New studios are now on the map! Supported by our flagship DFA National at Northwestern University.

The DFA network is growing with a group of exceptional new studios joining the network! This past year, they’ve worked to build excitement on their campuses, build relationships with their community members, apply the human-centered design process to a social challenge, and develop leadership teams to guide the studio to success. Launching a DFA studio doesn’t happen overnight – we’re so proud of what they’ve accomplished so far and excited to see what they do next year! Please join us in welcoming them to the network!

New Studios Images 2016-02

Learn more about what these amazing groups of mentors, users, community partners, and students have already accomplished:


BOW (Babson College, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, and Wellesley College)

studio poster 2

Given the emphasis placed on developing, iterating on, and executing ideas at Olin College, Babson College, and Wellesley College, utilizing DFA’s resources to make those solutions a reality in their local communities is a natural fit. Just as DFA provides a valuable tool and method for collaboration, the respective strengths of all three colleges will shine through in the structure of a DFA studio. Bringing together the engineering practice of Olin College students with the business and entrepreneurship strength of Babson College students and the liberal arts expertise of Wellesley College students presents a unique opportunity to accomplish everything DFA stands for.

BOW makes materials more accessible for self-identified makers


Purdue University

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 11.01.21 AM

DFA Purdue strives to enable project experience for their multidisciplinary teams and push their ideas beyond the classroom to create sustainable, positive change both locally and globally. The studio has already tackled the problem of pollution from multiple different angles. They’ve also built community through a wordpress site to celebrate their new members and showcase their events.


San Jose State University

San Jose State University is a diverse school bringing students from all economic and cultural backgrounds into the workforce in one of the most profitable, innovative and progressive areas in the country, the Silicon Valley.  As the world is becoming increasingly connected and collaborative, DFA San Jose wants to give as many students the chance to grow their own voice as well as the tools to bring their own visions into reality. Well aware of the increasing economic gap in their area with the boom in the tech industry, DFA San Jose has already met with members of its homeless population.

DFA San Jose’s solutions to help the homeless keep track of their essential belongings


University of Colorado, Boulder

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 2.52.12 PM

The University of Colorado is an innovative, open-minded and entrepreneurial campus. Boulder is a very progressive city that values forward thinking. Likewise, Boulder is a cooperative place where programs flourish from cross-collaboration between students and community members. The new DFA studio aims to be a large part of this sector. They already began this year’s project with a DFA Kickoff event that had over 30 members attend, and worked closely with their community partner Shalom Denver to improve the efficiency and ease of completing tasks for employees with disabilities.

CU Boulder builds solutions to help employees with disabilities at Shalom Denver


University of Maryland

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 2.50.11 PM

The University of Maryland instills in its students the value of fearlessly pursuing their passions.  As students from a variety of backgrounds, DFAers at Maryland all share the passion of creating a major social impact on the world. The studio can’t wait to use its fearless attitude with the human centered design process to bring about social change. By starting in the local Prince George’s County and D.C. area, their work will create substantial impact. Through Design for America’s network and human centered design process, they will harness collaborative thinking to empower our local community.

DFA Maryland tackles education inequality


University of Oklahoma

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 2.47.46 PM

Wanting to be the first Oklahoma student initiative for applied creative design, students worked to assemble an interdisciplinary team of student engineers, businessmen, designers, and thinkers dedicated to building the future and making an impact.  As the only DFA studio in the American Heartland, they have a unique opportunity to pursue projects exclusive to their demographic and design solutions to problems that few other studios would even know exist. Their current tornado shelter project is one obvious manifestation of this phenomenon.

Oklahoma designs a way to alert volunteers in the case of a Tornado


University of Pennsylvania

UPenn DFA Poster

There is a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies at UPenn. With four professional undergraduate schools, students are encouraged to take classes outside of their respective schools to achieve a holistic education. There is no such opportunity, however, to unite different curriculums in extracurricular activities. As a studio, DFA UPenn hopes to fill this gap. In addition, at UPenn, there are many mentorship clubs and organizations where students are given the opportunity to go into West Philly schools to interact with students. DFA UPenn believes this is not enough. Volunteering is effective to an extent, but there are many issues in the way in which UPenn students tend to embrace a savior persona as they drop in community schools and leave just as quickly as they came. DFA U Penn wants to offer a sustainable, long-term way to extend the role of U Penn’s impact outside of the classroom.

Penn tackles environmental risks in West Philadelphia


Stay tuned for more exciting updates as they join the other DFA studios in our network and prepare for next year!