"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-
B.S. in Computer Science
Concentration in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights (PJHR)
Oluwatosin is interested in the interaction between design, technology, social impact, and urban development, particularly on the African continent. Having studied computer science with a concentration in PJHR, she worked towards using technology to effect positive societal change. With a passion and continual commitment to developing human-centered solutions that combine smart, intuitive design and 'inno-native' technology to transform spaces and lives, she embarked on a year-long research fellowship to explore the development and effects of such solutions around the world, from Spain to South Africa and the UAE to Ghana. She hopes to explore ways in which technology can be used to transform the urban development trajectory of African cities.
Marc 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Trevor Storm Cobb
B.A. in Anthropology
Trevor is a design researcher, product manager, and entrepreneur passionate about harnessing technology for positive social impact. Prior to MDE, he led human-centered design research and innovation sprints for Fortune 100 clients. Trevor is a co-founder of Bramble Outdoor, a former entrepreneur-in-residence at Animal Ventures, and has worked as an ethnographer and consultant for clients including FedEx, Prudential, and Kaiser Permanente, among others. He enjoys nights in the wilderness, and green chile grown in his native state, New Mexico.
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.Â 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.Â 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.Â Noah has a B.A. from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, with a concentration in ethics and technology.
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.
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.
Bachelor of Architecture
Nupur sees design as a multi-dimensional entity. She worked in production design in Mumbai, India, and worked on multiple projects as an architect, notably for Puma and Amazon Prime. Her passion for performance design challenged her to take a proactive role behind the camera lens. Previously, she has been associated with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and forayed into research at the Design Innovation and Craft Resource Centre at CEPT University on vernacular furniture of North-West India. With MDE, she is keen to enhance her abilities as a creative thinker, problem-solver, explorer, and imaginative dreamer. Being a trained classical dancer and a vocalist has helped her maintain a creative balance.
B.A. in Psychology and Art Theory & Practice
Audrey is an experience designer and researcher from San Jose, California. She is excited about harnessing data and technology to discover new stories and inform design decisions. Audrey is especially interested in interdisciplinary solutions to complex social problems, including human trafficking, homelessness, and violence towards femininity. Prior to joining the MDE program, Audrey worked with physicians, patients, designers, and engineers at Partners HealthCare in a joint initiative to use clinical analytics and machine learning to empower cardiac patients to better manage their health. She loves playing sports, philosophizing, and making things.
Syed M. Rafay Jawad
Master of Business Administration
Rafay is an entrepreneur and strategist. He has a particular interest in tackling complex multi-dimensional problems and how businesses can be better designed to make a greater social impact. Rafay has recently completed his MBA at Babson College. Prior to that, he has worked in Pakistan where he designed and launched multiple high-impact social startups in the agriculture sector. He has also worked closely with the Government and International Development Agencies around policy re-structuring and support for the success of these initiatives. He is an artist, off-road enthusiast and animal lover.
Shangjun (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) 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.
B.A. in Design in Human Computer Interaction
Charmie has always been a curious observer. She received her B.A. from IIT Guwahati, and in her sophomore year, co-founded Zaffingo, India's largest yearbook-making platform today. Since her graduation, she has worked on building and augmenting design experiences across domains as a VR assistant at Microsoft Hololens, hardware modeling at Bosch, work on the official networking app for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017, and application design for other educational and healthcare platforms. Before MDE, Charmie worked at Dunzo, India's first Google-invested startup. Beyond her core competencies as an interaction designer, she aims to employ her understanding of human psychology and cognitive empathy to empower minority groups.
B.A. in Mathematics
Divyanka is a mathematician by qualification, an engineer by passion and a creative enthusiast. Before joining MDE, Divyanka worked at Facebook, where she worked on multiple teams, including Analytics, Global Marketing Solutions, and Engineering. In her latest role, she led technical relationships with media partners from the sports and entertainment verticals in various regions in Asia Pacific, focusing on strategy, design, and development of tools and products. Her recent projects were in the space of chatbots and artificial intelligence, where she leveraged the power of machine learning and organised communication to increase business engagement, sales, and partner value. Apart from work, she's also a One Young World Ambassador.
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.
B.A. in Economics and Political Science
Sarah has 5+ years of experience in strategy consulting for government and commercial clients with Deloitte Consulting LLP. Her clients have included USAID, IRS, USPS, and NASWA. She specializes in applying behavioral insights to craft experiments to enhance evidence-based decision making and policy designs. She formerly led Deloitte's Behavioral Insights group, and helped design the methodology for projects at the intersection of data science, behavioral science, and digital platforms. Sarah is passionate about understanding human behavior in order to help us make better decisions and correct for biases in ourselves and the algorithms we create. She is also fascinated by how governments can better predict future technological trends for social good, and understand its ethical, societal, and national security impacts.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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 MLPâ€™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.
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.
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.
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.
B.S. in Biomechanical Engineering
Elizabeth joined the MDE program after her studies at Stanford University, where she was a full-time student athlete competing in gymnastics. That experience gave her a unique perspective on biomechanics and allowed her to personally interact with the healthcare and medical device industries in many ways. Throughout college, her interest in product design and healthcare grew, and as she continues her studies in MDE, she aims to further her understanding and experience with the intersection of research, design, and innovation. Elizabeth hopes to one day design and engineer effective medical technology and/or services that are more accessible to people living in underserved communities. When not studying, she enjoys reading, watching movies, playing sports, and spending time with friends and family.
B.S. in Business Administration
With an interest in the intersection of technology and ethics, Arushi is learning how to combat the unintended consequences of technology on society, cities, and the environment. As a former business and product strategist from Silicon Valley, she hopes to promote proactive and responsible design and development practices through a combination of internal corporate behavior change and external policy solutions. Arushi started her career in technology investment banking before moving to business operations and strategy roles at LinkedIn and a Series A startup. Arushi is also a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers community through which she works on improving social health and fostering inter-generational relationships.
Master of Engineering
After graduating from the University of Tokyo, Hiroaki became a government official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan. During his work, he has drafted law related to Japan's nuclear disaster prevention, written speeches for the minister, and created diplomatic documents for the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He also researched international economic situations and made the White Paper on International Economy and Trade. He believes that Japanese companies can further increase their competitiveness by creating a business environment that harmonizes design, engineering, and business. The Japanese Government fully sponsors him for his studies.
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.
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.
B.S. in Biology
Cate joined the MDE program to find creative and collaborative solutions to issues in the healthcare delivery system. Prior to MDE, she worked in federal consulting, supporting novel Medicare payment methods to shift from a fee-for-service model to value-based payments. More recently, she served as a research analyst at the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, advocating for innovation in mental health policy and inclusive access to care in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. With a background in biology and public policy, Cate is a systems thinker and believes in interdisciplinary solutions to address complex problems.
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
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.
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.
Bachelor of Architecture
Lisa is interested in the elegant blend of physical and digital experiences for positive human impact. She is also passionate about teaching the next generation of designers and thinkers. As a designer, Lisa developed concept stores and consumer products for omnichannel brands at Eight Inc., as well as malls and towers at Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill. As an educator, she taught design studio to young students at Cornell University and the ArtCenter College of Design. Most recently, she received a DesignTrust grant to research the future of brick and mortar in Hong Kong and China. Lisa is from Pasadena, California, and has a background in architecture from Cornell University.