Two years ago when I made the decision to go to graduate school I had no idea how an MFA in Design for Social Innovation would change my life but I knew it would be big.
I loved design and my work but something was lacking. I was searching for more meaning, and with my two kids away at college, I had some time to think. I was an unexpected widow—life was not going to play out like I had imagined.
I broke the news to the kids that all three of us would be college students. Then I packed up our home of 25 years in Washington DC, rid myself of mountains of stuff, landed in Brooklyn, and dove into school head first. For the next two years everything that I had learned and relied on as a professional designer over a long career was altered by new ways of seeing, imagining, and creating.
Last month I presented my thesis project — My Future Self — before a crowd of professors, peers, family, and friends. Cheryl Heller, Chair, told the crowd she began the program to create a pathway for designers “who want to work — at a strategic level — on the most important social and environmental issues of our time.”
Education is my issue. I believe all children are creative thinkers and will flourish when they discover their own inner passions. Then they will not see school time as time spent checking boxes and following rules but as time for self discovery. As a design thinker, I want to help teachers and children understand their potential for greatness and then support them as they reach for it.
I met DK Holland last year and we both quickly realized our mutual passion for kids, education, and making a better society. So we teamed up and founded Inquiring Minds.
Now school is out and we are at a new beginning focused full-time on our mission. And here I am, newly graduated, diploma in hand, an MFA added to my name. I have arrived at a place I could not even imagine two years ago. And yet I’m doing exactly what I set out to do. This is big! This is really big.