Activities and Events

Students participate in a number of activities and events throughout the academic year, both formal and informal. The program hosts public lectures and program socials, while students organize group outings. In addition to working closely together, students are encouraged to engage and network beyond the program given the amazing variety of groups and events happening all across campus.

Ramon Gras (MDE '18) speaks on food systems at "London: Food and the City."

MDE Public Lectures

During both years, students attend guest lectures given by high-profile innovators and leaders in business, government, design, and engineering. Open to the public, these talks invite interaction with speakers, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and staff from the larger Harvard community. MDE students and faculty have dinner discussions with speakers following the public lectures.

Past speakers include:

John CollinsJohn Collins, "The Paper Airplane Guy"

John Collins had been a professional in television since 1979, working as a creative director, executive producer, live television director, camera operator, news graphics supervisor, voice-over artist, and in other capacities, when he designed a paper airplane in 2012 that broke the world record for distance flown. The record still stands, and Collins, whose original designs have since been published in three books (with tear-out planes to fold and fly), translated into German, Russian, and Chinese, is now the world’s foremost paper airplane expert. 

Dana Cho LectureDana Cho, IDEO

As a partner and managing director at IDEO in Palo Alto, Dana Cho, MArch ’01, leads the company’s Silicon Valley outpost, working with designers, clients, and organizations to create memorable and scalable brand experiences. Her particular areas of expertise are healthcare, hospitality, and retail. Since joining IDEO in 2001, Cho co-founded the Smart Space practice, a business within IDEO focused on applying the human-centered innovation process to physical, experiential brand experiences at scale, real-estate development, and urban design.

Yvonne CagleYvonne Cagle, NASA

Dr. Yvonne Cagle is a NASA Astronaut and Family Physician. In 2008, Dr. Cagle retired as a Colonel in the USAF where she served as a Senior Flight Surgeon prior to her selection to the NASA Astronaut Corp in 1996. In 2005, Dr. Cagle was assigned to the NASA/ARC as the lead ARC Astronaut Science Liaison and Strategic Relationships Manager for Google and other Silicon Valley Programmatic Partnerships. Dr. Cagle’s groundbreaking work is preserving historic NASA space legacy data while, simultaneously, galvanizing NASA’s initiatives in global mapping, sustainable energies, green initiatives, and disaster preparedness.

Harry West LectureHarry West, frog

Harry West has led design and innovation at MIT, Continuum, Prophet and now frog, a global design and innovation firm. frog works in a broad range of industries including financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, enterprise software, automotive systems, government services and consumer products. They partner with clients to anticipate the future, transform businesses and advance the human experience.

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