9/22/2022 Fall ’22 Designer in Residence: Karen Proctor, Improv Lab

Thursday April 28, 2016


Watch individual presentations in the Projects section or Download the new DSI Thesis App Here

The annual DSI Thesis Show presentations will be held on Thursday April 28th, from noon to 5pm at the SVA Beatrice Theater. Please join us as the Class of 2016 presents their thesis projects on the important issues of our time: health, education, food security, democracy and sustainable fashion, among others.

12:00 – Introduction: Cheryl Heller, Chair
12:20 – Presentation: Megan Fath, Thesis Faculty
12:30 – Lauren Gardner and Caroline McAndrews
12:42 – Alex Wu
12:54 – Yena Lukac
1:06 – David Rojas
1:18 – Maia Kaufman
1:30 – Presentation: Tina Park, Thesis Faculty
1:42 – Manolo Ampudia and Emily Herrick
1:54 – Nelson Tseng
2:06 – Azmina Alimohd
2:18 – Sultana Abbar and Barbara Fang

2:30 – Presentation: Archie Lee Coates IV, Thesis Faculty
2:42 – Kyle Calian and Amer Jandali
2:54 – Grace Hsieh
3:06 – Rodrigo Muñoz and Rinat Sherzer
3:18 – Yinman Guo
3:30 – Margarita Korol
3:42 – Presentation: Jeffrey Franklin, Thesis Faculty
3:54 – Kara Isabella
4:06 – Claire Kim
4:18 – Nazlı Cangönül
4:30 – Ivan Boscariol
4:42 – Hannah Phang and Bruno Silva
5:00 – Closing Remarks: Cheryl Heller

Lauren Gardner and Caroline McAndrews : Common Bond

thesis-common_bond_sq“A method for educators to engage parents in protecting diversity, both in and out of the classroom.”

Description: Common Bond is a method for educators with diverse student bodies who want to build a strong parent community – across class – that supports and encourages the diverse friendships their children form in school. In our research, we found that while children form diverse relationships easily, parents do not. To encourage their children’s relationships, our platform enables parents from different classes to better communicate and relate to each other through their children.

Alex Wu : MatchPret

thesis-MatchPret-sq“MatchPret helps patients and family members find the best medical interpreter for their hospital visits.”

Description: Hospital visits are unpleasant. Patients encounter emotional pressure by their physical health status. In addition, it is amplified when patients are unable to express their needs and be understood. MatchPret advances accessibility to on-site interpreters by minimizing coordination in order to adapt to the patient’s language and cultural preferences to facilitate more accurate communication that goes beyond literal translation and ultimately elevates their experience.

Yena Lukac : HeyMama

“Addressing perinatal mental health problems by building a strong, active and knowledgeable support system for new mothers.”

Description: One in five women experience prenatal or postpartum depression, yet most new mothers aren’t prepared for it. Despite the government’s recent recommendation to screen all pregnant women and new mothers, the current way of screening isn’t effective due to its stigma and fear. To address that, mothers need a screening tool that is presented in the right context and helps her to be aware of her mental status continually. HeyMama helps mothers access and communicate their moods and specific needs frequently with a small circle of friends and family. Based on that, our experts guide them with the tailored advice and present Postpartum Depression symptoms in a personal and compassionate way. By doing so mothers learn what is normal and what isn’t, and to know when to ask for help. It also increases access to the treatment by providing concierge service to match and place a back-up counselor during the pregnancy.

David Rojas : Piezas Faltantes (Missing Pieces)

“Piezas Faltantes (Missing pieces) is an intervention that brings to life the memory of people in Colombia who went missing due to the political armed conflict.”

Description: Piezas Faltantes connects a disregarded population in Colombia — family members of people who went missing due to the political armed conflict — with audiences in big cities, preserving the memory and dignity of their loved ones by shining a light on their stories. The intervention is intended to defeat a big hurdle between those who had suffered the scourge of the conflict and those who had not: indifference. Through a lens of empathy, big audiences in Colombian cities connect with the stories of those who disappeared and never came back, by involving a storytelling strategy that includes the active participation of the families, artists, social organizations and the public itself in a collaborative art experience that addresses a common goal: no more victims.

Maia Kaufman : The V Store

“A for-profit store that merges sexual and reproductive health — a ‘genius bar’ for vaginas.”

Description: The V Store is a welcoming and comprehensive space where women and men can learn more about sexual and reproductive health through curated products, services, and experiences.  Staffed with medical professionals and sex educators, it provides a sex-positive, holistic, and judgement free approach to health. It takes power out of providers, and puts it into the hands of the consumers.

Manolo Ampudia and Emily Herrick : You Are Here

“A facilitation method that develops active citizens — giving young adults in NYC the skills to understand how local government affects the wellbeing of their neighborhoods.”

Description: You Are Here is a roadmap for staff members in youth development organizations who are interested in more meaningful civic learning. Using this approach, staff can build bridges between a student’s feeling of disconnection to move towards sustained participation. Students are able to work together — through discussion, debate, and reflection — to connect personal experiences to local government.

Nelson Tseng : Green Nest

“Green Nest is a financial service for new workers to invest in impact investment products.”

Description: Impact investment is investing in businesses doing good such as manufacturing clean energy and creating affordable housing. You are able to do good and make money at the same time. However, existing impact investment information requires all kinds of “language” and “numbers” knowledge, and people don’t understand the existing information on websites. Green Nest is a platform that streamlines the investment research process and makes decisions straightforward and easy to understand. In the future, impact investment will become a competitive financial product, and Green Nest will ensure social value is generated from investment, can be measured and understandable.

Azmina Alimohd : Art Pact

“Art Pact supports teachers reaching across disciplines and contexts, to increase the possibilities of creativity in the classroom.”

Description: Teachers experience the weight of system-wide challenges and are left feeling unmotivated and uninspired by school and state standards. By inviting teachers to explore tools outside the area of their expertise through collaboration, Art Pact provides an opportunity for increasing classroom creativity, arts literacy as well as granular problem-solving within their own practice.

Sultana Abbar and Barbara Fang : Ask Me About My Hijab

“Ask Me About My Hijab promotes communication between Muslim women wearing hijabs and non-Muslims, with the goal of increasing understanding and tolerance.”

Description: The hijab is being misrepresented to the American mainstream, causing negative social attitudes and perceptions towards the women who choose to wear it. Ask Me About My Hijab is a tool that invites open conversations between women wearing hijabs and non-Muslims, giving them a chance to share their perspectives and reclaim the image of hijab today.

Kyle Calian and Amer Jandali : Compostal

“A bike-operated compost pickup service that enables those living in urban areas to divert their organic waste from the landfill.”

Description: In urban areas like New York City, it is incredibly easy to make trash every time you eat. But uneaten food isn’t trash. Until people moved into cities, food used to decompose in the ground becoming more food – over and over again. Now we send it to landfills, discarding those nutrients forever. Compostal, enables urbanites to easily send their food waste to a community garden, where it will be converted to soil and used to grow city trees, vegetables and flowers.

Grace Hsieh : Fishwish

“Fishwish is an App for eco-eaters to make sustainable choices when they’re ordering sushi at restaurants.”

Description: You can find 7,200 sushi restaurants on Yelp in NYC, but it’s hard to make a sustainable decision when it comes to eating sushi. Even people who love eating sushi rarely know about the available substitute options. The current system in restaurants is not providing transparent information nor direction on what kinds of sustainable options people can choose when they are ordering. Fishwish curates the existing menu based on the Seafood Watch standard recommendation to sushi consumers when they are selecting sushis from the menu. By making the eco-eating process easy and convenient, sushi consumers can make sustainable decisions without the hassle of making secondary efforts to check the information about their choice of sushi.

Rodrigo Muñoz and Rinat Sherzer : It Makes Sense

“It Makes Sense is a sensory method for dealing with anxiety.”

Description: It Makes Sense is an experiential methodology designed to help anyone with anxiety. The sense of touch is used as the key to connect with joyful yet forgotten memories and create a better relationship with anxiety. These memories are brought back to participants as art pieces illustrated by talented artists from around the world.

Yinman Guo : Foodtale

“Improving second-generation Chinese Americans’ connection with their cultural identity through stories and recipes of their favorite family dish.”

Description: Food is always the last part of culture that immigrants retain. For second-generation Chinese American, who ate Chinese dishes growing up, Chinese food is their comfort food. However, more than half of them have no confidence in cooking it. My project uses storytelling to share the origins of their favorite dish and encourage them to cook it, further influencing a their connection with their cultural identity.

Margarita Korol :

“A platform to help bereaved brothers and sisters connect and celebrate the lives of their siblings.”

Description: With few cultural cues for how to move forward after the loss of a sibling, bereaved brothers and sisters are susceptible to getting trapped in crippling isolated grief. Tapping into the natural urge to share stories from their lives helps them reconnect with their own sibling identities while serving the legacy of their lost brothers and sisters, celebrating their lives rather than drowning in the emptiness of their deaths. is a website and community space that collects examples from siblings around the world who have found ways to share their sibling’s stories in their everyday lives.

Kara Isabella : Backyard Lots

“Backyard Lots is a neighborhood revitalization program that transforms vacant lots into safe and local recreational outlets for the neighborhood of Slavic Village in Cleveland, Ohio.”

Description: Backyard Lots showcases the benefits and potential of vacant properties. The idea behind Backyard Lots is to take what some people may see as a liability and turn it into an asset for the community. Backyard Lots provides secure and convenient locations for youth to organize and participate in sports. The program provides residents with the necessary recreational outlets they don’t currently have, and attracts new residents and retains current residents in order to fill vacancies and create a thriving community once again.

Claire Kim : Wonder

“Wonder is a web app that fuses a work-rest cycle into the daily routines of working professionals so they can achieve positive energy throughout the day.”

Description: Because of guilty nagging feelings, NYC working professionals hardly take proper renewal breaks. The negative impact of skipped breaks culminates in increases in fatigue and decreases in productivity. Wonder eases into professionals’ daily routines by helping them take micro, renewal breaks. Approaching in a humane and personal way, Wonder allows professionals to embrace the work-rest cycle by enjoying the getaway activities, while taking breaks from the endless hours spent on the computer.  In addition, professionals can share their experiences with colleagues by encouraging the culture of taking renewal breaks. Ultimately, Wonder provides impact metrics to enable users to visualize their progress and the salutary effects of their daily renewal breaks.

Nazlı Cangönül : Cass

“Cass is a text-based communication outlet for women dealing with sexism at work in their early careers. It activates a more constructive self- reflection process in response to sexist incidents.”

Description: Sexism is one of the major barriers for women’s advancement in their careers. Self-reflection is the first and leading step to influence responses to sexist incidents, and can overcome confusion,self-doubt and fear of confrontation. Cass is a text based self-reflection tool that generates a tangible conversation, deliberately building trust in the contemplation process.

Ivan Boscariol : Boiling Down

“Boiling down is an after school program that builds healthier relationships in middle schools through cooking.”

Description: Kids who are bullied and under intense social pressure in schools are up to 9 times more likely to commit suicide. During Middle-School, puberty and peer pressure are soaring, but there is a lack of effective programs to support kids to have healthier relationships. The program mixes reflections and dialogs that translate into unique dishes, making social-emotional learning into a fun and experiential experience without the stigma of current options.

Hannah Phang and Bruno Silva : Clo.

“Clo is a clothing sharing platform for college age women that uses borrowing to reduce the consumption of new clothes.”

Description: The fashion industry has a tremendous impact on the environment and on human well-being, from toxic water waste to child labor, but more and more new clothes are demanded each year. Clo is a way for the main target audience of cheap fashion retailers, college age women, to share clothes, making borrowing a more efficient and attractive alternative to buying new clothes, while also informing them of the positive environmental impact of sharing compared to buying new. Users create profiles, upload images of their clothes to digital closets, search and borrow from their friends, trying new clothes and expanding their closets at no cost, and see the connection between their individual actions to the larger environmental impact. By increasing the existing behavior of sharing clothes, we can reduce demand for fast fashion and therefore reduce the negative consequences of the fashion industry.

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