Since the day she entered DSI, and likely for many years before, Meghan Lazier was committed to seeing every opportunity in front of her and seizing it. She is mature, motivated, smart and resourceful.
When the opportunity came up to spend a summer in Kenya helping Erik Hersman launch BRCK, she jumped on it without hesitation. She knew she wanted international experience. And she made a difference for Erik and his enterprise.
As she learned from faculty member Asi Burak how game design can make a difference in people’s lives, she turned what she was learning into a game that teaches young women how to avoid sexual predation, called “Say No More,” she and her cohort partners went on to win a Sappi Ideas That Matter grant for their project.
When it came time to choose a thesis topic, Meghan didn’t even try to limit her ambition. She took on the redesign of Access-a-Ride, the public transportation service for the elderly and disabled. She developed a vision and new design for it that turned it into something that actually served people rather than limiting them: Uber for people with disabilities.
When people ask what we look for in a student, Meghan is the perfect example, She made the most of every opportunity that emerged from the DSI – brilliantly – and in doing so, she made the program, and her colleagues, stronger and better.
After graduation, she was recruited by the U.S. Government, Office of Personnel Management, where she used her design skills to help create a better experience for the people the office serves. That was an exciting experience, until something closer to her heart came along.
While at the lab at OPM, she was recruited by Bridge International Academies, an organization that uses ed tech and economies of scale to lessen the gap in quality education for children who do not have access to it. With four hundred schools, the organization wants to grow aggressively, and needs a customer strategy for each country that evaluates the context – what will best serve students and parents there. That’s the role that Meghan plays, in design research and service design.
Meghan says “it’s exhausting in the best possible way.” As much as fifty percent of her time is spent traveling, and her work includes everything from researching social change in Liberia, to contributing to the improvement of outcomes and engagement of both students and their parents. Bridge International works in contexts where there are not enough qualified teachers, and not enough monitoring, but more than enough corruption. She helps develop strategies to build understanding among local communities about what is happening inside the classrooms, and develop programs that will extend beyond curriculum to create pride and excitement in parents.
When asked how she’s using what she learned at DSI, Megan said: “It feels so difficult to answer that question because it’s 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.”
We could not be more proud of Meghan, or more excited to see what the result of her talent and passion will be.
If a career as exciting as Meghan’s is what you want; if you want to put your passions and resourcefulness to work, apply to MFA Design for Social Innovation at SVA.