DSI Welcoming New Faculty: Spring 2022

The Power of a Thesis in Design for Social Innovation

In a matter of weeks, our third class will present their thesis projects on stage at the SVA Beatrice Theater. One of the unique aspects of DSI is the diversity of our students, in their interests, their experiences and the cultures from which they come. Twenty-four countries (and counting) have been represented, with interests as diverse as they are. While every thesis topic has been a revelation in terms of approach and solution, patterns are emerging.

The major themes thus far are healthcare, finance, education and food, and in each case, the work our alums have invested in their thesis projects have led to careers in the field or continuation of the work their thesis began.

In health, Akshata Malhotra, Swar Raisinghani, and Pragya Mishra, all from the class of ’15, are using social innovation and user-centered design techniques developed in thesis projects on improving the patient experience in hospitals in India, and reducing waste in the US healthcare system, to imagine better, patient-centered healthcare systems, in roles at global consultancies Veryday and Dalberg Global Development Advisors, and the Peterson Center on Healthcare.

Josh Treuhaft continues his work on the Salvage Supper Club while he works in the Sustainability and Foresight department at global design and engineering consultancy Arup.

Monica Snellings, class of ’14, is working at Convergence: Center for Policy Resolution in Washington DC, where she is reimagining education, in a path that led directly from her thesis project My Future Self.

Meghan Lazier, class of ’15, has evolved from fixing Access-A-Ride to better accommodate disabled passengers, to bringing design solutions to the U.S. Government.

The class of ’16 demonstrates the same diversity of interests, and this trend is allowing DSI to amass a concentration of knowledge and depth of expertise, from which both current and future students will benefit.

The thesis process at DSI takes our cohorts on a uniquely customized and rigorous journey, that begins in the spring of their first year and continues throughout their second year, in addition to other courses that equip them with the right skills, methods and models to pursue purposeful careers and navigate challenges in the real world. As they are out in the world demonstrating.

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