Students

"I knew going into the program that our cohort would be made up of deeply talented individuals from a variety of backgrounds, and I anticipated that we would all have different skillsets and knowledge bases. What I did not anticipate was that our interests and ways of working would be so closely aligned: across the board, there's a desire to think systematically, understand details, and make a positive contribution to society."

-Brian Ho, MDE '18-


Student Profiles

 

Marc Apicella ProfileMarc A. Apicella

B.A. in Economics; Postbaccalaureate in Experimental Psychology

Marc arrives at Harvard with experiences in banking, academia, technology, and clinical research. Most recently, he worked as a researcher at Columbia University, studying novel methodologies for entrepreneurial ideation and teaching MBA students. During this period he worked concurrently in a cognitive neuroscience lab studying human perceptions of abstract art. His experiences in academia were preceded by his work as an intrepreneur at a Booking.com company in Chicago and on Wall Street before that. Marc will use the MDE program to design healthcare solutions using artificial intelligence and is particularly interested in exploring innovative ways to improve the quality of life for the elderly. Marc enjoys spending his time making music, competing in endurance competitions, and exploring new cultures. 
 

Katrina Armistead ProfileKatrina Armistead

B.S. in Manufacturing and Design Engineering

Katrina is curious about the gestalt of successfully manufactured experiences and products that sit at the intersection of physical and digital. She joined the MDE program to explore the relationship between human perspectives and meaningful interactions and to better position herself to make an impact not only in the end products and for users, but also for people she works with and leads. Prior to Harvard, Katrina studied at Northwestern University and earned a B.S. in Manufacturing and Design Engineering. She began her career at Accenture, working in business development and at the Innovation hub in Chicago. Outside of work, Katrina enjoys hiking, reading, and cheering on the San Jose Sharks.
 

Hyemin BaeHyemin Bae

B.A. in Studio Art

Hyemin worked a total of seven years at Samsung. Her experience in market research, product positioning, product design, CMF, and manufacturing quality control has allowed her to gain in-depth knowledge on how to produce feasible design solutions. Now she wishes to expand beyond designing technological products that yield individual impact to focus more on communicating designs at a societal level. The long-term goal is to become an influential designer who can produce positive social impact by solving major issues through unconventional means. One major way to achieve this goal is to create products or systems that encourage a sense of genuine interaction for consumers in areas traditionally considered to be provider-centered.


Ed BayesEd Bayes

B.A. in Anthropology and Law

Building on his experience in policy, law, anthropology, and the arts, Ed will use the MDE program to explore solutions to the healthcare and environmental challenges he observed while monitoring hospitals and prisons for the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone. Ed grew up in South Wales before studying anthropology and law at the LSE, where he won awards for his ethnographic fieldwork. Prior to Harvard, he worked at the UK Treasury, where he advised on the regulation of driverless car insurance and expanded multi-billion-pound insurance schemes to protect the UK economy from catastrophic risks. More recently, he created new policies for the Mayor of London to safeguard cultural venues at risk of closure. Ed is also an accomplished musician and Fulbright Scholarship grantee.
 

Rebecca Brand ProfileRebecca Brand

B.A. in Art History, Art Studio

Rebecca is a designer and strategist with professional experience in the advertising and architecture industries. She was drawn to the MDE program for its unique approach to complex problem solving and hopes to cultivate technical skills and knowledge surrounding urban innovation, sustainability, and service design. Rebecca graduated from Wesleyan University with Honors in Art and Art History, where she concentrated in Asian/Islamic Art and Architecture and staged a solo exhibition that excavated the visual legacy of planned communities. Outside the studio or classroom, she can be found biking or eating throughout the Boston area.
 

Kedrick Brown PhotoKedrick Brown

B.S., Rutgers University (Physics major), and M.B.A., The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania 

Kedrick is an energy derivatives trader with extensive professional trading experience and the author of the book Trend Trading: Timing Market Tides. He is also the founder of a media design startup and the inventor on five US patents. Kedrick has lived on three continents and traveled briefly to an additional two. He believes that mixed reality technologies have great potential to support ecological sustainability and improve access to employment worldwide.

 

Kelsey Burhans Profile PhotoKelsey Burhans

B.A. in Economics and International Affairs

Kelsey’s work focuses on the ethical and inclusive use of technology to generate positive shifts in complex global systems. Prior to MDE, she worked in big data, mobile credit scoring, and financial inclusion, striving to increase equitable access to economic empowerment for low income communities. Her Fulbright research focused on overcoming barriers to financial inclusion in remote Andean and Amazonian regions, and upon returning to the U.S. she helped to launch the Harvard Business Analytics Program. Through MDE she hopes to further the design of inclusive tech futures and augment the role of impact investing as a force for societal progress. Kelsey’s key areas of interest are gender and racial equity, digital toxicity, sustainability, biomimicry, and economic disparity, and her hobbies include hiking, martial arts, improv theatre, and vocal performance.
 

Barbara Alonso CabreroBarbara Alonso Cabrero

B.A. in Design - New Media

Barbara studied design at the Complutense University in Madrid, where she specialized in New Media. She then worked as an interaction and visual designer at Designit, where she participated in projects following a human-centered design approach. During this time, she worked in multidisciplinary teams for clients such as Repsol, Leroy Merlin, and BBVA. At MDE, Barbara is focused on expanding her previous knowledge by taking into consideration not just the user, but the whole community and its connections; not just the individual issue, but the entire system and its interrelations. Specifically, she is interested in exploring how design might help to unleash the full potential of new technologies developed in the aerospace industry to respond to the needs of our communities here on Earth.
 

Nick CollinsNick Collins

B.S. Biological Sciences
M.A. Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Nick's education and career began with cellular biology. While conducting research at Harvard's Stem Cell Institute, he explored his interest in automation-based cell biology projects. This led him to move to a start-up, where he sought to improve reproducibility in stem cell culture processes with automation. Wanting to expand his technical capabilities, he switched to the field of nanotechnology, researching infrared light absorption in nanostructures. Nick was drawn to the MDE program due to its highly multidisciplinary approach. While at Harvard, Nick plans to build upon his technical background by focusing on how to efficiently leverage science and technology in society. When he's not working, Nick can be found enjoying the outdoors. 
 

Noah X. Deutsch

B.A. Individualized Major (Ethics & Technology)

Noah is an interdisciplinary researcher, designer, and programmer focused on human-AI interaction and data ethics. At MDE, Noah is examining how AI systems can help solve intractable human problems in a safe and ethical way, with a focus on applications in high-stakes domains like healthcare and journalism. Previously, Noah worked as a researcher and designer in NYC, helping brands like YouTube, JetBlue, Sidewalk Labs, and WeWork better understand their users and design useful and intuitive products and services. Noah has a B.A. from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, with a concentration in ethics and technology.
 

Riad El SoufiRiad El Soufi

B.Eng. Civil Engineering 

Before MDE, Riad worked for four years as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company in the GCC. There, he covered various topics ranging from customer journey redesign to strategic business design and national strategy development in multiple sectors including energy, e-commerce, real estate and digital. Riad was educated as a Civil Engineer at the American University of Beirut where he focused on environmental and hydrological engineering topics. His experience and love for Beirut fuels his MDE aspirations; to come up with urban infrastructure and system solutions to tackle complex urban challenges in the Middle East. Outside the studio or classroom, he can be found in a contemporary dance class or art exhibition.  

 

Caroline Fong ProfileCaroline Fong

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

Caroline joined the MDE program to expand her capability to design simple, sustainable solutions for underserved global communities. Before coming to MDE, Caroline served with the Peace Corps, where she taught high-school physics in rural Tanzania. More recently, she worked as a Data and Evaluation Specialist at Children's Defense Fund. Combined with a background in mechanical engineering, these experiences motivate Caroline to continue working to ensure global equity in access to education, food, and healthcare. In her free time, you can find Caroline hiking with her dog, relaxing with a hot cup of tea, or scouring the Boston-area for the best cheap eats.
 

Kevin Gao PhotoKevin Gao

M.S. in Computer Science and Data Science

Kevin is a technology enthusiast specializing in software design, architecture, and development with a focus on creating and optimizing viable solutions in various verticals and enterprises. Prior to Harvard, he worked at Microsoft Research New York City Lab, aiming to apply the state-of-the-art machine learning in computational social science research and build open-source software and support its use in academia. At Harvard, Kevin plans to explore the best practice of collaborative design engineering in solving cross-disciplinary problems with social, political, economic, ethical, and technical components. He is interested in applying wearable computing, IoT, material science, bioengineering into innovative products, which can prepare human beings for the future social challenges and extreme environments, empower sustainable living, influence others, bridge divides, and reduce bias.

 

Dishi Gautam PhotoDishi Gautam

B.E. Engineering Product Development, Mechanical Engineering

Dishi is a mechanical engineer turned industrial designer with a keen interest in accessibility in commercial design. In 2018, she co-founded an IoT company that focused on driver safety and hard-tech. Soon after, she worked as a product designer in the aviation industry, designing commercial aircraft interiors. Here, she designed a Red Dot Award winning economy class seats and worked on developing expanding lavatories for people with reduced mobility to be able to have a dignified experience in-flight. She is actively involved with the World Design Organisation as a pioneer member of the Young Designers Circle, where she designs to advocate for gender equity in the design industry.

 

Anirban GhoshAnirban Ghosh

Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering

Anirban is a mechanical engineer with a background in medical device development, product design, and rapid prototyping. During his undergraduate program, Anirban worked on developing a mining robot for NASA's Lunabotics Mining Competition. He also worked with Fracktal Works, a 3D-printing startup. Here, he worked on designing low-cost 3D printers and worked with doctors to develop medical devices. After graduating, Anirban joined GE Healthcare's Maternal Infant Care R&D team, where he worked on a range of mother and infant care products, ranging from devices to monitor vitals to infant incubators. Anirban's main interest lies in developing cost-effective healthcare solutions for emerging markets. He also takes great interest in reading, sketching, and indulging in the culinary arts from time to time.
 

Jenny Jiang ProfileShangjun (Jenny) Jiang

B.A. in Statistics and Media Studies

Jenny is a media artist, digital marketer, and creative technologist who enjoys learning, collaborating, and creating. Prior to MDE, Jenny delivered user-centric solutions and high-impact websites as a growth developer at Autodesk, Yahoo, and Neo4j. She worked on a documentary about a town replicating Jackson Hole Wyoming, to deliver the American dream to Chinese residents. She helped develop a framework for revitalizing Japanese cities leveraging mid-sized US cities' growth data.  Findings were shared with Mitsubishi Estate and being implemented in selected Japanese cities. At MDE, Jenny hopes to continue multidisciplinary problem-solving to build products that can empower people and positively impact society. 
 

Huanwen (Gavin) JiaoHuanwen (Gavin) Jiao

B.A. in Product Design

Huanwen is a design manager that believes in interdisciplinary collaboration. During his time as program manager at frog design Shanghai studio, Huanwen facilitated teams with backgrounds in design, business, and technology to deliver innovation projects for automotive HMI, FinTech digital product, retail experience, car-sharing services, and smart, wearable products. Joining the MDE program, Huanwen is excited about exploring and solving societal problems by bridging his experiences in human-centered design and program management. Huanwen holds a B.A. Product Design from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and was a candidate for Master in Management at HEC Paris. Huanwen enjoys painting, acting, tennis, and collecting postcards. 
 

Aqdas Kamal PhotoAqdas Kamal

B.Eng. Materials Science and Engineering, MSc Biomedical and Bioengineering

Aqdas joins the MDE program in a bid to further push ahead with his mantra of wearing many hats over the course of his lifetime. Prior to starting at Harvard he worked as a Data Scientist and Strategy Consultant in London. He's also worked in venture, where he focused on neurotechnology and quantum computing. Aqdas is an engineer by training, having read Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering and developed brain machine interfaces during his time at Imperial College London. At Harvard he hopes to work on pushing forward his worldview to democratize access to healthcare and education through operating at the interface of design, technology and policy. 

 

Mimi KigawaMimi Kigawa

M.A. in Geosciences and Business

Mimi is a designer, researcher and tinkerer who is fascinated with human behavior and has combined that interest with her passion for design, storytelling, and psychology to solve complex problems. Ever-obsessed with asking ‘why’, she gets her greatest satisfaction uncovering nuanced consumer insight and turning small human truths into big commercial ideas that have a positive social impact. Prior to attending MDE, Mimi was an innovation consultant at Fahrenheit 212, where she led teams in ethnographic research and idea development to design and test products and services across a range of verticals. Mimi joined the MDE program with a specific interest in material science and its intersection with technology to create smart solutions for the most underserved communities around the world. Outside of school, Mimi is usually researching her next hiking trail or rummaging through antique furniture shops.
 


Nishu Lahoti ProfileNishu Lahoti

Industrial and Systems Engineering, Business

Nishu has focused his career at 'intersections' - the intersection of engineering and business, operations and policy, and data and decision making. Prior to MDE, Nishu worked at Google as an operations specialist, project manager, and strategist across People Operations, Google Fiber, and Developer Relations. Within MDE, Nishu hopes to expand his abilities as a creative and technical problem solver for issues related to the future of cities, technology, and humanity.

 

Szu-Yu LaiSzu-Yu (Patricia) Lai

B.S. in Public Health / M.S. in Psychology 

Patricia is a strong advocate for user-centered design. She believes understanding users is the fundamental of a successful design. Her interests span multiple areas, including psychology, neuroscience, biology, and technology. Prior to Harvard, Patricia was a brilliant interaction designer and human factors researcher at ASUS and HTC in Taiwan, using both scientific and design methodologies to define users' problems and design commercial electronics products that fit user needs. Her projects in the industry ranged form interface design in smartphones and laptops, interaction design in companion robots to perceptual research on VR devices. At Harvard, she dives into user experience design, product design and service design, and has sharpened her design skills as well as her collaboration skills to work with engineers, designers, and product managers.
 

Felicia Liang Profile PhotoFelicia Liang

B.Com in Business Economics and Law

Felicia is passionate about combining human-centered design, human-computer interaction, and behavioural insights to design solutions that address urbanization challenges. During her time as an Experience Design Consultant at Deloitte Canada, she worked on digital innovation strategy and UX/UI projects in various industries including public sector, healthcare, retail, automotive, and insurance. Through MDE, she hopes to complement her breadth of experience with technical product design skills, as well as learn how to use a systems-thinking approach to design solutions for urban sustainability, mobility, digital government services. Felicia is also an avid traveller, having lived, worked, and travelled to over 30 countries. She is inspired by how sociocultural influences and technology have shaped design around the world and hopes to infuse this inspiration into her work.
 

Erica Luzzi ProfileErica Luzzi

B.S. in Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Erica has an interdisciplinary background in cognitive and brain sciences and computer science. Before joining MDE, she has conducted research in academia and startup spaces. Most recently, worked as a Research Guide at the MIT Media Lab where she explored cutting-edge research and found opportunity areas for partners in industry and government. Erica joins MDE hoping to transition into human-computer interaction-related work. She is specifically interested in how human behavior change, social connection and empathy are mediated through technology, and hopes to focus on the related ethics of data, influence, and digital identity.
 

Steven Morse ProfileSteven Morse

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

Steven is a passionate designer and engineer. He studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois and, while there, began working for the Marketplace Literacy Program (MLP). MLP is a global non-profit that develops research-based educational resources for communities experiencing poverty. Steven has written his own book and created an online simulation game based on his ethnographic research. Steven now serves as a member of MLP’s Board. Before joining the MDE program at Harvard, Steven worked as a Product Quality Engineer and Mechanical Engineer at Viasat, a satellite communications company in Southern California. At Viasat, he managed quality operations for several multi-million-dollar product lines and later led early stage prototyping for a series of low earth orbit satellites. Steven is interested in the intersections of technology and social good. 


Maximilian MuellerMaximilian Mueller

B.A. in Psychology

Maximilian is interested in the sustainable convergence of technology, creative practice, and economy. He aims to develop solutions that complement rather than overtake one's self and environment. Prior to MDE, Maximilian conducted drug research, produced music for artists and advertisements, and designed physical and digital systems addressing issues of attention and addiction. He enjoys mountains, mythology, and making art.


Elisa NganElisa Ngan

B.A. in Architecture

After 8+ years of chasing “why,” Elisa is now unpacking to “how.” She has orchestrated the construction of both public physical architectures ($500+ million projects) and white-labelled digital platforms (Fortune 500 & Global 2000 enterprises) across regulated and unregulated spaces. With this cross-domain multi-sectoral experience, she is able to bring holistic, practical expertise across the “Big Data” lifecycle, from ingestion with devices + integrations to processing with ML / BPL, through sane change management with data systems and access control. She is committed to leveraging design practice in order to protect ethical outcomes in light of increasingly connected environments. A person with severe hearing loss, a child of genocide refugees, and an outspoken woman, Elisa graduated from UC Berkeley CED with an intense love for critical theory in the built environment.
 

Pranitha Patil ProfilePranitha Patil

B.A. in Business Honors and Finance with a minor in Psychology

As a creative strategist, Pranitha will use the MDE program to develop thoughtful solutions at the convergence of technology, design, and global health. For the past six years, she has worked with healthcare stakeholders at Accenture Strategy. From non-profit foundations working in Africa and India to health insurance companies in the U.S. focused on the unemployed, Pranitha aims to serve populations often overlooked. In her free time, she enjoys cooking a new vegan dish, reading, and attempting to rollerblade.
 

Cedric Pascal Sommer PhotoCedric-Pascal Sommer

B.S. in International Business Administration

Cedric is a biohacker, space enthusiast, and entrepreneur from Germany. His mission is to make diagnostics more accessible and affordable for the one billion patients on this planet who do not have access to healthcare yet. During his studies at Harvard University, he specializes in bioengineering, machine learning, and the ethics of cutting-edge technologies. In 2020, Cedric co-founded a startup that specializes in affordable COVID diagnostics, helping hospitals, doctors, and patients during the pandemic. Prior to his entrepreneurial efforts, he worked at XapiX in Berlin and Google in Dublin. Besides his studies, Cedric enjoys going for long hikes, journaling in his notebook, and cooking meals from recipes he brought home from his travels.

 

Doria Spiegel ProfileDoria Spiegel

B.A. in Math and Physics

Before MDE, Doria spent two years in Ghana serving as an Educational Development Volunteer for the US Peace Corps. There, she taught STEM topics in a small, rural village and lead community development projects. Before Peace Corps, Doria studied Math and Physics with a German minor at St. Olaf College, MN and participated in several research projects in Germany and in the US in the fields of machine vision software development and materials research.
 

Stephanie Strifert ProfileStephanie Strifert

B.A. Environmental Studies; Minor Architectural Studies

Stephanie is interested in the intersection of the built environment, technology, and ecology and how they can be better integrated to create a more equitable, livable, and sustainable planet for all. Stephanie previously worked as a sustainability consultant at The Green Engineer, assisting architecture and construction teams on dozens of projects throughout New England. During her time in the MDE program, Stephanie is interested in exploring interdisciplinary solutions to complex social problems. Outside of MDE, you'll probably find Stephanie reading in near the Charles.
 

Takeo Tokunari ProfileTakeo Tokunari

M.S. in Isotope Geochemistry, B.S. in Chemistry

Takeo always aspires to be a leader that solves global, complex, environmental, and social problems by orchestrating the efforts of diverse stakeholders and technologies. After his studies in Japan, Takeo spent 3.5 years at a Nairobi-based environmental/social consulting firm. He then moved back to his local city of Kanazawa and joined Meiwa, an engineering company that manufactures environmental plants. As the director of its first International Development Division, he led multiple initiatives to bring its carbonization technologies to Kenya and other countries to enable conversion of locally-available biomass into a solution to drought-vulnerable agriculture. He is currently focusing on the collaborative educational experience, ranging from design and business to data science and engineering at Harvard.
 

Arthur van Havre ProfileArthur van Havre

B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science

Arthur graduated from McGill University in 2017 with a Joint Honours degree in Philosophy and Political Science. He went on to work as an artificial intelligence (AI) consultant at IVADO Labs where he worked alongside world-class computer science professors, data scientists, and engineers to develop machine learning (ML) and operations research (OR) solutions for enterprise clients across Canada and the world. Prior to joining IVADO Labs, Arthur was part of Trindent consulting, a Toronto-based operations consultancy specialized in the energy, financial services, and healthcare sectors. In parallel to his studies at Harvard, Arthur is part of the youth council of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada. This organization, part of the Canadian federal government, is committed to representing the voice of young Canadian scientists and engineers. Arthur is passionate about innovation, culture, and education.
 

Connie Wang PhotoConnie Wang

Bachelor of Architecture 

Connie is a transdisciplinary designer and researcher with a background in Architecture and Social Entrepreneurship from the Rhode Island School of Design. Prior to MDE, Connie was an Innovation Consultant at Deloitte Digital in New York where she launched new ventures and products, oftentimes operating at the intersection of digital and physical experiences and primarily in the FinTech and Banking-as-a-Service space. As someone who has lived her whole life in major cities: Singapore, Shanghai, and New York, she is deeply curious and passionate about the way cities and systems play an integral part in shaping outcomes for individuals. While at Harvard, Connie is exploring how the intersection of data, technology, and policy can help drive radically new ways to test and experiment in cities. When not trying to solve some extremely niche or complex problem, you can find Connie running along the Charles or doing pottery.

 

Jiabin WeiJiabin Wei

M.E. in Urban Planning and Policy Design

Jiabin is a data-driven urban analyst and an interdisciplinary designer. In the past few years, he has been dedicated to incorporating machine intelligence into the behavior-based place-making process. In the MDE program, Jiabin is seeking more entrepreneur opportunities to develop digital products into urban intervention tools by connecting physical space with virtual services. Before coming to MDE, Jiabin led several projects in the Beijing sub-center urban design team and worked as a data analyst at JJL. In his free time, Jiabin is an amateur film photographer and enjoys playing team sports. He played football in Milano Rams and holds a football referee certificate.
 

Jiwon Woo PhotoJiwon Woo

B.A. in Computer Science and Media Arts, M.F.A. in Biodesign

As a multidisciplinary designer and researcher, Jiwon integrates biology, creativity, and technology to deliver new design studies that suit both modern society's needs and ecological sustainability. With eclectic experiences in industry, academia, and research, Jiwon has been committed to pushing the boundaries of biodesign and biofabrication, as she believes they have strong potential to unlock sustainable development as a route to unimagined possibilities using technology to protect and preserve both intangible human heritage and the natural environment we rely on. Most recently, she worked as a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and as a design researcher at Biorealize. Jiwon is a winner of Bio Art and Design award 2017 and Ars Electronica (Artificial Intelligence & Life Art division) 2019. When she is not working, Jiwon can be found playing tennis or watching global independent movies.
 

Hana Yamaki PhotoHana Yamaki

B.A. in Economics

Hana aspire to develop new services/products that solve social problems. Prior to MDE, she worked at the Walt Disney Company Japan, developing strategy and implementing new business initiatives in consumer products and retail. Before Disney,  she worked a total of five years at the Boston Consulting Group in Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. During her time as a consultant, she worked on multiple projects including developing/launching new business, post-merger integration and others in consumer products and retail industry. She hopes to expand her skills to solve complicated problems in the world.

 

Margaret ZhouMargaret Zhou

B.A in Architecture, Minor in Dance and Performance Studies

Margaret is passionate about designing at the intersection of digital design and physical experiences. She is driven by the desire to design better experiences for building just, safe, equitable, and sustainable societies. Many of her academic projects have focused on the strange interactions that occur between digital and physical realities. Before joining MDE, Margaret grew up in New Zealand and studied Architecture at the University of California Berkeley, where her understanding of design shifted with the tides of changing social patterns, political context, and technological development. She has worked on various projects as a multi-faceted designer in airports and ecological biomes at Grimshaw Architects in London. Outside of screen time, she loves to read, dance, hike, and go on road trips.