Noun: A group of people united in making an impact on the world around them

Our Values

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.

Executive Board

Elisa Segura (She/Her)

Elisa is a senior in Engineering Technology & Management for Agricultural Systems from Lombard, IL
“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. This organization gave me great first hand experience in community engagement and design thinking all while making friends along the way”

Jay Reiter (He/Him)
Director of Operations

Jay is a Junior from Chicago, IL in Computer Science + Math
“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.”

Sonia Neelangatil (She/Her)
Sonia is a Junior in Industrial and Product Design
from Bangalore, India
“As an aspiring product designer, DFA has been the bridge between learning about design thinking and carrying it out in the real world. Surrounded by a close knit community of passionate change-makers, DFA inspires us to step out of our comfort zones and step up as an action-oriented design thinkers”

Kaitlin Skurnak (She/Her)
Director of Membership
Kaitlin is a Junior from Naperville, IL in Systems Engineering and Design with a minor in Disability Studies “I joined DFA because I am very passionate about the human-centered aspect of design. Engineering usually focuses on the technical aspect, and I wanted to expand my horizons. The people in DFA seemed very passionate about what they do, and I wanted to learn to make an impact in the community.”

Jaden Ambrocio Alcantara (He/They) Co-Director of Education
Jaden is a junior in Computer Science from Hilton Head Island, SC
“I heard about DFA during my freshman year’s virtual quad day and felt very welcomed from the start. I am interested in using interactive software and computer graphics to create socially impactful experiences, and saw DFA as an opportunity to learn how to design with empathy and evaluate the human impact in my work.”

Esha Sharma (She/Her)
Co-director of Education
Esha is a Senior in Information Systems with a minor in Technology and Management from St Louis, MO
“I heard about DFA through my friend and I was interested in how they apply human center design to impact the community. Initially I didn’t have experience with HCD but overtime I have been able to apply the skills I learned to my classes and projects”

Our Partners

Passionate faculty who guide us.

Allie Ofisher
User Experience Designer

Lisa Mercer
School of Art and Design

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design

Olena Kindratenko
Education Coordinator

Our Sponsors

Leveraging human-centered design in business.


We’re National

Our national network was founded at Northwestern in 2009. Explore more here

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