Priyanka Pillai (MDE ’24) – “You can solve anything”

“Growing up in India, Priyanka Pillai witnessed the immense and varied struggles many impoverished people faced in their daily lives, such as getting prenatal care and protecting children from labor exploitation.

As an undergraduate in Bangalore studying industrial design, she wondered whether good design could help ease at least parts of these and other challenges. She came to Harvard Graduate School of Design two years ago and got her answer, discovering she could take on big problems “that you don’t even realize … could be tackled with design.”

Pillai wanted to do something to help address the refugee crisis in Uganda for her independent design engineering project. Those projects span two semesters and call for students seeking a master’s in design engineering (a joint GSD and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences program) to identify complex, real-world problems and develop solution prototypes.”

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