About Me

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Currently the Director of Operations 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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Technology- distraction or documentation?

Addition: I later found out that Susan Szenasy included this email in the "Notes to the Editor" Section in March's Metropolis Magazine! Woohoo!

In recent email conversation with Susan Szenazy, editor in chief of Metropolis Magazine, my response to the question of whether or not our obsession with hand-held electronic devices are of pure detriment or serve some purpose in our society: 

One could argue that history books used to be written from one subjective opinion and typically the powers that be, dominated the school of thought as was seen with the books that I was raised with that contained a very western and caucasion perspective. With today's technology our history continually lives, breathes, and stays with us. Our online documentation tools are going to change the very method of anthropology, where the most interesting stories, and most viewed as submitted from the general public rise to the top- it is the truest sense of democracy. In line with Barack Obama, it does actually make more sense to have this historical documentation created by a view from All as oppose to a view from One.

I believe our blips are our contributions to this historical documentation as seen with PBS Frontline who have been collecting images of people's experiences on inauguration day, or Ushahidi, Erik Hersmann's company that allows individuals to text message in what is going on in their area during a political or environmental disaster, CNN's ireport and many other forms of news and history making with contributions from everyday people. People are writing their own history and one does get the sense that these individual stories can make a difference and shape our perspectives of society.

From a personal standpoint, with my family all over the world, I find documenting a personal experience that allows me to stay connected with my loved ones. With a brother in Japan, a sister in Nepal, and my mother in Mexico- when I document something, it's so I can share my small everyday experiences with those that matter most to me and I choose to use Facebook as an interface for this. So to each person's own little world, these digital files play great importance.

But again there needs to be a balance and nothing replaces face time. Everything in moderation right? It's true that if we dive into the excesses of this digital world, we will become too far removed from the real one. John Maeda talks about this and how he sees RISD as positioning itself to bring people back to the material and physical world, that we cannot allow technology to dictate our actions but we must find a healthy equilibrium between the two.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Back!


Okay, so it's been a REALLY long time since I have written here. Mainly because of the fact that I was wrapping up the Design for Social Entrepreneurship studio until December, traveling, including DC for the inauguration, and getting the ball rolling for my upcoming projects. But I am taking a moment to say hello and I will be posting some interesting conversations shortly. So stay tuned shortly!

In the mean time, check out the final projects from the RISD Design for Social Entrepreneurship studio here. The semester wrapped up fantastically well. RISD's DESE will be included in an upcoming article in Metropolis Magazine, I am writing an article about the course in RISD's publication- RISD VIEWS, and the Local401 project seen above will be used for RISD media pitches throughout Providence! Not bad!