people create media about their lives and communities. She recently led photography workshops for women in rural South India and has previously worked in Brazil and Rwanda. In the US, Myra works primarily with young people, including incarcerated youth. At MASD, Myra teaches key community psychology concepts—including theories of empowerment and social change—to enable the students to develop effective, well-conceptualized projects that truly promote social justice. Her films have been shown on PBS and at film festivals throughout the U.S.
Myra is currently completing her doctoral studies, received an MA in Community Psychology from the University of Illinois and holds a BFA in film and video production from New York University.
Cecili Thompson Williams is Director of Beyond the Bomb and the Founder & Chief Strategist at We Divine Water, where she helps change-making clients maximize their results through strategy, communications, & marketing services for missions that are too important to fail.
Cecili has over a decade and a half of experience leading mission-driven campaigns with organizations including Amnesty International USA, RESULTS Educational Fund, and the National Partnership for Women & Families. A strong believer in continually building power and capacity, Cecili has trained thousands of campaigners on how to maximize their impact within their organizations and in the world at large.
Rhonda Malone Wyskiel, RN, MSN., is a nurse leader and the patient safety innovation coordinator with the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. Wyskiel’s more than 15 years of bedside nursing experience have been an integral and critical force in the development and implementation and evaluation of many innovative safety programs focused on improving teamwork and safety culture at Johns Hopkins Hospital as well as nationally and internationally and continues to provide expert consultation for Johns Hopkins International and Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
Wyskiel use of Human centered design or Design thinking applied to development of technology-based solutions have helped redesign intensive care units’ workflow to provide safer and more patient-centered care. Her flagship innovation, the Family Involvement Menu, encourages family members to assist with care and speak up if something doesn’t look right. The tool is currently being piloted at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Wyskiel was one of 75 nurses chronicled in the 2012 award-winning book The American Nurse.
MA Visiting Faculty
Elaine Asal is trained as an architect and is currently an Architectural Designer at Gensler. Her approach to problem solving and design-thinking is driven by balancing visionary ideals with realistic measures. She believes that positive impact comes from thoughtful, informed and tangible solutions, achieved when passionate people come together around a shared narrative and common goals. She is a visual communicator that excels at organizational development and strategic planning. Elaine received her Bachelor of Architecture in 2004 from the University of Oklahoma and is currently working for Gensler, a global design, planning, and strategic consulting firm. Elaine is leading an office initiative to incorporate social responsibility and community-driven design into architecture and planning projects throughout Baltimore City. She helped launch gServe, a corporate social responsibility program for Gensler and currently serves on the firmwide steering committee.
She also works with the AIA Baltimore Lecture Series, developing the overall theme and speakers as well managing the graphics for the last seven years. She is on the National Board for the Network of Arab-American Professionals, leading the local Baltimore chapter and managing the national re-brand effort. A Baltimore resident for eight years, Elaine was raised in Oklahoma City and speaks English and Arabic.
John Bielenberg is a designer, entrepreneur, and imaginative advocate for a better world. He is the founder of Project M and co-founder of FUTURE and COMMON.
John Bielenberg has won more than 250 design awards in his career, including the 2013 AIGA Gold Medal for leadership in the design for good movement. He became an AIGA Fellow in 2008. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has acquired six of his design projects, and staged a solo exhibition of his work in 2000.
In 2009, John was awarded the Washington University Skandalaris Award for Design Entrepreneurship and went on to receive an honorary doctorate degree from Maryland Institute College of Art. He was also awarded the 2011 NASAD Citation for outstanding work and overall impact in the fields of art and design, as an author, educator, social activist, and designer. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York and California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
In 2003, John created Project M, an immersive program designed to inspire and educate young designers, writers, photographers, and filmmakers by proving that their work—especially their wrongest thinking—can have significant impact on communities. Project M has developed projects in Alabama, Baltimore, Connecticut, Costa Rica, Detroit, Germany, Ghana, Iceland, Kansas, Maine, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Oklahoma.
John collaborated with Alex and Ana Bogusky and Rob Schuham in 2010 to form COMMON, and most recently John has partnered with long-time collaborator Greg Galle to launch a new firm called FUTURE that helps
organizations unlock ingenuity to solve their greatest challenges.
Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson has been writing about architecture, design, and cities for over a decade. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Architect, Metropolis, Design Observer, and the Atlantic magazine’s CityLab site, among others.
From 2004-2007, Elizabeth was the editor of Urbanite magazine, and today she is a contributing editor with Architect. She has served as an editor for publications, such as Fast Company’s CoDesign site, Next City, and Metropolis.
In 2011, Elizabeth received the Roger D. Redden Award for individual achievement in the field of architectural writing from the Baltimore Architecture Foundation. Her article “Children of the Revolution” was named a Top 10 Public Interest Article for 2013.
She is a co-founder of D Center Baltimore, a nonprofit dedicated to design in Baltimore. Elizabeth also writes fiction, and her short fiction received a 2013 Pushcart Prize nomination.
Greg Galle is Executive Producer at Future Partners. He has been exploring how to improve lives through design and ingenuity for 30 years. Greg loves helping people create ingenious solutions to challenges—big and small—facing organizations, communities, society, and our planet.
Greg has collaborated on design, brand, and business books including The Brand Gap: How To Bridge The Distance Between Business Strategy and Design by Marty Neumeier; Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide by Brian Fugere; along with Mass Career Customization: Aligning The Workplace with Today’s Nontraditional Workforce and The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work by Cathleen Benko and Molly Anderson.
In the interest of furthering positive change, Greg is also an advisor to Fuse Corps and Project M and a board member of Not For Sale, the campaign to end slavery and human trafficking.
Greg says he was shocked (but made his mom, wife, and daughters proud) by being recognized in The 2014 GOOD 100.
M. A. Greenstein, PhD, aka "Dr. G" is an internationally recognized author, innovation strategist and thought leader in "whole-brain" learning systems. Dr. G. is wild about advancing the art & neuroscience of design thinking to impact the greater good. As the founder and CEO of GGI, a neuroconsulting / design thinking institute, Dr. G. leads a team that generates “brain smart/ mind awake” content for e-learning, training projects and offline neuroconsulting workshops and conferences for “youth” and “Military Vet” focused business and orgs in education, media and health working in the US, Asia and South America. A former Asia Pacific researcher of art and design cultures and a certified meditation teacher, Dr. G. is also an adjunct Assoc Prof at Art Center College of Design and thrilled to join the team of faculty advisors for the MICA Social Design Program.
Brenden Jackson is a Senior Writer at Gensler, a global design firm, where he helps to develop the organization’s storytelling, thought leadership, and research.
Though he writes extensively about architecture and interior design, he is especially interested in issues tied to urbanism—from the ways that planning and design shape urban experiences to the challenges that cities face on social, environmental, and planning issues. To that end, Brenden is part of a Gensler research team partnering with Columbia University to develop a toolkit for more sustainable and holistic urban planning strategies, particularly as they relate to socio-economic and environmental factors.
Brenden has also served as a contributing editor for the website Impact Design Hub, which covers social-impact design, and a as writer for Gannett Co., Inc., which is one of the nation’s leading media conglomerates. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Miami.
Based in St. Louis, MO, De Nichols serves as the Director & Principal Designer of Civic Creatives, an impact design studio that partners with communities to develop interactive experiences, tools, and initiatives that confront issues of racial inequity, social division, food insecurity, and civic disengagement.
As a cultural producer, Nichols creates digital media and visual artwork that extends the impact of her design practice. She is the visioning artist of the Mirror Casket (2014), a sculpture and performance created as protest art during the 2014 Ferguson uprising, which was collected by the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum for African-American History and Culture in 2016. Her projects such as Sticky Note to Self, Amongst Womxn (2016), and Not Just Anybody integrate art and social media to help audiences reflect and respond to cultural microagressions facing women, queer communities, and people of color. Through her leadership with these and other works, Nichols has been deemed a national Ideas that Matter recipient, a two-time Clinton Global Initiative innovator, and a St. Louis Visionary for her community impact. Most recently, she was named a 2017 Citizen Artist Fellow of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts with mentorship by esteemed cellist and educator, Yo Yo Ma.
Nichols is a national keynote presenter and lecturer, and she leads as the youngest member of the Board of Directors for Forward through Ferguson, the non-profit developed to hold the St. Louis region accountable to racial equity following the 2014 murder of Michael Brown. She chairs the Board of Directors for Creative Reaction Lab, which educates and equips Black and Latinx youth to foster design-based approaches to racial issues within schools and neighborhoods across the United States.
Nichols is an alum of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she specialized in communication design, social entrepreneurship, and socio-economic development. She is a John B. Ervin Scholar, Brown Scholar, and Enterprise-Rent-a-Car Scholar. Her efforts have been supported by the Clinton Global Initiative, Women’s Caucus for Art, Gephardt Institute for Public Service, Ideas that Matters, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, StartingBloc Fellowship for Social Innovation, Points of Light Civic Accelerator, Microsoft YouthSpark, and AshokaU Changemakers.
Henry Posko has been a social entrepreneur for over 30 years as CEO of Humanim. Serving 2000 individuals annually, Humanim’s core mission is creating opportunities for economic independence for those who have encountered obstacles to work. Through several social enterprises, individuals with disabilities, criminal backgrounds and those in poverty comprise Humanim staff and persons served.
Henry has presented Humanim’s work on social impact both nationally and internationally. In 2009 he joined a small group of experts on a poverty and workforce development exchange mission throughout Israel. In 2011 he presented at the Social Enterprise World Summit in Johannesburg on “Social Enterprise as a means of Job Creation” and in Los Angeles on “Social Impact in Disinvested Neighborhoods” at the Non-profit Centers Network National Conference. Henry also serves on the boards of the Horizon Foundation and Revere Bank.
is a leadership development innovator, manager, teacher and consultant. He is the Executive Director of The Leadership, the highly-regarded program of the Greater Baltimore Committee for future business, civic and government leaders. Sachs has worked in leadership development for 15 years with individuals and organizations across industries, geographies and cultures.
Currently, Sachs provides strategic consulting and leadership development, design and facilitation to private, public, and non-profit organizations, including Johns Hopkins University. He also teaches in Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation's blended executive development programs.
Prior to establishing his independent consultancy in 2011, Sachs was vice president and head of corporate learning and development at T. Rowe Price. Previously, he led Harvard Business School's Executive Education as executive director and co-led the launch of The Erickson School at UMBC as the school's first vice dean. Sachs earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Masters in Public Administration degree from Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA in History from Amherst College.
Joshua To is a Creative Director at Google, where he leads a team of designers, researchers and engineers to build the next generation of collaboration and productivity tools. At Google, Josh has also served as a business development consultant with Google.org.
Before Google, Josh founded Hattery, an early-stage venture capital fund and ideas and innovation lab that helps build products and organizations that promise to make remarkable impact.
Josh has always been interested in building extraordinary things across the intersection of design and technology.
He founded Brute in early 2006 to explore what impact a small group of passionate young people could have. Since its inception, the team has launched over 24 projects, which include implementing 150+ clean water projects in eight countries and distributing maps to the homeless to help them locate services available to them.
Josh holds B.A. degrees in Design and Communication Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles.
In 2013, Josh was listed as part of the GOOD 100 by GOOD Magazine, and he joined the advisory board of Design Ignites Change.
Co-founder of Tactical Tech, Marek is a restless producer of various creative and social interventions that span across various media: radio, television and internet; as well as those that utilise non technical formats, such as workshops, book sprints and endless conversations. Activism, innovation and creativity are the major driving forces in his work, as much as the importance of marginalised voices, opinions and world views.
Previously he co-founded The Second Hand Bank, as well as the International Contemporary Art Network, before Tactical Tech and recently Tactical Studios. He is currently focusing on producing interactive and static visualisations representing complex social and political issues; very recently he produced and directed a series of documentary films for Tactical Tech called Exposing the Invisible. In some spare time he produces a radio program titled Love & Chaos on Reboot FM.
Kalima Young is a doctoral student and instructor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her MA in Mass Communications at Towson University and a BA in Communications and Women Studies at Goucher College in Maryland. A Project Coordinator at the Maryland Institute College of Art and lecturer at Towson University, her research focuses on race and gender-based trauma in Black American identity and cultural production. Additionally, Young owns and operates Kubla Khan Productions, an independent video production company. She has produced two feature length horror films and several short-form documentaries for Equality Maryland and the ACLU of Maryland as well as, "It Gets Better, Baltimore," a collection of LGBT testimonials addressing the topics of teen bullying and suicide prevention. A former Open Society Institute Fellow, Ms. Young has a depth of experience in coalition building, anti-oppression training and project management.
Mike Youngblood is a cultural anthropologist working at the nexus of social science and human-centered design. His work challenges the conventional roles of social scientists and the people they study by regarding community stakeholders as subject matter experts and engaging them as co-designers of solutions that impact their lives. Mike’s diverse fieldwork topics have ranged from the decline of conventional resource management practices among North African camel herders, to the dynamics of social inclusiveness in rural Indian politics, to the achievement challenges of low-income students in U.S. public schools.
As a design consultant, Mike has worked with for-profit and not-for-profit clients around the world in a wide range of industries, including financial services, transportation, telecommunications, food and nutrition, education, healthcare, and social services. Prior to his current work with The Youngblood Group, Mike helped launch the San Francisco office of gravitytank, an innovation consultancy in Chicago and San Francisco, where he was an associate partner.
Mike holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and is a frequent speaker on topics of anthropology, design thinking, and collaborative change-making. In addition to MICA, he has taught at the School for International Training, the Haas School of Business at the University of California–Berkeley, and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University.
Dr. Wen Huei Chou is the Director of the Innovative Media Design Lab, and an Associate Professor, at the Digital Media Design School at National Yunlin University of Science and Technology in Taiwan. She was awarded a post-doctoral Fulbright Scholarship in order to spend September 2015 - June 2016 as a visiting scholar in MICA’s Center for Social Design, conducting research on social design education and practice in the USA.
Dr. Chou dedicates herself in the field of design research, with an emphasis on innovation and integration in new media design. Her current research focuses on innovative and transdisciplinary design in social practice. She has worked on both academic and industrial orientated projects, and collaborated on several international design and meta-discipline research projects.
Dr. Chou holds a Doctorate of Design from Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne, Australia), a Master of Applied Arts from National Chiao Tung University (Hsinchu, Taiwan) and a Bachelor of Arts from the Department of Arts and Design at National Hsinchu University of Education (Hsinchu, Taiwan)
Dr. Daniel Barcza is the Strategic Vice-Rector of Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design in Budapest, Hungary (MOME), one of the oldest design universities in Europe and the Director of Design Institute of MOME. As an associate professor he teaches design for sustainability, socially responsible design, eco-design and ecology at MOME’s master and doctorate schools. He is the co-founder of the university's sustainability research group, MOME EcoLab, which is involved in social design projects in Eastern-European rural villages and humanitarian design projects with UNHCR. As a visiting professor he teaches design thinking for MBA students at the Business School of Central European University. Daniel is a professional urban designer and sustainability consultant with several years of international experience in designing eco-cities around the world. But above all, being a devoted father of two young boys, Daniel is an expert in fire engines, excavators and teddy bear rescue operations both in theory and in practice.
Alison J. Clarke is Professor of Design History and Theory, at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and Director of the Victor J. Papanek Foundation in Vienna, Austria, whose most recent international symposium focused on the theme of ‘Emerging and Alternative Economies of Design’ (2013). Receiving a Masters with Distinction in Design History from the Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Clarke went on to gain a doctorate in social anthropology with Professor Daniel Miller at University College London.
She specializes in histories and ethnographic research concerning the politics and social relations of design and material culture, and is author of Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America (Smithsonian Press) and Design Anthropology: Object Culture in the 21st Century (Springer). Alison has presented in major BBC television series’ as a design expert including Home *(BBC 2) and *The Genius of Design *(BBC 2). She lectures internationally, and is co-founder and managing editor of the journal *Home Cultures: Architecture, Design and Domestic Space and publishes widely in both anthropological and design historical academic spheres. She is presently completing a monograph for MIT Press on Victor Papanek and 1970s design activism titled Victor Papanek: Designer for the Real World?
Bori Fehér is an architect and researcher working on the topic of resilience and adaptation. Her work focuses mainly on how social situations reflect the ability to change. She is especially interested in how design could act as a tool for creative innovation. Bori is the Program Director of MOME EcoLab, the Sustainabilty Research Group at Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design Budapest (MOME), which she co-founded in 2010. She is also a Research Fellow at MOME, where she is responsible for International Research and Development Projects. In 2012-2013, Bori lived in New York, where she worked as an architect at TEK Architects. She also worked on the Post Sandy Hurricane Reconstruction Project at Architecture for Humanity New York, and was a fellow at DesigNYC, where she was responsible for projects addressing the built environment.
Bori recieved MAs in Architectural Design and Design Management from MOME in 2010. Currently, she is working on her doctoral research on resilience and adaptation to climate change. Since 2011, she has been teaching courses on humanitarian design, design for disasters, as well as social and eco design. With her team of collegaues she won the Special Award for MILD-Home Sustainable Design Competition.
Liz Ogbu is a designer, urbanist, and social innovator. She is an expert on sustainable design and spatial innovation in challenged urban environments globally. From designing shelters for immigrant day laborers in the U.S. to leading a design workshop at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, Liz has a long history of engagement in the design for social impact movement. Currently, she has her own multidisciplinary consulting practice that works with nonprofits, municipalities, and companies to tackle wicked social problems through creative transformations of places, systems, and communities. Her clients include the Nike Foundation and PG&E. And her network of collaborators have been equally dynamic including the likes of HealthxDesign, envelope a+d, FOURM design+build, and Rebar.
Liz has been actively involved in shaping two of the world’s leading public interest design nonprofits. In 2011, she was part of the inaugural class of Innovators-in-Residence at IDEO.org, IDEO’s sister nonprofit dedicated to fostering global poverty reduction through design and innovation. Prior to that, she was Design Director at Public Architecture, a national nonprofit mobilizing designers to create social change.
She has taught at the California College of the Arts for several years, most recently holding an appointment as the inaugural Scholar in Residence at the school’s Center for Art and Public Life. She is also on faculty at UC Berkeley and Stanford’s d.school. Liz has also written for and been profiled in publications such as Places Journal, Metropolis, Core 77 and the Journal of Urban Design. Her work has also been widely exhibited, including at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Rotterdam Biennale and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Liz earned her Bachelor of Arts in architecture from Wellesley College and Master of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
Andréa Pellegrino is a Partner and Director of Social Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at World Studio. Her unique areas of expertise are in developing strategies, partnerships, programming and integrated communications that benefit society and allow clients to engage key audiences in lasting and meaningful ways. An acknowledged thought-leader in the growing field of community engagement, Andréa leads a series of workshops on funding social change and teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is also on the Executive Board of ICOGRADA, the world body for communications design.
Prior to joining World Studio, Andréa was the Director, Strategic Alliances, at AIGA, the professional association for design, where she worked with corporate, media and non-profit clients on strategic partnership programs and communicated the value of design to the business community, civic leaders, non-profit organizations and the general public. Previously, Andréa spent 15 years in the media field. On the management side, she led advertising and marketing teams for Jonas Publishing, MacMillan Publishing and, most recently, for Print and HOW magazines. Earlier in her career she worked for American Express Publishing and The New Yorker.
Andréa graduated with a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and attended the Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders program at Harvard University.
Doug Powell is a designer and studio lead at IBM in Austin, Texas where he is helping to build the vision for IBM Design, a global effort to bring design into one of the largest and most successful companies in the world. Prior to joining IBM in 2013, Doug was an independent designer, strategist and entrepreneur leading successful projects for a wide range of clients and collaborative partners in health and nutrition, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Lifescan, and Pepsico. Doug recently served as consulting Creative Director for HealthSimple, working in close collaboration with the Johnson & Johnson Global Design team.
Doug is the past national president of AIGA, the professional association for design. With more than 22,000 members in 66 local chapters, AIGA is the largest and oldest design organization in the country. He has been a leading force in the successful launch of Design for Good, the AIGA initiative to ignite, amplify, and accelerate design-driven social change.
Noel Wilson is a multi-skilled designer with a passion for creating quality communications, illustrations, systems and products. As the Lead Designer at Catapult Design, a pioneering nonprofit design firm that develops human-centered products and services to improve the lives of those who need it most, Noel spends the majority of his time immersed in projects, host communities, and multi-disciplinary teams addressing a broad range of design challenges. He frequently speaks at design conferences and events and has a broad range of previous experience, from rapid prototyping, technology R&D, playground design, design education, bicycle empowerment, to disabled/aged/child care.
Noel has lived and worked in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America and continues to love experiencing and exploring humanity and its diversity. Noel is driven by the belief that all demographics deserve an enjoyable existence, and should have access to the innovation and iteration tools to sustain and improve their lifestyles. During the day he focuses his design attentions on social empowerment but by night he makes toys, good food and bad jokes.
Noel has a Bachelor of Industrial Design with Honors from the University of South Australia (with an exchange to Carleton University, Ottawa) and a BA in Professional Writing and Communication also from the University of South Australia.
Current MA Students
Quinton Batts is a recent graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University and majored in small business start up and management with a certificate in venture creation. He worked for his hometown Recreation Center for 10 years, where he started to help improve his community and hope to continue while in Baltimore. He's originally from Dinwiddie, VA but has spent the last 6 years in Richmond. He enjoys being outside, traveling, and seeing new places. This is a start to a new chapter in life for him and he's excited to see what comes next.
Sarah received her BFA from the University of Montevallo with concentrations in Printmaking and Photography and a Minor in Environmental Studies. Throughout her undergraduate experience, Sarah found a voice through art and realized she wanted to use arts and design thinking to initiate positive social and environmental change. Since graduating, Sarah has pursued her interests in architecture and teaching art and has developed several community-driven projects. These experiences have merged and led to her current path of pursuing Social Design. Through MICA’s Social Design program, Sarah plans to expand her knowledge of how to be sensitive to and approach the needs of others through responsible design practices.
Interacting with people and her surroundings, reflecting on their emotions and experiences, and portraying their stories through different design styles like illustration and photography were Anushka's primary subjects during her Graphic Design study at Ecole Intuit Lab, Mumbai, India.
With a burning desire to contribute to the betterment of the society through empathy, thinking, and good design, Anushka has been working with non-profits for various social causes like mentorship, education, gender sensitivity, cultural stereotypes, and environmental sustainability. Currently, she is co-designing for a project called 'Ungendering Education' that aims to sensitize people on gender-biases that exist in Indian school textbooks.
An opportunity to study Social Design would help her identify and carve a path in improving the mental well-being of individuals. She believes in self-freedom, intuition, positive thinking, forgiveness, leadership and hopes to integrate these qualities through her journey at MICA to learn and create a meaningful impact.
Cameron Morgan is a visual storyteller and graphic designer based originally in Tennessee. She worked for two years as a designer under the Chattanooga Publishing Company's banner. Cameron continues to push her creative boundaries with collaborative efforts with the Chattanooga Film Festival and independent web design work which facilitates entrepreneurs and women-run businesses.
Her passion for social issues rose from a mixture of personal and professional experience. Her main interests lie in spacial hierarchy and tensions, particularly as they relate to land allocation and memoriam. She aims to understand how people interact with a changing landscape, how the land itself is impacted by community, and how to weave a narrative which honors that change and promotes a better understanding of that space.
Cameron holds a BA from UT Chattanooga in Communications and English: Professional Writing and Rhetoric.
Aylin is a design researcher and storyteller. She has experience in user experience, design research, strategic communications. She is a founding member of Turkey’s first transdisciplinary innovation platform, ATOLYE Istanbul. She worked and led various social impact and design projects in different sectors, such as empowering teachers, reviving Istanbul’s craftmanship culture, and creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem. She also led global system design projects developed for multinational corporations such as Mercedes-Benz and BNP Paribas.
With a degree in Sociology and experience in the media, she was involved in production processes of documentaries and corporate videos. She was also part of the scriptwriter team of Turkey’s first political satire TV show, Heberler, which was the first (and last) of its kind in Turkey.
She believes that MICA and the Social Design program will provide with her not only the coursework necessary to advance her skills, but a platform through which she can interact with a community of people who are dedicated to developing human-centered approaches that are focused on human stories and social impact.
Claudia Norena has studied Graphic Design at Colegiatura Colombiana in Colombia where she was deeply involved in intensive research at college, developing several high quality projects that impacted and benefited the design field in Medellin, the city she was born in.
As a thesis in college, she designed a specific project aimed toward aiding the homeless native/indigenous community, which had a very positive outcome. The project named “Kabai” consisted in promoting the sale of crafts made by the native community through a website, with the objective of enlightening visitors/customers about the native community and their history.
From her experiences working with these and other social projects, she has gained a unique perspective of understanding social issues and how graphic design can help to promote solutions.
Jessica Sanders is an advocate for respecting individual autonomy and a believer in the unconventional. Her most recent role before her acceptance into MICA’s Social Design Master’s Degree program was as a Traumatic Brain Injury Medicaid Waiver Case Manager for the Brain Injury Association of Maryland. While in this position, she utilized a person-centered approach and collaborated with service provider care teams to help Medicaid clients design a plan for achieving their annual goals.
Jessica previously focused on improving public health as an undergraduate student at Towson University, leading both exercise classes and an Art and Soul art therapy collage workshop while interning at the Joy Wellness Center in Baltimore City. In 2016, she was awarded a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science.
In attending MICA's School of Social Design, Jessica hopes to build on her successes in designing person-centered care plans to achieve similar results on a larger scale: designing community focused initiatives. Person Centered Planning is a goal-forming strategy that focuses on an individual’s strengths rather than their deficits. Person Centered Planning shares similar objectives to Human Centered Design as it focuses on the individual’s wants and needs, placing them before the interests of the planning team. Jessica views Human Centered Design as an opportunity to generate creative solutions with members of a community. For this reason, she is ready to work alongside community members, fellow students, and professionals of social design and other fields to bring a community’s vision to life and to explore the true meaning of designing in the interest of the common good.
Graduated with sociology major, and have been working in non-profit organizations for 7 years, I enjoy discovering the structural backgrounds of different issues.
I love learning and sharing with people of all ages, believing education is a critical element that leads to social changes. However, I’m not ready to become a school teacher, instead, I want to put myself in a position where I can always strike a balance between learning and sharing. I believe design-thinking methods can provide me with the skills and opportunities to stay where I want to be, and always have the drives and tools to make changes. I will learn more about other people and the world through empathy and observation, and I can share my ideas and actions via the process of ideation and implementation.
Coming from a three year stretch as a Digital Graphic Designer, in the email marketing industry; Levi joins the MASD cohort with a diverse and varied creative background. Having completed a small amount of work across a wide array of disciplines, Levi pulls on his experiences from print, publication, digital, UI/UX, web, email, photography, videography, and motion graphics, to leverage success towards his future endeavors. Levi holds to the belief that there is some pure and intrinsic value in trying to reshape the world, even and especially if, it is truly beyond saving. Attracted to the Social Design program for its breadth of work and practical applications, Levi comes to gain more practice in creative problem solving, become involved with more inter/multi-disciplinary projects and deepen his study of design and its place in the modern world.
Megan has a decade of experience applying qualitative research and design thinking to systemic problems. Driven by a desire for collective liberation, Megan seeks work that has the potential to address inequitable power structures. Megan’s work has included grassroots led impact investment, community based harm reduction, relationship based direct services, climate change mitigation, gender-based violence prevention, and patient-centered healthcare. Megan has applied skills in research, analysis, collaboration, impact measurement, and global team management at Ashoka (a global network of social entrepreneurs), the World Bank, startups, social enterprises, and community based organizations. Megan lived in Rwanda for three years and was part of the start up team of Inyenyeri, a renewable energy and clean cookstove company. Megan earned a Bachelor’s degree with honors from the Public Policy department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Study focus areas included qualitative research, social entrepreneurship, and the negative consequences of international development.
Vilde is an Urban Ecological Planner and Geographer specialized in informality, participatory planning processes and resilience. Following her passion for sustainability and action research, Vilde is currently a Master of Arts candidate in Social Design at the Maryland Institute College of Arts.
Vilde was the recipient of a full scholarship to study at the Mahindra United World College of India and has since worked for non-profit and academic organizations worldwide. These include the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Environmental Information Systems Africa (EIS-Africa) and the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE), India. She has also served as a mentor to Engineers Without Borders Student Chapter, NTNU LiveStudio and as the coordinator for the Norwegian Refugee Council's Innovation Challenge.
Using Communications as a tool for social change and advocating for the rights, choices and dignity of the vulnerable has been a driving force in Aditi’s association with various Non-Profits spanning over 4 years. As a Communications Manager, Aditi has not just interacted with diverse stakeholders across the globe, but also has a first-hand understanding of the ground realities owing to her multiple field experiences.
Having worked with different organizations in India that address issues such as Water Crisis, Climate Change, Gender Disparity, Human Trafficking, and the like, the desire to create a more tangible form of change is what has inspired her to be a part of the Social Design program. She wishes to explore various tools to better utilize her background in Sociology and post-graduation in Mass Communication from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication to design a larger impact and strengthen the existing systems to deliver better.
Cecilia majored in graphic design during the undergraduate in China. She was fascinated with the relationship between the individual destiny and the types of society. A short documentary film called “Fairs” has been made in her junior year to record the the life of floating people in Beijing. And she took a series of photographs to record the deporting of thousands of floating people.
She chose only-child policy as the topic of her graduation project. The final work “Documents” was an installation art built up with the original files and materials from 1950 to 2018. The materials constituted a tower of information which could be read randomly. She tried to guild the audience into this space of different subjects of history.
During the study in MASD, Cecilia wants to focus on the social adaptation of floating people and immigrants in the western country.
Protecting how people live, advocating for who they love, and defending what they do (or do not) believe in is what inspires and motivates Franki and what serendipitously brought her to this program last year. While having a background in English writing, studio art, graphic design, and always creatively inclined, Franki found her calling in interfaith advocacy in 2013 after being recruited into DePauw University’s Interfaith Council program.
Serving as their Unitarian Universalist chairwoman and being fortunate enough to attend the Parliament of World Religions in 2015 trained Franki to provide her campus and peers with opportunities for interfaith dialogue and education about the vast number of faith and non-faith traditions that shape our society today. This has, in turn, formed Franki into an untiring advocate for social change and humanitarian cooperation across many, many diverse causes due to the multifaceted connection that faith and non-faith alike have to many of the world’s grievances.
She has worked closely with organizations such as the United Religions Initiative (URI North America) and her capabilities make her a strong and unique addition to the MASD’s already distinct talent.
Jennifer Begazo is driven by her love of adventure, learning, and travel. Her experiences volunteering in an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, studying abroad in Paris, France, serving a Dutch-speaking eighteen-and-a-half-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Belgium and the Netherlands, and conducting ethnographic research in several slums throughout Hyderabad, India has cultivated her belief that lasting change and progress happens through good design.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a minor in French, peoples and cultures have remained the center of her focus when it comes to design and development. Her various work experiences in The American Museum of Natural History, The New York Botanical Garden, and Lumière Productions influenced her passions of research, innovation, and social change. Her future aspirations, with the help and direction of the MASD program, will be directed towards helping women and children recovering from abuse.
Ashley K Eberhart is a social entrepreneur and advocate for more inclusive, powerful storytelling around social impact. She comes to MICA from Dalberg, where as a project manager, she led interdisciplinary teams in strategy, design, and storytelling projects for clients like GE, USAID, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Through nearly a decade of working in social change around the world, Ashley has had the opportunity to collaborate with organizations in sectors ranging from global health to gender equality, small business development to Native American legal rights. Her engagement with using design methodologies for social impact truly emerged when she co-founded a social enterprise called Pasand, which has developed and delivered interactive adolescent health education to more than 5,000 young people across South Asia.
During her undergraduate work at Princeton University, Ashley combined her training in political science with her background in the arts to work on collaborative projects in community-based mural art, sustainability, and entrepreneurial innovation. She hopes to further explore the intersection between these disciplines at MICA.
Ashley splits her time between NYC and Baltimore, and fortunately does much of her best thinking on trains. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Instagram, and occasionally Twitter.
A Graphic Designer by trade, Steffanie Espat has a passion for all things art, with experience ranging from exhibit design and curation to hip-hop dance.
In her undergraduate career at the University of Maryland, Steffanie was Vice President and subsequently President of AIGA UMD, performed and held creative leadership positions with Dynamic Dance Team and Culture Shock D.C., and was voted Creative Director of her concentration’s year-long social design project, “SeeMe: More Than How I Look.”
After earning her B.A. in Studio Art with a Concentration in Graphic Design, Steffanie went on to work as a graphic designer for the ONE Campaign and her alma mater. She is excited to start a new academic chapter at MICA, and to study and gain hands-on experience in Baltimore with this year’s MASD cohort.
Valeria Fuentes is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer based in
Baltimore. She is passionate about addressing social issues through art
and design platforms specifically regarding issues of addressing food
equity, racial justice, and immigration. She recently received her BFA in
Architectural Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Within her
practice she constantly challenged the extent to which architecture affects
people’s lives in Baltimore City. Since she was born in Cochabamba,
Bolivia and moved to Baltimore at a young age, she has been seeking
opportunities to bring her culture and identity as a Latina into her work in
the context of living in Baltimore City. Her most recent projects include
founding an after-school cooking program called Kinetic Kitchen, which
focuses on healthy eating, and her thesis that consisted of organizing a 9
hour event in April called SOMOS Latinx Art and Culture Festival where
she was able to bring in Baltimore based performers and makers from all
disciplines and regions of Latin America. Valeria will continue finding ways
to challenge existing systems in place through the power of art and design.
She is really excited about continuing her education at MICA because she
knows that this exactly the kind of experience and education she needs to
fully realize her potential as an artist and designer in the world.
MaeAnna Hassell is a leader focused on organized information sharing and strategic development. She is eager to be a part of MICA’s Social Design program because she believes in the collaborative approach needed to implement social change and solve social issues. With experience in student advocacy at the Pennsylvania State University and access to influence working with Maryland’s General Assembly, MaeAnna hopes her experience at MICA leads to sustainable programming and legislation that benefits underserved communities, especially in the City of Baltimore.
Inspired by world renowned activists like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and local legends like Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, MaeAnna intends to leave an indelible mark of conscious change by contributing to equity initiatives designed to evoke thought to provoke change at a local level. MaeAnna also likes visiting art galleries, learning new things, and attending outdoor music festivals.
Mengru grew up in Shanghai and received her Bachelor’s degree of Arts from Renmin University of China in Beijing.
During the four-year undergraduate study, she worked actively in NGO field (mainly on LGBT issues) and her social work was centered on campus multi-culture advocacy. She was a core member of LGBT Peer Mentorship Program team and the leader in serial campus activities of Beijing LGBT Center. These experiences largely influenced her values.
After graduation she became an art teacher, and still continued working with local NGO groups. However, things are urging her to do more as a designer, she believes that the power of design is limitless and needs to be explored.
Through the MASD program, she is gonna broaden her domains and explore more entry points of design into social impact.
Kate has served and worked in several community organizations and schools in Baltimore City for nearly 10 years. She has experience designing, developing, and managing programs to run and support volunteer management, youth advocacy, community outreach, and cross-sector collaboration.
Kate loves working with others to explore and create engaging, effective, and relevant programs, systems, and processes.
Kate grew up in Towson, Maryland, just north of Baltimore City and attended Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, where she received a B.A. in Global Studies and French.
Keerthana’s love for designing social change started during her undergrad years while working on a classroom project to promote adoption. The project, through trial and error, highlighted the idea that social change can’t be brought about by merely focusing on an isolated group, but by targeting all the factors affecting it. This idea has been central to all of her design work since.
She graduated from DJ Academy of Design, India, majoring in Communication Design. Since then, she has created a navigation system for an Amusement Park in Chennai and worked as a UX/UI designer, designing systems of websites and apps with Beard Design, Mumbai. She has also been pursuing studies in psychology to better understand and empathize with the recipients of the design product.
Kimberly believes in designing for impact and is dedicated to driving positive change. Originally from New York, she graduated Cum Laude from the University at Albany with a BA in English and Philosophy in 2012. Shortly after, she moved to Baltimore and has been proud to call the city home ever since.
For the last few years, Kimberly worked for a national nonprofit, Playworks, helping to expand their play movement to reach 3.5 million kids by 2020. Through her work leading service projects and designing school beautifications, she developed a strong passion for collaboration and community engagement.
She is excited to continue her work at MASD where she will focus on urban design, community-driven development and sustainability in Baltimore City.
Hannah graduated cum laude with a BS in Marketing from the University of Maryland. As a Strategic Design and Innovation Fellow, she merged marketing strategies with design techniques. She was also the Graphic Design and Marketing Intern for the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. After graduating, Hannah worked for Pearson where she used instructional design methods to create online learning experiences. She started practicing yoga and meditation, which eventually led her on a new trajectory. She traveled for eight months through India, Southeast Asia and Taiwan and had a range of experiences from teaching English and yoga to living on self-sustaining organic farms to attending silent meditation retreats.
Hannah aims to meld her design thinking skills with her mindfulness practices and varied artistries to expand individual and global consciousness. She is specifically interested in exploring ways to combat the negative implications of growing technology platforms in regards to mental health and overall wellbeing.
Christina is a graphic designer who’s passion lies in achieving positive social change with design as a tool. Double majoring in Visual Communication Design and Social Welfare in her undergraduate studies, she learned each field’s limitations and wondered what she could do to merge those two disciplines to overcome the boundaries. By being inspired and challenged through her graduate study in Social Design, Christina expects to expand her understanding and experience in the field and mature as a socially responsible designer.
Christina dreams of a world where all lives are rightfully treated by living in harmony. During her study in MICA, Christina wants to focus her study on healthier social cultural values and marginalized populations.
Matt Barr’s career as a changemaker began to take shape during his years at Marquette University. While studying supply chain management and entrepreneurship, he started a student organization that became instrumental in embedding a culture of social innovation into the university’s classrooms and campus life. From there, Matt’s interest led him to work at Ashoka, the world's largest network of social entrepreneurs, where he was involved in creating shared value collaborations between the corporate and citizen sectors. Born and raised in central Wisconsin, Matt made his home in Milwaukee, before moving to Washington DC. Through the MASD program, he is interested to learn how design can create partnerships with urban neighborhoods, enabling others to develop their own communities, the way they see fit. During his down time, you can find Matt home brewing craft beer, playing frisbee golf, and exploring all that the cities surrounding him have to offer.
Thesis: How might we build local economies that align with the needs of residents in high-vacancy neighborhoods?
Denise Shanté Brown is a designer and wholehearted advocate for the mental and emotional wellbeing of oppressed communities. Rooted in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, she received her BFA in Graphic Design at The Art Institute of Atlanta in 2012. Her growing curiosity about the generation of deep change later evolved her visual background into an experiential practice of designing and facilitating empathic experiences in public spaces.
Through co-creation with imaginative changemakers in the south, Denise has held reflective space for interventions around integrated inclusivity, creative power, personal storytelling, human rights awareness, and radical self-acceptance. She values her intuitive introversion and honors the ways in which conscious, compassionate activism inspires her actions toward personal, collective, and systemic change. Denise will continue disrupting societal pressures and exploring how art and design can be realized as transformative tools for healing, with the capacity to mobilize people-powered impact.
Thesis: How might we cultivate a compassionate culture that supports the mental wellbeing of Black women?
Jayne graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Studio Art and a concentration in Graphic Design, as well as a degree in History. As an undergraduate, she worked alongside students at Augusta Fells Savage Institute for Visual Arts who were directly impacted by the Baltimore Uprisings. Maryland and Augusta Fells students worked together to create an exhibit at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum that addresses the one-sided media portrayal of the events, and discusses the realities of the students’ lives from their perspective. Determined to combine her passion for social science and design, Jayne applied to the MASD program at MICA immediately after graduating from Maryland. She aims to use her illustrations and graphic design skills to support social causes and to use design thinking to create positive social change.
Thesis: How might we work together to confront waste management inequality across neighborhood boundaries?
Maria grew up in Tampa, Florida after her family relocated from Colombia in 1999. She moved to Baltimore in 2011 to attend Johns Hopkins University where she received her BA in International Studies with a minor in Economics. During her time at Johns Hopkins, Maria spent a semester abroad at Sciences Po, Paris, and received a travel grant to conduct research on urban agriculture in Copenhagen.
In Baltimore, Maria interned at the International Rescue Committee and became an Urban Arts Leadership Program (UALP) Fellow through the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. As an UALP Fellow, she was placed with Maryland Citizens for the Arts where she gained experience advocating for public art funding at the state and national level. After graduating in 2014, Maria worked for Central Baltimore Partnership, a community development nonprofit, where she managed their community grant programs and worked on projects in transportation and creative placemaking.
She’s excited to study and work with MASD, her classmates, and MICA to continue exploring ways that art and design can be used as a tool for community development and engagement.
Thesis: How might we support Latinx youth and families reach higher education?
Smile is not yet sure what her exact profession is. Born and raised in the Philippines, she finished her degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Information Design, from the Ateneo de Manila University in 2010 where she also taught Visual Communications and Art History for 6 years.
She has also worked as a Senior Designer (and eventually, Creative Director) for the Communications Office of the President of the Philippines. Having worked for President Aquino and key members of his Cabinet for four years, she has discovered her passion for design and strategic communications to further specific causes like transparency and accountability in governance. Her current body of work focuses in print and web design but she is hoping to expand her knowledge in design strategy.
Thesis: How might we build trust between the Baltimore Police and all Baltimore neighborhoods?
Devika is a Visual Communication Designer from India. After graduating in Animation Film Design she moved to the colorful, chaotic city of Mumbai to work on a varied number of projects ranging from animation, film, print, websites, apps and brands. However, after working the field for a few years she felt the need to broaden her understanding of design and work on projects that had a larger impact. This what drew her to the MA in Social Design program at MICA.
She believes that a designer’s role should extend beyond making things look pretty and that design, in whatever form, should be fluid and lend itself to any discipline, subject or problem. With a blend of curiosity, understanding of cultural diversity and a keen desire to explore design-led innovation in society, Devika is excited to begin her journey.
Thesis: How might we connect resources to social entrepreneurs outside the privileged inner circle?
As an architect, Naeeme Mohammadi believes that architecture has the potential to turn social challenges into outstanding advantages. During thirteen years of professional practice, Naeeme’s main concern was realizing users' contribution in the design process, finding out their real needs and questing to fulfill those needs. Seeking to expand her knowledge about the community engagement in shaping the environment, she was drawn to the MASD program.
She was engaged in small- to large-scale community design projects from urban planning and design to buildings layouts. Leading a design studio in Iran during the last six years, she was involved in the whole process from client assessment, schematic design, to construction stages. This gave her an adequate conception of the design to build process. Additionally, she has a solid background in research due to her two rewarded projects; “Deployable Emergency Structures” and “Biomimicry in Architecture”. Naeeme obtained her master of architecture from Shahid Beheshti University.
Thesis: How might we ensure that neighborhood revitalization benefits local residents?
Patricia is most passionate about body image, seeing it as a huge social issue as 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies in some way. Utilizing her years of research experience as a Psychobiology graduate from UCLA focusing on food psychology and eating disorders, she aims to educate people about the biological, psychological, and social aspects of this issue.
Patricia plans to do this through design due to its ability to make complex science more accessible and digestible for the public. She has served as a graphic designer for Recovery Warriors, Body Image Movement, Cornell Food and Brand Lab, UCSD Eating Disorder for Treatment and Research, and USNC for UN Women.
Enraged by the media’s portrayal of unattainable standards of beauty which contributes to this global epidemic of body dissatisfaction, Patricia aspires to eventually influence the advertising industry by creating socially responsible designs that encourage body positivity.
Molly Reddy was born in Waukesha, WI, and went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a BS in Community & Nonprofit Leadership, as well as a degree in Latin American Studies.
Prior to MICA, Molly has worked on a social entrepreneurship project in Curitiba, Brazil; at a youth workforce development program in Milwaukee, WI; and for an international development firm in Washington, DC. She also spent 3 years living in Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer and then as a consultant to the National Planning Ministry. In Paraguay she managed national youth leadership and creativity initiatives, and also worked on the launch of Arovia, Paraguay’s first national volunteer service program.
Her interests include human-centered design, co-creation, community and youth development, service delivery, and line dancing. Molly is a StartingBloc Fellow, a member of the International Development Innovation Network, and the VP of Program Strategy on the board of Zero Violencia.
Thesis: How might we reimagine short-term jobs to create long-term career pathways for youth?
Rachel Serra grew up in Northeast Ohio and is a recent graduate from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor’s degree in graphic communication design and a minor in art history. Over the course of multiple internships, she gained experience in advertising, environmental design, digital/interaction design, and designing for an art auction house. As a student, she worked with two different non-profit companies, a local Cincinnati permaculture organization and a Senegalese incubator for technical training, businesses, and new technologies and solutions for the region. These experiences expanded her idea of what a designer could be and how design could be used in the real world.
She enjoys problem solving and designing for a variety of media and purposes, and would ultimately like to use her time and talent to explore issues dealing with sustainability, public health, the acceptance of other cultures and practices, and animal welfare. When not thinking about design, Rachel likes to eat too much dessert and spend all her money on concert tickets and vinyl.
Thesis: How might we create a campus community that supports survivors of sexual assault?
Irina Wong is passionate about design elegance, ethics, the triple bottom line, cognition, sociology, and the sense of community and belonging. She strives to work at the juncture of all those domains at MICA.
Prior to her graduate studies, Irina's career focused on the field of built environments. Her experience in both the design and technological facets of architecture and structural engineering helped shape her passion for investigating the nature of design collaboration between people and technology. Meanwhile, a research grant led her to study the larger social impacts of our built environment. These topics include the role of philanthropy within design and the myriad of influences designers exert on our society. This ignited her pursuit to examine these concepts at MICA.
In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing, dancing, and volunteering as a counselor for the Crisis Text Line.
Thesis: How might we make “corporate social responsibility” a corporate social responsibility?
Mimi (Jingmei) Yang grew up in the southwestern part of China (where the pandas are from!). She is a designer always in the exploration of different design approaches from diverse aspects. Mimi received her Bachelors’s degree in Landscape Architecture from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After graduation, she worked as a landscape designer in the midwest. Her volunteer experience of being a special education art teacher has inspired her to promote legibility and empathetic art appreciation in design. She hopes to contribute to positive impact in the society and design for people’s welfare. Mimi loves alternative music and literature, as well as Japanese anime.
Thesis: How might we activate community public space to connect people?
Kayla Ingram is a globetrotting gypsy. Her roots are planted in her hometown, Baltimore, Maryland but she has had the pleasure to call other places such as Nicaragua, the island of Antigua, Guatemala, Philadelphia and North Carolina her home. Kayla was plunged into the world of graphic design her sophomore year at Temple University where she studied Strategic Communications (B.A.), International Business and Spanish. Since then she's had the pleasure of doing freelance graphic design, creative direction and strategic planning for a myriad of organizations such as the Southern Baptist Association, Under Armour Corporate and Granada, Nicaragua's premier Spanish Language school, Casa Xalteva Language and Cultural Center.
Kayla has a passion for people, but is especially interested in unearthing new ways, to advance the Black and Brown communities through design.
Thesis: How might we build Black power in Baltimore?
Diamond started her design career as a visual journalist at The Washington Post. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., she sharpened her storytelling skills starting as a summer intern in 2008. Designing and editing news, narrative and alternative story forms over several sections for the past seven years has shaped they way she understands people, existing societal structures and has heightened her interest to impact change in underserved and marginalized communities. Since 2010, Diamond volunteers as a lead mentor for teenage girls at her church in Maryland. Through the MASD program, she strives to be a philanthropic entrepreneur with a focus on advocacy and rehabilitative resources for youth affected by parental substance abuse.
Thesis: How might we make public housing "home"?
Esther Y. Kang was born in Detroit, MI, and has resided in the midwest, west coast, and Texas. She attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a B.F.A. in photography and new media.
Prior to MICA, Esther worked in arts management, first with The Art Institute of Chicago, and later with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Afterwards, Esther served as Program Manager at the Durfee Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Los Angeles. During her tenure at the foundation, Esther was also Founding Chair of a mentorship program for millennials working in L.A.’s social sector, and Advisor to Art Center College of Design where she was Adjunct Faculty.
Her interests include behavioral economics, teen popular culture, and online/offline civic engagement. When she is not obsessing over these topics, she is hiking new trails, watching legal drama TV series, or trying hole-in-the-wall eateries.
Thesis: How might we guarantee the inclusion of immigrant-owned micro-businesses in community development?
Demi has a background in architecture with an interest in multiple mediums. His goal with the MASD program is to learn as much from his peers and professors as possible while getting guidance on how to turn his passion for community development and increasing opportunities for unprivileged and ignored children into something more structured and feasible. Demi is originally from NY but has been in Baltimore for a while. He likes long walks on the beach... Just joking, he hates the beach.
Thesis: How might we give ignored Black youth the opportunity to learn about and pursue Architecture?
Peggy (Szu-yin) received a BA in Business Administration from National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan in 2010. She has since worked in both for-profit and non-profit organizations in Taiwan and the US. Szu-yin is interested in artistic, social and cultural issues and is excited about solving problems with sustainable and innovative solutions based on the understanding and preservation of local history and culture. To Szu-yin, social benefit for the public is more powerful and exciting than private profit for a small group of people. In this vein, she hopes to combine her business background with social design study and make a better contribution to the world.
Thesis: How might we leverage existing businesses to incentivize southwest Baltimore residents to patronize Hollins Market?
Olivia grew up in Columbus, OH, and earned a BFA in Graphic Design from Ohio Northern University. The summer following graduation, she worked as a Communications Officer at Prakash Deep, a nonprofit school for underprivileged children in Faridabad, Haryana, India. In addition to her role as a Communications Officer, she also taught a self-defense class for the students.
Upon returning to the states, she worked as a Graphic Designer at Angell-Demmel NA, specializing in creating decorative aluminum, automotive interior trim. Eager to have more of a positive impact on the world, Olivia was drawn to the Social Design MA at MICA. Olivia is determined to grow both personally and professionally every day and to create change in the world around her. Some of her passions include creating a better future for underprivileged children, improving patient care, and promoting the adoption of rescue animals like her two sweet dogs.
Thesis: How might we support the efforts of rare disease patient organizations?
Kristin earned a B.A. in Psychology at The College of Wooster and a Master's in Social Work from George Mason University. She has a passion for helping people through mediums of behavioral health, research, and human-centered design. She had the great fortune of combining her skill-set in service of diverse populations through her work at GMU's Center for Psychological Services, the National Institutes of Health, and Booz Allen Hamilton. Kristin is excited to bring the unique combination of empathy-driven designed solutions with analytically-sound and evaluated implementation to those in need.
Thesis: How might we reduce the impact of implicit racial bias?
Julia Passik grew up in Queens, New York and received her BA in Communication from SUNY Geneseo. As a student, she worked on many community outreach programs and marketing initiatives, included a revitalization program for the town of Springwater and an interactive cultural exchange program for students in Geneseo, New York and El Sauce, Nicaragua. For the past three years, Julia has worked for the New York Yankees in the Non-Baseball Events and Corporate Sales and Sponsorships departments. Julia is thrilled to continue her studies in Social Design and further explore how design and the design process can be used to develop innovative solutions that benefit society.
Thesis: How might we form an immediately effective medical response team of ever-changing members?
Carly grew up in Baltimore and is passionate about this city. They majored in Earth Systems (an interdisciplinary environmental studies program) at Stanford University, eventually focusing on the concept of sustainability as one that must include social equity. TA-ing an urban sustainability course connected them with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AMP), a San Francisco based mapping/data visualization and storytelling collective. After graduating, Carly interned with AMP and spent the summer of 2014 protesting no-fault evictions, interviewing folks who faced evictions and helping curate a zine of people's stories, writings and art. Carly learned from the mapping project's tireless resistance building against the rampant displacement taking place in the Bay Area and they continue to organize for housing justice since moving back to Baltimore. Carly wants to continue using art and design to raise critical consciousness and bring people together to combat the many systems of oppression that limit us, including exploring how design can be part of giving communities a platform or resources to make decisions and demands.
Thesis: How might we support Baltimore's returning citizens in their transition home?
As an undergraduate in design at Western Washington University, Caitlin aimed to understand the power of messaging and branding in a political context and apply it to social and environmental issues. Through her work with sustainable building, government transparency and public arts mapping organizations, Caitlin has evolved from a print designer to a web designer working in user experience design, project management and front-end development. Most recently, she has served as creative director for the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit that uses technology to advocate for government transparency.
Right now, Caitlin is considering scale. Climate change, where global buy-in and sweeping behavioral change are necessary to make a significant impact, is dependent on scalability. How can collaboratively designed solutions to specific and localized problems act as prototypes for a healthy global future and how do those ideas and methods get translated in a way that allows them to transplant into new economies and new cultures.
Thesis: How might we realize a healthy & balanced ecosystem in the Jones Falls Valley?
Justin Wuetcher is a sociologist and designer based in Louisville, Ky holding a B.A. in Graphic Design from Western Kentucky University and is a candidate for an M.A. in Sociology from WKU. He is passionate about education, sociolinguistics, and intercultural communication, especially when these interest merge and involve the Deaf community. Recently, Justin has worked as a body-mind wellness ambassador in the Louisville community, founding and opening one of the first Bowspring “yoga” studios in the country.
Thesis: How might we reframe d|Deafness as a valued contribution to the workplace?
Maged earned a Bachelor of Art in Visual Arts from the American University of Cairo and a Certificate in Web design from the University of Washington in Seattle. He is interested in web applications and social media as a tool in solving social problems. He worked as a visual designer, designing brands, coding sites, and directing Ad campaigns with young startups and non-profit organizations.
To Cary, good design is all about education. While working as a graphic and architectural designer on projects for BCT Architects, Metropolitan Partnership, Under Armour, Saks Fifth Avenue and others, Cary has maintained a steady stream of experience in education for the past four years.
He has worked with children for DC’s OSSE School Garden Specialist and his affiliates, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, and Living Classrooms. Cary has also worked with adults on projects that include designing a community vegetable garden as part of a transitional housing project in North St. Louis and in partnership with the Baltimore Police cadet program at Outward Bound.
In all these experiences, Cary’s educational philosophy is centered self-discovery, self-expression, and mental and physical health. Working simultaneously as a designer has provided a lot of opportunities for him to discover the potential of design for education and the importance of education in design.
Eva Fury grew up in Seattle, WA, and earned a BA in Studio Art from Bard College. She is an artist and a youth ultimate frisbee coach. Among other positions, Eva has recently worked as a graphic designer, a legal assistant, a substitute teacher, and an afterschool program leader. She is passionate about working with themes of social justice, youth empowerment, art making, and athletic activity. Eva believes that good design comes from community-centered collaboration and intersectional analysis.
Kenny is a commercial storyteller and a personal branding coach seeking to intervene in more challenging social issues with his talent. With key management experience from top ad agencies in Africa and his proprietary storytelling tool, he has led a consortium of brand experience specialists to work on brands in the non-profit, telecom, fashion and finance sectors.
Kenny has a B.A in English Arts from Nigeria’s premier university, Obafemi Awolowo University, and a certificate in Advertising from AAA School of Advertising in Cape Town, South Africa. He is renowned for creating Africa's 1st Brand Experience School, Orange Academy, where he inspires a new generation of creatives, socialpreneurs and social activists to impact humankind with their arts. He is often referred to on social media as "The Brand Muse." Through the MASD program, Kenny will be looking at how Designs can help curb new HIV infections and empower the most at-risk population (MARP), particularly the gay community in Maryland.
Merrell Hambleton earned her BA in History from Columbia University. Following graduation, she worked at Creative Time, a New York-based nonprofit that produces public art projects. At Creative Time, she worked on fundraising, writing and editing in support of major public art projects tied to social justice issues, including Immigrant Movement International (2011) and Living as Form (2011).
After Creative Time, Merrell worked as a studio manager and producer for Steve Powers, a New York-based artist whose work is frequently commissioned for public spaces. With Powers, she has worked on several public and private commissions, including an upcoming public project in Baltimore, and assisted with his recent book, Love Letter to the City—a history of Powers' public art work.
Merrell is interested in the politics of place, place-making and how individuals create a sense of home in urban spaces. While at MICA, she is interested in exploring the ways that art and design can impact and shape these issues.
Emily received her BFA in Graphic Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She worked in Philadelphia for six years as a graphic designer and art director, creating graphic identities and branding materials for a range of local and global clients.
After moving back to Rochester, Emily spent three years teaching Public & Social Service Design at RIT where students were teamed up with local nonprofits. Most recently, she worked in Advancement Communications at University of Rochester developing print and online materials for fundraising initiatives.
Emily serves on the board for Girls Rock! Rochester, a nonprofit summer music camp for girls that works to build self-confidence and leadership skills through music creation and performance. She handles their year-round marketing needs as their volunteer Creative Director and teaches the band art workshop during the week of camp.
Her interests include psychology, emotional intelligence, social justice, music, and food.
Born in Kenya, Patrick grew up living in Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Thailand, Uganda, the US, Ireland and Nepal. He has seen, firsthand, the prospects for the future of community leadership in emerging economies. Patrick is a firm believer that social enterprise can drive local communities to collaboratively design and implement strategies for sustained development. As a StartingBloc Fellow, he is an active member of the social entrepreneurship community. Patrick co-founded ThinkImpact, an education travel company offering university students, faculty, and young professionals full immersion programs in rural Africa and South America. He also served as a strategic consultant to Moneythink, a non-profit working to restore the economic health of disadvantaged youth in the United States through financial education. During the summer of 2014, he completed the Wendt Partners Digital Business Fellowship, an intensive 90-day introduction to digital business focused on social media strategy, buyer personas in marketing, customer relationship management and social selling. Patrick earned his B.A. in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication with a minor in Philosophy from James Madison University in Virginia.
Missan earned a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from her hometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She continued her design studies and received a master’s degree from Florence Design Academy in Italy. Her focus during the master’s program was on projects that creatively stirred social consciousness.
After her cross-continent move to Toronto in 2011, Missan received a post-graduate degree in Design Management, where she was awarded the Design Management Award for her social design project in Urban Planting. The project addressed indoor air quality in condominiums.
Through her international studies and travels, Missan gained a broad understanding of global, social and cultural issues pertaining to design. She strives to integrate design thinking methods and strategies into creative projects that focus on the role of design in serving the public health sector and generating public awareness.
A North Carolina native, Cally studied at the University of North Carolina and University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Her experience includes a blend of business management, finance and advertising. Cally has two precocious, young daughters that are a constant source of inspiration. She dreams of bringing people together through education and design.
Silvia Mata-Marin studied at Universidad de Costa Rica. She first earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design and later studied Sculptural Design. As a student, she was involved in several social outreach projects, mainly the production of community murals in marginalized areas of Costa Rica.
With a strong interest in social documentary photography, Silvia embarked on long-term projects documenting migrant populations in the Central American region. These projects led her to explore the role that design plays in communicating and exposing social issues. Due to this interest, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to attend MICA’s MASD with the aim of tackling complex social projects using design as an enabling tool.
Kajsa graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Biological Sciences, specializing in endocrinology. During those years in Chicago, she lived on the south side and witnessed some of the many ways that social determinants of health affect everyday life. Working for non-profits in the area, she became fascinated by the complexity of social systems and the challenges involved in regulating them.
Before beginning her graduate studies at MICA, Kajsa worked as a Design Researcher at the Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation. There she was afforded the opportunity to apply design thinking to improving patient care, experience, and outcomes in a hospital setting.
Kajsa is inspired by the ways in which human-centered design can lend intentionality to how systems impact an individual's dignity and sense of personhood. She sees a wealth of potential in adding designers to hospital administration, payor, and other healthcare teams.
Anna Spisak became a designer by accident. She began her career by lucking into arguably the coolest job in the world, a.k.a. working as an experience designer at Andculture a digital and experience design agency, upon graduating from Susquehanna University, where she studied communications and studio art. Immediately prior to beginning at MICA, Anna worked as a design strategy consultant for technology startups.
As a designer, Anna is invested in exploring the relationships and intersections among: civic innovation, community organizing, education reform, skills-based learning, technology + new media, fostering entrepreneurship, storytelling, making Design accessible to the general population, and the ever-evolving role of designers in contributing to a sustainable social economy. Anna is not nearly as long-winded, intensely nerdy and rambling as the aforementioned list may suggest. (Just kidding—she totally is.)
Jen Sullivan is a graphic designer from Columbus, Ohio, who is passionate about merging her love of visual communication with her desire to cultivate social change. She is fresh out of her undergraduate studies, completing her BFA in Advertising and Graphic Design from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Spring 2014. Jen is ready to dive back in by studying Social Design at MICA and is very excited to be a part of this young field.
Jen would like to focus her time and talent towards a career working with many different issues, however she would like to spend most of her life working for causes that support orphans, promote physical and mental health, and protect the environment.
Byron earned a BA from Gettysburg College in Health and Physical Education and has since explored a variety of occupations and interests. He is currently working on a community space in Glen Rock PA dubbed Ruins Hall, which has become a local landmark. His passion for nature and design has driven his Landscape Design and Construction business which serves the greater Baltimore area. Byron also launched a website in 2008 designed as a knowledge inventory and network for the sustainable living movement. Byron hopes to expand on his interests in dwelling space and environmental design with his thesis work for the MASD program at MICA.
Laura Brewer-Yarnall was born in Syracuse, New York in 1991. She recently graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in painting. Her work has a strong sense of color, both abstract and figurative, relating to connections with female and queer peers.
Passionate about a wide range of social issues, Laura continued for a fifth year at MICA to obtain a Masters in Social Design. From women's rights to environmental justice to racial equality, she sees a need for systematic change. She believes strongly in getting to the root of the problem to have the greatest effect, implementing new ways of thinking to replace our current, failed system. This past year, Laura has worked with several Baltimore-based organizations on many different issues.
Her thesis focuses on medication compliance/adherence, and she will be partnering with the Baltimore Veteran's Affairs Hospital. She will work with real patients, staff and doctors in real time to develop an adaptable, low-cost solution. Ultimately, this solution could be applied wide scale.
Laura is inspired daily by her cat, Charlie.
Andrea holds an Associate Degree of Interior Architecture and Design from Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a Bachelor of Interior Design from Ryerson University in Toronto. She spent the last two years working at Quadrangle Architects on an award-winning team collaborating with high-profile clients in media, hospitality, and retail within the sector of branded environments.
Andrea believes that a hands-on approach to design is the first step of any project. A kinetic process connects the designer to the end-user by distilling to the simplest ideas. Effective design needs an equal footing of business and design sense. Her thesis focuses on the impact that Social Design can have on eco-agriculture initiatives. I have explored the role of designer as facilitator, designed systems and structures to better communicate business ideas, and also created multidimensional products.
Cindy Jian is a young designer and artist. She received her BFA in Environmental Design from MICA, where she participated in several community-based design projects. She has traveled extensively, and is interested in the ethnography of our constructed environments. Born in Guangzhou and growing up in Vancouver and San Francisco, she is keen to the development and defining characteristics of cities.
Most recently, her work has been inspired by the social history of Baltimore. Her undergrad thesis involved planning and prototyping through design thinking and community engagement. To actualize her project, she applied for and received a grant from Baltimore’s Office of Promotion and Arts and hosted a multifaceted event involving the diverse communities around historic Eutaw Place Park. She believes in a bottom-up, human-centered approach to urban planning. Her current endeavor is investigating constructed divisions in urban spaces, and how design interventions can be catalysts for more inclusive, connected cities.
Prior to MICA, Anne Marie was a Strategic Communications consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, DC for five years. With a Bachelors Degree in Communications and a double minor in Business and Fine Art from Simmons College, Anne Marie was eager to be immersed in the creative process in her work, leading her to apply to MICA’s Post Baccalaureate in Graphic Design in 2012. From there she joined the ranks of MASD, and is now working on her thesis to create better access and tools for healthy living in disinvested neighborhoods in Baltimore.
Anne Marie’s work explores the role of the designer in society. She simultaneously wears the hats of change-maker, innovator and facilitator. As an advocate of a human-centered approach to problem solving, she believes the process is just as important, if not more so, than the output. Together with her passion for branding and digital storytelling, she applies the tools of design thinking to gain insights in order to reach audiences in new and thoughtful ways.
Emily, an international photographer and visual communication consultant, has been working on assignments around the globe. She is known for her black and white minimalistic portraits as well as her recent visual communication work both in Europe and the US for various schools, organizations and small businesses. She has been more and more interested in having an "impact" with her photography while communicating/conveying messages thru powerful pictures, which brought her to the MASD program which she sees as the perfect place to grow, explore and prepare for the next step.
For her MASD thesis Emily is exploring how new and innovative methods such as design thinking can be used and implemented in international development organizations and international development in general.
Vincent Purcell is a Robert W Deutsch Foundation Social Design Fellow with the Center for Social Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art. His practice utilizes technology and media to create sustainable, effective methods for economic empowerment for socio-economically distressed communities of Baltimore. He values the use of empowering and inclusive models for community engagement. Vincent’s work is recognized locally and internationally by Ignite Baltimore, NCIIA, AshokaU, CGIU, among others.
By working in cross-sector partnerships from the grassroots-level to the federal government, he is able to leverage the power of design in community development and social practice. He co-founded and runs a community makerspace and workforce development center for young adults in East Baltimore, and co-founded and publishes a community newspaper. Most recently, he is now co-director of the Create Baltimore conference and launched a Baltimore-based social impact studio called boomco.
Yeonoo has a Master of Fine Arts of visual communication design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts of Print Making from Hongik University in Seoul. She worked as a government official at the city design division of the local government in Seoul for the last five and half years working on street design, signage systems and a design project for a disadvantaged area within the public sector.
From her work experience, Yeonoo believes that design is a strong tool to enhance people's lives. Her thesis focuses on using after school education in disadvantaged areas to break the cycle of poverty.
Alexandra has the distinction of being the first student from Baltimore to apply to—and the oldest student to graduate from—the Social Design program at MICA.
She studied at the Schule für Gestaltung Basel in Switzerland and graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. After having lived around the world, Baltimore City has been home to her and her sons Ben and Max for the past 13 years.
She currently works as a User Experience Analyst at ActioNet, a government contractor in Baltimore, where she works on IT applications for CMMI, The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation.
Last year she became an American citizen and voted for the first time in the US. She also qualified to run the Boston marathon on April 17.
After exploring the intersection of social enterprise, design and innovation in Baltimore during her MASD thesis work, Amanda joined the local team at Gensler’s Baltimore studio to further their social impact strategy. On the side, she runs the SocEnt Hustle and offers design strategy and creative direction for the Social Innovation Lab and Baltimore Social Enterprise’s SocEnt Breakfasts.
After graduating from MASD and serving as a Robert W. Deutsch Social Design Fellow, Mira serves as a faculty member in MICA’s MA/MBA in Design Leadership program and in MASD, as well as at the University of Maryland’s Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She’s in the process of developing and prototyping interdisciplinary, experiential coursework at both institutions, bringing social design methodologies, design thinking and the creative process to undergraduate and graduate students alike.
Mira has facilitated workshops with the Washington, DC Office of Sustainability; AIGA’s Washington, DC Continuum Scholarship committee; and at the Better World by Design conference. She loves all things sustainability, but especially likes to dig into urban farming and food access, and weaves those topics into her teaching and facilitation whenever she can.
She enjoys mixology, camping and lunch meetings; if there were a way to combine all three of those things, life would be perfect.
After working with the International Rescue Committee to design and pilot a new process of acculturation for newly arrived refugees in Baltimore, Becky Chen worked at The Way We See The World (TWWSTW) at the Centre for Social Innovation in New York City. She recently accepted a position at Teach For America.
Jonathan Erwin is a nationally recognized social impact designer specializing in environmental, social and community resilience strategies. His work exploring the role of design in disinvested urban communities of Baltimore has earned him a reputation with the Clinton Global Initiative, Rockefeller Foundation, the UN-Habitat World Urban Forum, and other major players in social design.
His practice connects and elevates grassroots and community-led efforts to national and international discussions on environmental resilience and the effects of climate change. He is an innovator in the emerging field of social impact design, exploring new strategies for social resilience, community engagement and empowerment.
While developing his own practice, Jonathan has used his background in architecture and urban design to push forward new and existing innovative initiatives around climate change. He’s partnered with multinational design firms, on-the-ground community groups, and government entities to streamline discussions, create efficiencies and maximize impact.
He is an expert facilitator, bringing together interdisciplinary and socio-economically diverse teams to combat the most challenging issues of our time. Jonathan is a leader in his field, working with the American Institute of Architects, Association for Community Design, and the International Youth Foundation.
Jonathan holds a Masters in Social Design from the Center for Social Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he recently completed an assignment as a Social Design Fellow in Baltimore, Maryland.
With a background that ranges from working in community development nonprofits to the art worlds of Minneapolis, Milan, and New York City and a degree in cultural anthropology, Cinnamon's work explores the intersection of social design and the social sciences. Co-developed with Lauren Weinsten, her thesis offers a critique of social design and a proposed framework for its practice. Her present interests lie in the influences technology has on social contexts, company cultures, and the development and implementation of empowerment-based systems. Cinnamon is currently working at Moveline, a tech company based in downtown Las Vegas.
Sharon Kong is a designer and storyteller with a BFA in Communication Design from Carnegie Mellon University and MA in Social Design from MICA. As both a citizen of the US and South Korea, her thesis work focused on the role design could play in guiding North Korean escapees during their journey to South Korea. She recently accepted a position as Creative Director for eMOCHA, an electronic Mobile Open-source Comprehensive Health Application developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education.
Heejin’s MASD thesis work focused on using design to reduce obesity rates among homeless children in Baltimore.
After graduating from the MASD program, Heejin worked as a Freelance Designer and Design Strategist at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Junior Exhibition/Digital Designer at Christie’s in NYC until accepting a position at Chipotle.
Heejin is currently working as a designer at Chipotle New York office cultivating sustainable food culture.
While at MASD, Lauren merged her background in sociology and environmental studies with her interest in more traditional branding and print design to develop a framework for expanding on the intersections of social science research and socially-focused design. Lauren is currently an associate at Reboot, supporting the team across project and organizational growth initiatives, with a particular focus on service, systems, programs, and policy design.
While in the MASD program, Danah used her unique blend of writing, editing, designing and illustrating to launch Kalimat Magazine, an independent, non-profit magazine about Arab thought and culture. She is currently an MPhil/PhD (Design) candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she is focused on the contemporary Arab visual identity and communication design education.
After graduating from MASD, Kyla co-founded Imperative, a certified B-Corp that designs tools and programs to create and measure social change. In addition to her work with Imperative, Kyla also teaches Design for Change and Design for Social Value at MICA and SVA, respectively. Most recently, she’s leading a Social Change Master Class at Imperative HQ for change agents interested in creating a market for their work.
Post MASD, Leah moved back to New York where she currently works for the LGBT Bar Association of Greater NY, a non-profit organization within the Centre for Social Innovation. She manages their communications and graphics and publishes a monthly newsletter on domestic and international LGBT political and legal news. In her spare time, Leah volunteers with openhouseNY and Creativetime/MTA Arts for Transition.
As both a MASD student and Robert W. Deutsch Social Design Fellow, Briony’s work focused on creating public spaces that promote play within underserved areas. She is currently the Deputy Director of the Neighborhood Design Center, a non-profit that has provided services through the community design process since 1968.
With a background in cover design and curation, Ben Peterson's work blends his twin interests in art and environmental justice. He spearheaded the Wetwalks and Waterwalls project, funded in part through a grant from MICA’s Launch Artists in Baltimore (LAB) fellowship, to help showcase the relationship between human actions and the health of the Chesapeake Bay and affected neighborhoods. It uses art and design to foster stewardship and a broader understanding of water systems. He was recognized as a finalist for the national Design Ignites Change prize.
With a background in international rights, law and public policy, Elise merged her interests in design and advocacy at MICA. Her desire to repurpose salvaged goods led her to focus her thesis on researching the barriers that exist for individuals with hearing loss in the fabrication technology and design realm. Elise currently work with Housewerks in Baltimore and sells her pieces at a variety of high end home stores.
Julie joined MICA’s prestigious MFA in Graphic Design program directly after graduating MASD, where she continued her work with the city and state health department to improve asthma management materials for low-income and minority children in Baltimore City. She currently teaches within Loyola University Maryland’s communications department.
As a MASD student and Robert W. Deutsch Social Design Fellow, Becky’s work focused on designing curriculum and tools for teachers as well as empowering students to create change in their communities. After graduating, Becky worked at the Baltimore Urban Debate League as a Graphic Administrator. She currently works at MICA’s Center for Social Design as a Social Design Associate and continues to run Wide Angle Youth Media’s Attendance and Design Team and write curriculum for clients like FEMA and the USDA with Carrot New York.
Arts Every Day, Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading,Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore City Office of Sustainability, Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore VA Medical Center, Behavioral Health System Baltimore, Blue Water Baltimore, BMoreFit, Center for a Livable Future, City of Baltimore, Clinton Global Initiative University, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Environmental Justice Partnership, Farm Alliance of Baltimore, Future Partners, Gensler, GiveCorps, GOOD Magazine, Great Kids Farm, Harris Creek Connected, HealthCare Access Maryland - formerly Baltimore HealthCare Access, HERO, Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition, Humanim, JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Ken’s Kids, Inc., Maryland Energy Administration, Men & Families Center, Neighborhood Design Center, Northeast Market, Operation Oliver, Power in Dirt,
Project M, Real Food Farm, Social Innovation Lab, SOURCE, University of Maryland Medical Center, University of Maryland School of Social Work, Whitelock Community Farm, Whole Foods Market