Noun: A group of people united in making an impact on the world around them
Empathy, Impact, and Innovation
Design for America is a nationwide network of student-led organizations that aims to create products and solutions that solve real world problems. Design for America at University of Illinois is one of the most inclusive clubs on campus, boasting students from dozens of majors, as well as one of the top performing DFA studios in the nation.
Tackling complex social challenges can be tricky. The Design for America design process is here to help! We form teams composed of all backgrounds and majors to design products and solutions that solve real world problems. These projects all follow a guided DFA process with the ultimate goal of implementing the solution into the market.
Ally Merrett (He/Him)
Alastair is a senior from Macomb, IL in Urban Planning and Sustainable Design with minors in Sociology, Art & Design, and Informatics.
“I originally learned about DFA from Quad Day. A past member, Nate Mollway, had shouted at me from atop a newel cap and I was sold. I got involved in DFA because it combined my interests of social science, research, and community engagement. I wanted to make a change in the community and I didn’t want to wait until I had my degree. DFA taught me that anyone with the spirit can be a positive change. Furthermore, the people seemed bright and boisterous! And of course, who doesn’t like a free t-shirt?”
Aaron Alberg (He/His)
Director of Operations
Aaron is a junior from Chicago, IL in Computer Science with a minor in Economics
“I learned about DFA on Quad day! People were yelling and I was interested. I joined because I was looking to contextualize technical skills that are easily abused in the tech industry and used to further corporate interests.”
Elisa Segura (She/Her)
Director of Management
Elisa is a junior from Lombard, IL
in Engineering Technology & Management for Agricultural Systems
“Freshman year my roommate had a DFA flyer lying on her desk that she picked up from Quad Day and I decided to go to the HCD Wallet Workshop. I loved the judgement free energy and wanted to learn more about empathy based design”
Kaitlin Skurnak (She/Her)
Director of Membership
Kaitlin is a sophomore from Naperville, IL in Systems Engineering and Design with a minor in Disability Studies
“I learned about DFA on virtual quad day. On their socials they looked excited about what they do and wanted to check them out. Their work aligned with what I was learning in class and wanted to get more experience by working with the community.”
Terey Tellez (He/Him)
Director of Marketing
Terey is a senior from Chicago, IL in Industrial Design with a minor in Information Science
“I first heard about DFA from Quad Day and was really interested in this type of design I never heard of before – human-center design. Everyone there was funny and exposed me to so much I didn’t know existed, from design thinking to engineering. I admired how much they were doing and wanted to be like that.”
Rajee Shah (She/Her)
Director of Strategy
Rajee is a senior from San Jose, CA in Computer Science + Anthropology
“I first heard about DFA on Quad Day, and the ~fun~ flyer I picked up really stuck out to me. I decided to go to the intro meeting and everyone was so wonderful and welcoming. I wanted to explore social good initiatives in college and DFA happened to be the best way for me to get involved! The work we do in DFA allows us to connect with our communities and understand existing racial and social constructs that perpetuate harm. We do our best to design solutions that combat those!”
Ella Dennis (She/Her)
Director of Public Relations
Ella is a sophomore from Downers Grove, Il in Psychology and Global Studies with a minor in French and English
“I heard about DFA from my advisor my freshman year, and was super interested in the social action aspect of the club. I met some amazing exec members at (virtual) quad day, and I was hooked! DFA gave me a wonderful opportunity to create meaningful, sustainable change in the Champaign Urbana!”
Passionate faculty who guide us.
User Experience Designer
School of Art and Design
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Leveraging human-centered design in business.
Our national network was founded at Northwestern in 2009. Explore more here