Design for Social Innovation Announces Scholarship for DFA

MFA Design for Social Innovation (DSI) at SVA is pleased to announce a scholarship exclusively for a member from Design for America!

In their own words – “DSI is the first MFA program in Social Impact Design for anyone who wants to lead change in business, government, as entrepreneurs and the social sector. We work at a systems level, at human scale. If you want a better future, come design it.”

DSI Logo

Adobe Sponsors DFA For the 3rd Year!



DFA is proud to announce sponsorship from Adobe for the third year in a row, giving hundreds of DFAers in our network a FREE Adobe Creative Cloud account for the year. DFA is very excited about renewing this sponsorship to equip our members with the skills and tools to bring their ideas to life and make an impact.

Farewell to Fellows 2015

Thank you Sarah, Julian, and Brandon!

IMG_0132   11209753_376513185867585_7278469003346902143_n   Design For America

This past year, we’ve had the pleasure of working with DFA Fellows Julian, Sarah, and Brandon to mentor student innovators across the country in applying human-centered design to local and social challenges. As they wrap up their time at DFA and move on to exciting new adventures, we’d like to take the time to thank them for their tremendous dedication and hard work, and highlight some of their contributions throughout the year.

Leadership Studio 2015!

Last weekend, we invited over 90 DFAers from 28 studios across the country to participate in our 5th annual Design for America Leadership Studio!

Hosted at Northwestern University, Leadership Studio is a conference that fosters design and leadership skills in DFA student leaders. Over the course of four days, students worked together in interdisciplinary teams to apply human-centered design to those touched by Down Syndrome, designed strategies for managing their studios, and connected with an extensive network of students, alumni, and professionals.


Jerry the Bear Visits the White House

After being developed at Northwestern University, Jerry the Bear has enjoyed quite a journey.

He has won business competitions, met Warren Buffett, helped deliver a TEDx talk, and has improved the lives of countless children who have Type-1 diabetes. Now he can add another milestone to his ever-growing resume: yesterday Jerry the Bear visited President Barack Obama as part of the first-ever White House Demo Day.

Farewell to Sami!

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Dear DFA Community,

After five years of dedicated service we would like to share that in mid-August Sami Nerenberg will be stepping down from her role as DFA’s Associate Director. She will be moving back to California where she is from to be closer to her family. In the spirit of DFA, she has accepted a position as the Executive Director of the Alliance, a nonprofit in the Bay Area supporting female and minority entrepreneurs.

Welcome Fellows 2015!

DFA is excited to share that we have two stellar new Fellows joining us for 2015-2016. Design for America Fellows help to develop and deliver human centered design learning materials to DFA members to empower students to create local and social change in our communities. Please join us in welcoming Allison and Catherine and learn all about them below!

Preparing for a Natural Disaster with Illumiloon


Along with receiving a DFA Impact Grant, the DFA Yale project Illumiloon made a name for itself as part of the South By Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, TX this year by partnering with the Field Innovation Team (FIT).

Tom’s Guide coverage of SXSW said, “The Illumiloon from Yale University was one of the simplest but potentially most useful robots on display.”

After being approached by natural disaster innovator, Desiree Matel Anderson, Design for America challenged their national network to find solutions to local natural disasters. Responding to this call and their personal experiences with hurricane Sandy, Illumiloon was born.

The team created Illumiloon to be used as a method of communication during natural disasters when other methods of communication fail. These self-inflating, helium-filled balloons would be attached to the homes of disaster victims and can be customized with color-coded tags to signal different needs – such as food, water, or medical attention.

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