As an avid climber and hiker, Alexia Cohen found herself interested in examining the role of women in the great outdoors. When she started climbing three years ago, she attended an event organized by Flash Foxy—a group of women dedicated to celebrating and empowering women climbers. Through this event, she met her climbing partner Janice, who as Alexia recalls “quickly became a friend and a mentor. Her guidance and support helped me develop my climbing technique and become more comfortable in this new space.” She also began to understand the importance of community and women mentors in traditionally male-dominated spaces.
In her thesis Prosumerism: Crafting Alternate Consumption Experiences, Sowmya Iyer explores whether products and services can ease the consumer’s guilt of excessive spending and materialism by providing them with options that best fit their values of sustainability. She also wanted to find out if these products/services could be adaptive to the consumer’s lifestyle and built for their convenience. As part of her research process, Sowmya spoke to researchers, innovators, educators, authors, and artists exploring ways to reduce the effects of modern consumerism on the environment.
The #MeToo Awareness Campaign was designed by student Eugenia Ramos Alonso for Making Studio. She wanted to highlight the frequency of the hashtag #MeToo and raise awareness of how common acts of sexual assault take place.
Wondering if the MFA in Products of Design program might be right for you? Most prospective students, professionals, journalists, and recruiters taking a look at our program have a lot of questions about what makes it different. They want to know who it attracts, what the curriculum and experience are like, and what our students do after they graduate. So we put together a list of the program's 14 key ingredients.
Juho Lee’s thesis work was inspired by the conversation that he had with his close friend about depression and suicidal feelings in South Korea during the summer of 2017. He recalls, “It seemed like a very serious issue, and I didn’t know what my friend was going through until he shared his suicide ideation. Even though he said he is okay now and laughed it off when he told me, I didn’t know how to respond.” This experience made Juho realize that perhaps Korean men are unable to reach out for help when they really need it. As someone who spent his youth in South Korea, Juho also recognized that he never learned how to discuss the topic of suicide with anyone. This insight inspired his master’s thesis Cast Away: Designs for Socially Isolated Korean Men Contemplating Suicide.
The historical mindset towards people with physical disabilities has been one of pity and exclusion. While the notion of pity and exclusion is looked down upon in liberal societies, an understanding of what constitutes the objectification of people with disabilities, as well as a greater effort towards inclusion, is still not widespread. The voices of people with limb loss and limb differences (LL/D) are not part of an extensive ongoing conversation about their rights, needs and wants. Through her thesis Upgrade, Adya aims to create the conditions that lead to more open conversations about and with people with LL/D and their acceptance in society, as well as easier access to products and services that improve their quality of life.
Before Jingting He started her thesis, she did a year-long project that consisted of sliding anonymous thank-you notes underneath the Department Chair’s office door every Monday morning. By designing these letters anonymously, she felt she could express herself more freely and creatively. She wouldn't have realized she was creative enough to produce such delightful work if she hadn’t given herself a mask of anonymity. Therefore, Jingting developed A Mask That Reveals: Exploration and Expression Through Anonymity, a thesis that creates anonymous platforms to help people explore and express other sides of themselves.
Louis Elwood-Leach’s thesis Invisible Possessions explores the rise of these invisible products and considers opportunities to reclaim our relationship with possessions in an augmented age that increasingly values access over possession, experience over product, and machine over individual. Elwood-Leach argues that in losing sight of the possessions in our lives, we are losing the means to engage with our memories, culture and sense of self.
"Currently, we live in a world that is a consequence of ignoring sound. We have reached peaks of noise pollution in our physical environments—especially in urban landscapes. This has occurred because the visual has been given priority over the aural, and continuous ignorance has led us to create and use noise abatement measures to reduce the effects of unintentionally designed soundscapes." Through his thesis Contemporary Soundscapes: Design to Prioritize Untapped Aural Potential in the Visual World, Antriksh takes the opportunity to explore the use of untapped audio potential as a medium of experience and product design through which he can engage people with the meaning of sound in its various forms.
Reaching the peak performance in competition is something athletes constantly struggle with. Many companies, doctors, research labs, and sports teams invest a lot of time and money developing new strategies and technologies to improve athletes’ performance—ranging from new training techniques to researching failure, success and how the human body works to perform sports-specific tasks. After a year of experience and research on the subject, Sebastian Harmsen states “to this day, there hasn’t been a perfect formula for success in sports, but some athletes are pretty darn close!”