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Welcoming New Faculty: Fall 2021

4 Photos arranged from left to right of Caroline Mak, Cathy Richards, Stephanie Yim, and Mai Kobori. All presented in black and white.

This fall, we will be welcoming a number of new practitioners to the DSI team, and we’re excited to begin to introduce them! First, we welcome our two new first-year instructors: 

Mai Kobori will be joining us as our new Disruptive Design instructor.

Mai is a co-founder of Blank Plate, a creative culinary program in Hunts Point, South Bronx that uses the power of hands-on design workshops to inspire teens to transform their relationship to food while promoting issues of food justice. The program creates a positive narrative of healthy food access and equity within the local NYC food system and places it directly into the hands of the communities. What started out as a thesis pilot project in 2011 has now been operating as a proof of concept and is currently in the process of scaling to other communities. 

Mai’s work focuses on frameworks that seizes the opportunity of design to help people realize their strength to tackle challenges and change behavior. Mai’s strength for unearthing insights that drive social change has led her to consult for various socially driven organizations in the education, health, government and tech sector. She explores design as a process and experience that weaves together our social fabric. She has a BS in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University  and is a graduate of the MFA program in Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons, where she has also taught Design-led research courses. She has also served as an advisor for the New School’s Impact Entrepreneurship Program.

Next, we are excited to introduce Stephanie Yim as our Mapping and Visualization Design instructor.

Stephanie Yim is a multidisciplinary designer focused at the intersection of community-centered design and civic tech. She practices her work through a lens of racial equity, decolonization, and care. As a senior designer at Public Policy Lab, Stephanie partners with government agencies and non-profit organizations to design improved ways to deliver public services to at-risk communities.

Prior to Public Policy Lab, Stephanie cofounded Good Call, NYC’s first centralized arrest support hotline, and has experience designing in financial tech, education, housing, and the criminal justice system. Stephanie holds a B.S. in Human-Computer Interaction and Decision Science from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a proud native of Queens, New York and daughter to immigrant parents. 

Joining us as second-year faculty, we welcome consultant, artist, and entrepreneur Caroline Mak as our new Entrepreneurship instructor.

As a former food entrepreneur, Caroline Mak is committed to advocating for underrepresented small business owners, especially in the food space. She co-founded and ran a beverage company, Brooklyn Soda Works for seven years, where the successes and  failures of her first company made her invested in learning more about what supports are necessary to ensure small food businesses are able to grow sustainably and thrive. For the past three years and a half years she was a program director at the New York based non-profit, Hot Bread Kitchen where she oversaw the sales of their bakery, then moved to overseeing the small business incubator program, working closely with the food entrepreneurs in the program to tackle issues ranging from bringing a new product to market,  and pivoting in response to the pandemic . She is currently a consultant, helping organizations create inclusive and impactful programming; she is also an advisor at the non-profit WEALF, where she mentors and supports women entrepreneurs.  

Caroline is also a visual artist.  She grew up in Hong Kong, received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University and her MFA from the University of Chicago. She has been the recipient of an Emerging Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park, and the BRIC Media Fellowship, and has recently discovered a love of making lumpy clay vessels.

Finally, we welcome Cathy Richards who will be teaching for Metrics & Data Visualization to our second-years.

Cathy Richards is a technology advisor whose expertise lies at the intersection of Data, Technology and Social Change. She has worked with non-profits in India, Zimbabwe, South Africa to develop lightweight measurement systems and advised activist organisations on the responsible implementation of new technologies. She also co-founded Pueblo CoLab – a collaborative aiming to help social innovators around the world do good work.

Cathy holds a BA in International Relations from Boston University and a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on Evaluation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

We are excited to see what excellent work they all get up to with our incoming cohorts!

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