For immigrants, language is one of the main obstacles when arriving to a new country, and it is the main barrier for adapting and accessing opportunities. Many feel intimidated to practice and further their English skills because they do not feel comfortable, and it is very difficult for them to find a safe space in which they can practice. Music connects across cultures and can break down barriers. Without necessarily understanding the lyrics, many people feel connected to the American culture through music.
Carmen Rosa Lopez was born and raised in Ecuador, and moved to California to study fine art at Art Center College of Design. A graphic designer and fine artist, she was a resident at Fabrica, the Benetton Communication and Research Center in Treviso, Italy, and also worked at La Facultad in Ecuador, an independent advertising agency focusing on products and campaigns to improve life.
Since completing her MFA in design for social innovation, Carmen stayed in New York and is working at Arup, an engineering and design consultancy for the built environment. Her role as Design Strategist in the Foresight and Design Strategy team has allowed her to bring the human voice to the built environment. She has been exposed to various projects, from working on an education and labor assessment in Chile for UN Woman, to developing the concept of operations for an airline in a NYC airport, to supporting the community engagement and development of workshop materials for a WaSH project (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) that brings a water system in rural Guatemala. She works in a multidisciplinary setting where she can apply the collaboration and strategy skills she learned at DSI.
Irene Rojas is from Mexico City, and she graduated from Centro de Diseño Cine y Television in Mexico City with a degree in Industrial Design. She has been designing furniture for hotels, collaborating with craftsman, and working on some interior design projects. She believes that design is a tool to confront the challenges of contemporary society.
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