Design For America UT Austin
Creating social impact through design
The mission of Design for America - UT Austin is to use human-centered design to create a social impact on a local as well as a national scale. We strive to find solutions to challenging problems in our community and foster a studio culture that values diverse perspectives and collaboration.
A message from our Studio Leads
"The work we do here at Texas DFA enables future leaders and problem-solvers to create solutions for the social challenges of today. I'm proud to be serving as a studio lead this semester to continue our mission of providing quality design thinking education and opportunities to the members of our community."
- Albert Escobedo
"Design for America has been an incredibly enlightening experience. For me, this organization is a prime example of how change can be done at a grassroots level to impact an individual or group of people. I have learned so many meaningful values from my teammates such as the power of collaboration, the importance of trust, and the positive outcome of patience. Going forward, I am excited to build onto the DFA foundation of empathy, collaboration, and social impact. Our teams have done some amazing work and I am excited to lead and see what opportunities lie ahead!
- Neil Potnis
A message from our Founders
"Since we started taking on projects last semester, DFA Texas has grown leaps and bounds as a studio. I've learned that students only require a platform to do big things - by offering good leadership, energetic teams, and a fundamental grounding in design thinking principles, DFA Texas has become that platform. It has been an absolute privilege to lead this studio and watching our designers at work. This past year has been deeply rewarding and exciting, but I know that the coming years will be even better!"
- Shoumik Dabir
"Being a part of DFA has been one of the highlights of my college career. It has been incredibly inspiring to see how everyone is so energized in using design thinking for good, and how that energy turns into something real at the end of every semester. Being a project lead for the study spaces team last semester and being a project member for the monuments team this semester have been wonderful opportunities for learning, growth, and collaboration. Design for us isn’t some vague concept, it’s a lifestyle."
- Brooke Reaves
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our project teams had to transition group meetings to an online setting. Rather than putting the projects on a standstill, the project leads and the team members adapted to the situation and were able to continue designing remotely.
"Learning to transfer the type of work we do to a virtual setting was an interesting problem to tackle. I think having been so accustomed to running workshops and meetings in person, I was apprehensive as to how effective it would be but once we all became familiar with the online tools at our disposal we were able to come out on top with a great solution to our problem."
- Albert Escobedo II
YMCA Changemakers Project
“We had some difficulty at first finding times to meet up and get work done between everyone's modified schedules. We alleviated this issue by using Google Calendar invites linked to Zoom meetings so that everyone was on the same page with meetings.”
- Sean Feng
Healthy Eating Project
"Moving the DFA Monuments Team to a virtual setup required an extra level of trust for each member of the team to have in each other and ourselves. None of the work to progress a DFA project is done individually, and we were losing not only crucial face-time to build a team dynamic and that group trust, but we were living through a life-altering crisis. Our team used time during our weekly check-ins to connect emotionally and mentally from where we were in our lives, and adjust project expectations to allow each member of the team to succeed from where they were."
- Kelsey Wingo