Director of Graduate Studies, Design & Visual Communications
Affiliate faculty, Center for Latin American Studies
Research Interests: co-design, decoloniality, horizontal design theory and methods, identity, human-centered design
Geographical Focus: México, Florida
design = respect. All beings merit respect. As an educator, researcher, and designer, my goal is to support inclusivity, multivocality, and value multiple perspectives and experiences. Having lived on four continents and traveled to six in my youth shaped my worldview. As a result of my experiences then and now, I value multiple kinds of knowledges, frameworks, and perspectives which exist in and constitute the world. I strive to include this worldview in my teaching, research, and service. My current project focuses on framing a methodology for designers to work responsibly and authentically with people in context.
My trans-cultural background and perspective influences my work, in which I explore the potential of design and visual communication to positively shape the human experience. I founded of Design for Development (D4D) to co-design with indigenous entrepreneurs in rural Mexico and subject matter experts on grassroots economic development projects. By co-designing with clients as partners, I find it is possible to develop products and strategies relevant to the context and constituents. My intent, to this end, is to orient the design discipline toward methods and socially conscious outcomes that are sustainable and responsible.
With Raúl Sánchez, I co-authored the chapter “Co-Designing for Development” in The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design, edited by RB Egenhoffer. London: Routledge Press (2018). I am is the recipient of several grants to support my work, including a Sappi “Ideas That Matter” grant (with Gaby Hernández), the inaugural American Institute of Graphic Arts Design Research Grant and three Fulbright grants. I share my work on design methods and pedagogy at conferences, including the AIGA H3 Biennial Conference, the AIGA New Contexts/New Practices Social Economies thread, GLIDE ‘10: Global Interaction in Design—where I was awarded best paper—and at MX Design Conference: Social Impact of Design (Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City). My article “Identity and Representation: (Yucatec) Maya in the Visual Culture of Tourism” was published in the Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies Journal and I was one of 24 international educators to contribute to the Icograda Design Education Manifesto Update.
My creative design work has appeared in national and international juried exhibitions in the UK, Hungary, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, and the US. In the past, I have worked as a senior designer for Sapient (Atlanta) on the design of large-scale websites for international clients, including the Dutch bank ING and at other design and marketing firms as well as with the US Government. I have also served on design juries, including chairing Design Incubation’s Communication Design Educators Awards program in 2018 and 2019.
I received her MFA in Design/Visual Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to that, I studied Political Science from Villanova University where I received my BA and later studied design at the University of Maryland as a post-bac student to begin her career in design. You will see the influences of a liberal arts education, early work in economic and social development, and an interest in political economy in my work.