Announcing the Summer 2016 Designmatters Fellows

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May 1, 2016

As the Designmatters Fellowship program continues to grow with our robust network of organizational partners and we continue to enhance summer opportunities for ArtCenter students, we are pleased to announce four students have been awarded Fellowships for the Summer 2016 Term.

This marks the most Fellowships that have been awarded in one term since the program’s inception in 2006. Justine Esquivel, Shirley Rodriguez, RJ Sakai, and Anjuli Sethi join ArtCenter’s distinguished group of Designmatters Fellows who receive a generous scholarship to be embedded in an organization for one academic term, contributing their creative expertise and talent to strategic social innovation design projects. 

Justine Esquivel (Media Design Practices – Field Track) 

Justine has been awarded the Designmatters Fellowship position with the City of Long Beach Innovation Team (iTeam), supported by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Justine is the fourth Designmatters Fellow to work with the iTeam, and will continue to build on the work of those Fellows to bring innovation solutions to issues of economic development for the people who live, work and play in the City of Long Beach. 

“I am thrilled to work with the Long Beach Innovation Team this summer. The fellowship is an opportunity to combine both my design knowledge and business background while learning about how design is implemented within the context of the city, which is my focus as a graduate student in the Media Design Practices program. The i-Team is doing amazing work and I hope to be able to support and contribute as much as possible over the next few months.” – Justine Esquivel

RJ Sakai (Media Design Practices – Field Track)  

RJ has been awarded the Designmatters Fellowship position with the City of Los Angeles Innovation Team (iTeam), supported by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. RJ will be the first Designmatters Fellow with the iTeam and will be engaged in developing solutions to inclusive neighborhood revitalization and facilitating design thinking in the public sector. 

“I’m excited to join the iTeam because of my belief in inclusive design practices to engage the public, and my interest in how urban infrastructure collides with social systems. With its diversity of people, culture, and geography, Los Angeles draws me in as a designer interested in exploring how innovative technology, design thinking, and cross-cultural tact can create sustainable urban change. The Angeleno in me can’t wait to get going!” – RJ Sakai

Shirley Rodriguez (Product Design) 

Shirley has been awarded the Designmatters Fellowship position with Dalberg Design Impact Group in New York City, a social impact consultancy collaborating with partners to extend the reach of design thinking and practice to the realms of policy, market ecosystems, and cross-sector partnerships. Shirley will act as a design researcher and strategist within the firm’s active portfolio projects. 

“As a graduating Product Design student with a focus in social responsibility it is an honor to be chosen to be a part of the Dalberg Design Impact Group. I look forward to learning to combine both design and business strategy to create positive impact that is implementable and scaleable. Thank you for this opportunity!” – Shirley Rodgriguez

Anjuli Sethi (Media Design Practices – Field Track) 

Anjuli has been awarded the Designmatters Fellowship with Proximity Designs in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma), a social enterprise delivering affordable, income-boosting products and services that complement the entrepreneurial spirit of rural families. Anjuli will utilize a user-centered design approach to connect with local farmers, while working on a multidisciplinary team of industrial designers, ethnographers and branding experts.

“I am excited to join Proximity Designs to build on my interest in using design and technology to responsibly bring about social change. This is a wonderful opportunity to be part of a dedicated team that sees design as a core value for creating impact in an international context. I look forward to being exposed to long-term immersion projects while working alongside rural farmers in Myanmar.” – Anjuli Sethi