Category Archives: News

Upcoming Events, Application Updates and Gross Hall

Application Updates

This week each team has been busy interviewing applicants to we can choose our new team members this weekend and have our first official meeting with the whole studio on Tuesday.  Keep up the great work, everyone, we are so excited to welcome such interesting newbies into our DFAmily!

Our New Home: Gross Hall

We are thrilled to announce that Design for America Duke will officially be based out of the new creative space on the third floor of Gross Hall.  After a year of renovations, the building that used to be home to Organic Chemistry lectures and science labs now contains the Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an open space for a potential design kitchen in the basement, and several open student spaces complete with plenty of whiteboards, breakout rooms and movable furniture!  In addition to receiving permission to have studio time and meetings in Gross Hall, we also have a place to store our new ideation/prototyping cart.  The cart will house all basic prototyping tools and is the first step toward getting a whole room full of supplies dedicated to design.

Upcoming events

Now that everyone has settled into the rhythm of the semester, some of our partner organizations are hosting events to put our studies into use and perspective.

Innovation Co-Lab is a “creativity incubator” sponsored by Duke OIT to give students interested in high-tech development a space to be innovative.  On Saturday, October 5 from 11am-4pm in Perkins 217, Innovation Co-Lab is sponsoring an Iconathon.  Here is a little more information about the Duke Iconathon and how to sign up!  “Iconathons are facilitated design workshops organized by The Noun Project in partnership with organizations and sponsors across the country. The Co-Lab Iconathon will be themed around “Innovation In Education”. We are at a significant inflection point in the nature of learning in higher education. Online classes and new learning models are changing the way that we think about how to teach and how students learn. Speakers at the event will provide an overview of this changing landscape, along with what Duke is doing to lead these efforts. We’ll then tackle the design problem of creating a visual language for these new methods of teaching and learning.  This event is open to Duke students, as well as local designers and regional students (UNC/NC State), so it’s also a great opportunity to network and problem-solve with some of the other creative minds here in the triangle.”  Feel free to contact us with any questions and be sure to sign up here!

More information about the Iconathon!

More information about the Iconathon!

Our advisor, Matt Nash, works for the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship which is part of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) department at Duke.  They are hosting two interesting speakers in the coming weeks.  Both events are free to Duke students and sound super interesting and relevant.  The details are below!

“Social Media, Social Entrepreneurship and the Power of One” with Jay Jaboneta

  • Wednesday, October 2nd, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Sanford School of Public Policy, Room 04 (refreshments served)

A SINGLE FACEBOOK STATUS THAT TRIGGERED EXPONENTIAL CHANGE:  In May 2012, The Philippine Funds for Little Kids was incorporated as the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, Inc. On October 29-30, 2010, Jaboneta served as a featured speaker at Mindanao Bloggers Summit in Zamboanga City. It was at this event that he first learned about elementary school students from Layag-Layag, an island community in Zamboanga City. Close to 200 of these students could only attend school by swimming half a mile to get to the mainland.  Disturbed by what he had just learned, and encouraged by his friend Josiah Go to do something more than just post on Facebook about it, Jaboneta began a movement he called Zamboanga Fund for Little Kids, in an effort to help. The group began by raising funds to be able to provide the community of Layag-Layag with boats which the students could ride to school. Meeting initial success, the group kept pressing forward, searching for ways to be able to serve the Layag-layag community better while identifying other communities with similar needs. The effort eventually resulted in four separate Yellow Boat communities in the Philippines as of May 2012. Strong community support combined with social networking contributed to the growth of the Yellow Boat Project. Today, the project is formally known the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, Inc. with Jaboneta and Anton Mari H. Lim as co-founders.  Learn more about Jaboneta and the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation at and .  RSVP here.

“Taking Healthcare the Last Mile” with Dr. Eric Bing, MD, MBA, PhD

  • Tuesday, October 8th, 1:00-2:30 pm
  • Hanes House Auditorium, Room 131

Please join the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) and the Duke Global Health Institute in welcoming Dr. Eric Bing to Duke. Dr. Bing spearheads the Bush Institute’s global health initiatives, with an emphasis on creating programs that engage both the public and private sectors. He is also a professor of global health at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Bing received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, a master of public health and his Ph.D. in epidemiology from UCLA, and an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

“Every year, more than a quarter of a million women die during childbirth and almost 7 million children under five die as well.  Why?  Because, even though we have the medical solutions that people around the world need, we just can’t get it to them. They are dying not because we can’t solve a medical problem, but because we can’t solve a distribution problem. Saving these lives does not need to be costly, and it can be done now.” –Dr. Eric Bing

Duke Global Health Showcase, featuring Astronaut Col. Ron Garan

  • Monday, October 21st, 4:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Nasher Museum of Art

Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) and the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) will be co-hosting the Keynote Address for the Duke Global Health Showcase ( ), which will be given by Col. Ron Garan (U.S. Air Force, ret.). Col. Garan, a former NASA Astronaut, will be giving his “Orbital Perspective of Global Health”. The Showcase will also feature a poster exposition of research performed by Duke students and faculty in the arena of global health and will be followed by a reception. Please join us for this exciting presentation of the important work Duke faculty and students are doing to change global health around the world.  RSVP here.

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Apply to be part of our DFAmily!

Our information sheet is now live! Please check the “Join” tab for more information about the recruitment process and as always, email duke@designforamerica with any questions.  Applications are due Friday, September 20 by noon.

We are also excited to announce our first design workshop will be Monday, September 16 from 6:30-8:30 pm in the Link Classroom 2.  Pizza will be provided and it will be a great introduction to the human centered design process, we look forward to seeing you there!

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Week One

Not only was last week the first week of classes, it was Design for America Duke’s first week on campus as an official DFA studio! In order to establish credibility and clout at Duke, we met with a lot of administrators, professors and organizations to spread the word about DFA and create partnerships.

We met with Matt Nash from the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) who is working on bringing design and innovation to the curriculum and was so excited about DFA.  His support and insight are invaluable and we are thrilled to have him as an ally.

We also met with Peter Hollander, the Duke representative from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.  Peter has the shared goal of finding a space for design on campus.  We think it is so important for Duke students to have access to a place that encourages creativity and doesn’t double as an academic location. Hopefully we can work with Peter this year to find/create a space where DFA and other similar organizations can ideate and prototype most effectively.

Michael Faber is the IT Innovation Program Manager at Duke and he heads the Innovation Co-Lab which is an incubator for students interested in high tech.  We talked to Michael about possibly co-sponsoring an “Iconathon” for The Noun Project. The Innovation Co-Lab is like DFA for students focused on technology design and a partnership between our organizations has the potential to bring real impact to Duke/Durham.

In addition to these meetings we spoke with Dean Linda Franzoni (Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at the Pratt School of Engineering), a psychology professor and a drawing professor.  It is evident that there is a wave of design coming to Duke and we are so excited to be on its forefront. Now, our main focus is to recruit new members who are as passionate about this mission as we are.  We’ve been visiting lectures and took the Student Activities Fair by storm with a walking poster advertisement in order to spread the word about Duke’s newest creative, innovative and proactive organization.

This week we have two information sessions where we invite everyone interested in DFA to come hear more about us!

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Information Sessions

Want to learn more about DFA? If the answer is yes (which it should be), today is your lucky day because we’ve officially announced the times and locations for our two info sessions! The West Campus information session will be at 5 pm on Wednesday, September 4 in the Link Classroom 2 and the East Campus information session will be at 5 pm in Carr 131 on Thursday, September 5. We can’t wait to meet you!

Check our “Join” tab for more information/updates on the application process and email us at with any questions.

Leadership Studio 2013

Co-founders of Design for America Duke, Hunter Roux and Allie Hyans, just completed a 4 day Leadership Studio led by DFA nation at the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern.  Leadership Studio is a conference of studio leaders from each DFA chapter (Yale, Stanford, Rice, Case Western, Northwestern, Barnard/Columbia, Baltimore, Cornell, RISD/Brown, University of Illinois, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, Vanderbilt, University of Oregon and Virginia Tech) for a weekend of innovation, learning and fun!

leadership studio

One highlight of Leadership Studio was the keynote speech by Veronika Scott, creator of The Empowerment Plan.  Her story was inspiring, heartwarming, moving and motivating; it really exemplifies the potential for impact through design.  We loved Veronika’s story and thank her for the reminder that college students with big dreams and focused visions can actually make a significant difference.

The theme of Leadership Studio was urban flooding.  All of the studio representatives were split into teams of 5 where the members were all from various universities.  Each team was tasked with researching, ideating, prototyping and pitching a solution to the problem of urban flooding in 48 hours.  Allie’s group created a “Ziploc for your couch” called Safe Seal.  Below are some pictures of the Safe Seal final product!


The presentation board for the Safe Seal pitch

The Safe Seal prototype

The Safe Seal prototype

In addition to learning about the human-centered design process and hearing from incredible speakers, Hunter and Allie attended several workshops about studio management and structure.  We can’t wait to kickstart DFA at Duke and bring back everything we learned at Leadership Studio!


Some of the DFAmily studio logos hanging in the Segal Design Institute

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Part of the DFAmily!

After completing the year-long application process to become an official Design for America studio, we were welcomed into the DFAmily at the end of May!

At the culmination of the application we completed a month-long project focusing on energy conservation and the problem of dormitory room lights remaining on even after the student leaves.  Here is a video summarizing our design process and final product.

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