About Me

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Currently the Associate Director for Design for America (DFA) and a lecturer at the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University, I am a San Francisco native and passionate about the intersection of design education and local/social impact. My studio, students' projects, and DFA have been discussed in publications and blogs such as Fast Company, Chicago Tribune, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Core77 and more. I have been fortunate enough to have spoken and given workshops at TEDx, the NE IDSA Conference, Better Word by Design Conferences, Fulbright Seminar, and given workshops at college campuses across the country. I earned my BFA in industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design where I received RISD’s Community Service Award and the Rachel Carson Award upon graduation. I am currently working on a masters in learning and organizational change at Northwestern University. At the start, I founded and taught the advanced studio, Design for Social Entrepreneurship at RISD, Design Futures at Pratt and worked with nonprofits such as Design that Matters and GreenBlue.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Important Update from Sami

Well, this is an official notification to everyone, that as of a couple of months ago I am now on the roster of adjunct faculty members for the Industrial Design department at RISD. My time has been spent this summer continuing my research and developing a syllabus for an advanced studio in the Fall, hence the slow pace of blog updates. I am telling people now to encourage feedback, advice, input, collaboration and dialogue over the next couple of months before embarking on this new journey. I have quite a bit of freedom on this development with some big picture ideas, so I would love to hear all questions and comments. Feel free to inquire if you would like to know more details, and more posts on the matter are to follow. Below is my course description:


Design for Social Entrepreneurship (DeSE)
RISD Fall '08

A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change.


This course aims to cultivate social entrepreneurial designers by investigating the power of product, system and service design to create positive social and environmental change. Looking at both international and domestic issues, this course asks, how can design and design thinking be used to solve the world’s leading problems to achieve triple bottom line sustainability—environmentally, socially, and economically? Structured around holistic thinking, collaborative and individual design work, with mentorship from experts in the field, this course uncovers how to design products and/or services, wrap a business around it, and create tangible positive impact in our world today.