DSI Reflecting on Summer 2022’s Community Design for Leaders Course

How Alums Are Putting Social Design to Work

The first or second question people inevitably ask us is, “What are your alums doing? What kind of jobs do they get?”

We thought the best way to answer those questions is by showing you here, and letting you see what our graduates have to say about how they’re using what they learned at DSI to get jobs, and to excel at them.

One thing to keep in mind: DSI graduates tend to work at things they love, and bring an additional ability to lead change in those fields, to enhance and expand them. For example, Rhea Rakshit was trained as an economist when she came to the program. She wanted to change the way people think about economics, and the impact that economics has on society. Ditto those who came with experience as product designers, educators, environmentalists. DSI helps you think about opportunities in a new and bigger way, then go out into the world and work at that.

So whether you want to work in a big corporation, an NGO, a creative consultancy or your own enterprise, DSI prepares you to become a leader in that field by connecting it to the health of humans and the earth.

So why don’t you APPLY for Fall 2022?

See detailed alumni profiles here.


Strategist, Purpose PBC

Recruitment Manager, Cultivate

Instructional Designer, Acumen

Design Research Associate, Yeh IDeology

Design Researcher, TinkerLabs

Communications Strategist, Parenting for Liberation

Research Intern, Humans and Taste LLC

Creative Editor, Vogue


Design Associate, Global X ETFs

Designer and Researcher, Nava
Co-Founder and Head of Design & Strategy, Hatke
“Part of what I took away from DSI is the ability social designers have to positively influence organizations we’re a part of–especially when thinking about equity and inclusion, and transitioning conversation into action.”

Design Research and Strategy Consultant, Freelance & Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Design Strategist, Capital One Bank
Previously: Design Research and Strategy Consultant, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
“It is our role as designers to have a comprehensive view of the ecosystem in which a problem sits in order to find the most upstream leverage point.”

Multimedia Digital Designer, Tzu Chi Foundation

“I found that, with design thinking in general, it’s not about coming to a problem with a solution already in mind. It’s more about tearing apart a problem and finding out what’s really at play there, and then establishing and prototyping the best methods of solving it.”


Senior Design Strategist, Doblin
“Change is in people; though we can measure a lot of work we do in other ways, we need to be focused on leaders and leadership.”

Front-End Engineer, Teachable
Previously: Data Visualization Associate, CB Insights

Graphic Designer and Strategist, TWOPLATOON co ltd

Research & Strategy Designer, Dalberg
“It’s not just what you learn, but how you can share it with the community of practice — we built on others’ learnings, and documenting one’s process is one way of building collective knowledge.”

Visual Designer, Happify Health

You have the ability to design, so use it in your life and reevaluate your ways of thinking, where you want to be and what you want to be. We can make change one step at a time; realize the scope of what you can design within and how.


Senior Designer of Global Consumer Products, Netflix
Previously: Visual Designer, Allbirds
“There’s a point with social design where I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, so it’s kind of nice to just kick back and design for fun at times, but then also have this outlet where I can say, ‘I’m really interested in the problems going on in the world; please allow me to use my knowledge from graduate school.’ It’s a great balance for me, and it keeps me chill.”

Senior UX Designer & Researcher, Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, VISA
“One of the first things you learn as a designer doing any kind of human-centered design is that you’re supposed to separate yourself from whatever it is that you’re researching or designing. Because you’re not designing for yourself—you have to listen to the communities that you’re designing for…”

Communication Consultant, Chemonics International
Previously: Design Strategist Contractor, YLabs Global

Design Strategist, Arup
Previously: Citizen Designer Fellow, AIGA New York

Communications Designer, UNDP
Entrepreneur in Residence, SVA Groundfloor Incubator

Program Manager, Nuestro Barrio

UX Designer, IBM Design Studio
Previously: Designer, UNDP


Innovation Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank
Previously: Public Sector Innovation Consultant, EloGroup
“I am using social design to combine methodologies and co-create a roadmap towards improving the way we measure educational opportunities in Brazil.”

Design Researcher, Design Institute for Health
Previously: Senior Program Manager, Reboot

“As a service designer, I use the design skills I learned at DSI to organize complex processes to better serve the people using them: constantly switching between the micro and the macro; zooming in to understand the pain points of a single user; stepping back to see how each part of a service flows into larger systems.”

Discovery Lead, Design Strategist of Innovation, CARE
Previously: Interaction Designer, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Content Development and Digital Engagement Consultant, UNICEF
Founder, Backyard Lots
Previously: Fellow, SVA GroundFloor Incubator

Founder, Future Meets Present
Innovator in Residence, The Centre for Social Innovation
Previously: Marketing Executive, Dopper

Manager of Audience and Member Services, The Fisher Center at Bard
Previously: Administrative and Data Coordinator, Omega Women’s Leadership Institute

RSJ Project Coordinator, JDC Entwine
Previously: CEO, AdaptLab Productions
“At AdaptLab Productions, my job is to design innovative paths to fulfilling careers for filmmakers with learning differences. Human centered design means the systems we build can be flexible to our production team’s unique needs so that they can create meaningful legacies that add value to our audiences’ lives.”

Design Researcher, Nanit
“At Nanit, I am using social design methods to explore how computer vision and machine learning can improve the lives of parents and babies.”

Founder, Andes Materials
Program Director, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Co-Founder, It Makes Sense NYC
“As a DSI graduate, I see every human interaction as a system. As a college design professor, I want my students to see the possibilities for change that design has. It goes beyond the limits of a computer or a nice illustration, it has the power to change our reality.”

Marketing & Advocacy Manager, Futerra
Previously: Co-Founder, Of Course Global

Visual Designer & Lead Interaction Designer, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
“I’m putting design for social innovation to work as a vehicle to navigate through the complexity that our generation is facing, turning daunting challenges into working fields, issues into opportunities and willingness into actions.”

Co-Founder, Of Course Global
Adjunct Professor, Parsons School of Design

Founder, B Creative Ventures
Previously: Director of Design and Product Development, The Mount Sinai Hospital
“I’m using social design to improve health outcomes of global and local communities by creating new care models, process improvements and tools to support Mount Sinai Health System to deliver high value, low cost health care while exporting our learnings to our global sites in Africa and Latin America.”


CEO, Talentiers
Previously: Head of Communications, Bridge for Billions

Wayfinding Designer, Two Twelve

Co-Founder, Verde Permuta

Senior User Experience Designer, Rebellion Defense
Previously: User Experience Lead, Publicis SapientDigital Service Expert, United States Digital Service
User Experience Designer, Excella Consulting
“I’m using social design to help the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department understand what their customers need, then design tools that address them.”

Product Designer, ACLU
Previously: Digital Service Expert, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
On her former role as a Design Service Expert at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: “I’m putting social design to work to modernize the appeals process and create a new user centered designed site to help vets access their benefits, and get citizens to trust the government again. Even if we move the needle a little, it’ll have a huge impact.”

Product Designer & Tribe Design Lead, Viva Republica
Previously: Lead UX Designer, Coupang

Product Discovery & Design Lead, AstraZeneca
Adjunct Professor, University of Baltimore
Teaching Assistant, IDEO U
Previously: UX/UI Designer, Federal Reserve Board, Associate Director of Global Customer Strategy, Bridge International Academies
“I’m putting social design to work in everything. DSI was a holistic experience: research and facilitation, synthesizing data, staying with a problem long enough to solve it. There is absolutely no way I would have this job without DSI. When I went to DSI this is exactly what I wanted to do but I couldn’t articulate it.”

Interaction Designer, Peterson Center on Healthcare
Previously: Design Researcher, Diagram LLC
“I’m using social design methods to find alignment between interests of healthcare administrators, providers and patients in the U.S., so that high quality, low cost care is scaled across the country.”

Creative Lead, Dalberg
“I’m using social design tools to shift the focus from a technology-first mindset to understanding user needs.”

Design Partner, Dorm Room Fund
Co-Founder/Creative Director, Chirps
“In my job, in my hobbies, in my personal life, I look to unite people around common interests and foster a sense of shared experiences and understanding.”

Lead Researcher for User Insight & Strategy, The New York Times
Previously: UX Researcher & Interaction Designer, Huge
Strategic Designer, U.S. Department of State

Host & Organizer, CreativeMornings SF
Design Mentor, Designlab
Previously: Art Director & Designer, Guru Media Solutions

Creative Strategist, MDLBEAST LLC
Co-Pilot, Whywander, Program Manager (The Greenhouse), The Calhoub Group
Senior Account Associate, Endeavor

Co-Founder & Design Lead, Xeno Co-Lab
Previously: Service Designer, Veryday

Director of Product & Design, Sourcemap
“Most people don’t understand supply chains and know very little about what goes into the clothes they wear. We’re using social design to make it possible for people to know the stories behind their clothing.”

Senior Designer, Khan Academy
Previously: Product Designer of Education, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Design Lead, Neighborly
“I look at systems that have complex stakeholders, figure out what their incentives are, and try to align them in a way that makes tomorrow a little bit better for all of us.”

Lecturer, Bezalel Academy of Art & Design
Interaction Designer, Google Crisis Response
Previously: UX/UI Designer, Tingz
Experience Design Trainee, HUGE


Deputy Director of Customer Insights, BFA Global
Previously: Senior Designer, Dalberg Global Development Advisors
“I’m using service design, rapid prototyping and systems thinking to foster innovative solutions to complex problems and increase social impact, developing design capacity in organizations that have not traditionally embraced these approaches.”

Design Lead, YLabs Global
Previously: Senior Designer, YLabs Global , Senior Designer, UNICEF
Public Access Design Fellow, The Center for Urban Pedagogy
“I’m a communication designer from New Delhi trying to make and do good in the world. As Design Lead at YLabs, I work with multidisciplinary teams to champion Youth-Driven Design in the areas of health and economic opportunity. Previously, I was working as a senior designer and then design lead at UNICEF’s Office of Innovation in New York. Before and during this time, I have had the opportunity to work at NYU ITP, the School of Visual Arts, Center for Urban Pedagogy and Teach for India.”

Marketing Manager, Minecraft Education (Microsoft)
Previously: Senior Director of Programs & Strategy, Games for Change
Communications Consultant, UN Global Pulse
On her former role as Senior Director of Program Development and Strategy at Games for Change: “At global nonprofit Games for Change, I use social design to teach people that games can be powerful drivers of impact, from a national youth design challenge to a conference for leading educators, policymakers and developers.”

President, Lovability, Inc.
“Design for Social Innovation is the lens I use to make creative decisions to grow my business, Lovability, Inc. This lens is a unique way of thinking and listening that enables me to respond to the needs and desires of my customers with heightened empathy and awareness. This empathetic feedback loop is my competitive advantage and key to success.”

UX Designer, Design Without Borders
Previously: UX Designer, Diwala
UX Designer, GeoGecko

Design Educator & Work Based Learning Coordinator, High School of Art and Design

Experience Design Lead, Airbnb
Previously: Associate Experience Lead, Senior Product Designer, HUGE
UX Design Lead, Elephant
“I’m using social design to explore how virtual reality can improve the independence and quality of life of our rapidly growing senior population; in particular, those who are living alone.”

Innovation Strategist, MIT GOV/LAB
Previously: Head of Social Innovation, Cirklo Communication Designer, The Synergos Institute
Teacher of Social Innovation, CENTRO Diseño
“I’m putting social design to work at Cirklo by helping NGO clients take their first steps out of the donations cycle. Our aim is to help them develop social products and a sustainable income stream.”

Vice President & Director of Communications, Education Reimagined
Communications Design Lead, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution
Co-Creator, Inquiring Minds
“Everything we do is social design; it’s embedded in every process, every product and every interaction we undertake, from whom we invite to the table to how we design conversations. All is constructed toward a new future of learning.”

Senior Experience Strategist, R/GA
Founder and Creative Director, Salvage Supperclub
Previously: Designer of Foresight and Innovation, Arup
“I’m putting social design approaches into action through human-centered approaches in domains which often don’t consider them. In architecture, and in some regards in urban scale technology implementation, designers often think more about buildings, materials and technical specs than about people. We do qualitative research with oft-underrepresented stakeholders to consider their voices in the process.”

Product Designer, ThoughtSpot
Previously: UX Motion Designer, Google
Senior Motion Designer, Tailored Brands, Inc.

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