DFA National is excited to introduce our two new wonderful Fellows joining us for 2017-2018! Design for America Fellows empower a network of 1300+ innovative DFAers to create social impact with their local communities while developing and delivered human-centered design education to 37 campus studios. Please join us in welcoming Ken and Geneva!

Ken Hunter

Bachelor’s of Fine Arts and Bachelor’s of Arts & Humanities, Michigan State University ’16

Fascinated by space, Ken constantly envisions how to manipulate environments to better serve those within them. He is a painter and public works artist that has a keen interest in developing a greater sense of community participation through engagement with his art, and looks to empower others to do the same. He sees DFA as an ideal outlet for developing community programs and how to move ideas into action. In his free time he enjoys making mixed media drawings, walking without any direction, and trying new foods (without walnuts of course.)

Past work experience:

  • Operations Coordinator at the City Rescue Mission of Lansing
  • Substitute Art Teacher at REACH Art Studio

Inspired by: Faith, nature, coincidences, and personal stories

What does being a leader of innovation mean to you?
Being a leader of innovation means empowering others to create the impact they want to see in their communities.

What is your favorite DFA moment?
The first project I led was was a sponsored project with Newell Rubbermaid about workers’ safety. It was late one night and my co-lead and I were trying to reframe and come up with a concept to start prototyping. There was a moment where we realized that we could not longer talk about it – but had to just get it done. So we decided on a model and moved forward. It was a liberating experience in moving past a roadblock.

What do you hope to achieve as a DFA Fellow?
I hope to develop the skills associated with managing people and groups that have differing needs and agendas.


Geneva Vest

Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology, Rice University ’17

Geneva sees the built environment as a social system that can both hurt and help communities. For this reason, she became particularly passionate about inclusive design at the urban scale which led her to study sociology at Rice University, work for local actors in her hometown’s city planning, and write about architecture and development to raise public awareness. She also likes to go either to really, really big cities or remote natural areas.


Past work experience:

  • Rice Design Alliance Editorial Intern
  • City of Houston Planning and Sustainability Office Student Researcher

Inspired by: The built and natural environment, leaving the country, going home. For a long time now, I’ve been making big and small decisions around what is sustainable for this planet–from choosing to bike to choosing my major. Also, I am most creative when finding the uncanny similarities and beautiful differences of other cities to my own.

What does being a leader of innovation mean to you?
Ken said it really well, but I’ll reword a bit: someone that creates spaces for communities that go unrepresented in their present environment.

What is your favorite design moment?
My favorite design moment must have been late one night in the student coffee shop when my three friends and I finally wrote the prompt for our design competition. We all came in with different backgrounds and expectations for this project, which was challenging at times, but that night it was like we all simultaneously had the same epiphany for how to ask the question we’d been getting at for months–one that left ample space for community input while still addressing the problem we wanted to fix.

What do you hope to achieve as a DFA Fellow?
I would love to be a part of DFA’s movement towards turning projects into products and services for the communities we have relationships with. Having never been in a DFA studio, though, I also hope to integrate the design process needed to reach a working product.