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The Designer-in-Residence program (DiR) at the Design Lab is a core part of the Design Lab’s engagement with “the real world” and commitment to evidence-based design practices.

The Designer-in-Residence program (DiR) provides practitioners and leaders in industry, government, community and design an opportunity to work in the Design Lab’s interdisciplinary setting at the intersection of education, research, and application.

Under the Design Lab directorship of Don Norman, the residency program offers access and collaboration with UC San Diego’s leading design practitioners and researchers, student design talent, and alumni on a topic or project of mutual interest. Additionally, a vital aspect of the program is the general exchange of knowledge, skills and ideas. Designers-in-Residence are invited to participate in all general Design Lab activities and events and asked to contribute to the learning environment through their choice of interactive presentation, project feedback, collaboration on research and community opportunities, etc.

The program is designed to be flexible and customizable according to individual and organizational needs and expectations (e.g., duration, time spent in the Design Lab, project scope, deliverables, etc.) We understand the importance and benefits of being less focused on logistic constraints and more on meaningful content and outcomes that fit into participants’ busy lives.

Please contact Design Lab Associate Director Michèle Morris at

Come join us!

Current Designers-in-Residence

Nazima Ahmad ucsd design lab

Nazima Ahmad is a design practitioner and educator with expertise in branding and creative marketing. She has built and led creative teams, established and developed brands, advertising campaigns, events, and product marketing for consumer goods and SaaS companies. 

Some of her work includes the launch of Comedy Central and the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA) in Dubai. Whilst working at OSN and Ogilvy & Mather, Nazima collaborated with television giants HBO and Nickelodeon; and produced immersive advertising campaigns with renowned brands including Dove, Ponds, Coke and Dunhill. She has given a TEDx talk on her work and is recognized by AIGA, Adobe, and Lynx awards. Alongside practicing design, Nazima has taught design at Yale and Zayed University. She holds an MFA from Yale University in graphic design. 

Currently, she lives in San Diego and is working on City Canvas, a project that won the Innovation challenge 2020 hosted by SCALE San Diego, with the mission to find innovative solutions to build the creative economy of the city. 

Charles Chamberlayne

Charles Chamberlayne is a public and civic engagement strategist and an expert at designing solutions to engage the public, businesses, government and other high-profile institutions and individuals. He’s served as a spokesperson and communications strategist for three U.S. senators, a speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and City of San Diego mayor. 

On Capitol Hill, Charles’ career highlights include garnering media attention on the Senate’s effort to address mental health issues for Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, working to allow Rosa Parks to be the first woman to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol, organizing support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, handling media coverage of President Ronald Reagan’s state funeral and working with National Urban League President Marc H. Morial to coordinate the first National Urban League Legislative Policy Conference on Capitol Hill in 2003. In San Diego, Charles helped lead communications for the City of San Diego’s $3 billion in city operations which includes corporate partnerships, economic development and other major city announcements involving Comic-Con, Google Fiber Internet and the U.S. Golf Association.

Charles holds a double degree in history and political science from Howard University and studied for a Master of Arts in communications at The Johns Hopkins University. Charles is a founding board member of the Design Forward Alliance and has served on the boards of UC San Diego Athletics, Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Urban League of San Diego County, San Diego Youth Symphony and CONNECT ALL, an initiative of CONNECT, which is focused on increasing diversity among entrepreneurs, executives and boards of directors. Charles also appears as a frequent speaker and panelist on a host of events around Southern California and is a recurring public affairs and political analyst for FOX 5 San Diego.

j tanner cusick ucsd design lab
J. Tanner Cusick is a designer and artist exploring two related ideas: moments are a design problem, and, life is an art piece. Inspired by the question anything and everything ethos of punk, Tanner and his partner, Lilly, have spent over a decade creating joyful provocations. From the Museum of Beautiful People, to the 52 Weddings, to the Year of Being Awesome, the suggestion is that an artful life is maybe just the sum of carefully designed moments.

A user experience architect and content strategist by trade, Tanner has designed consumer and enterprise products at Apple, Amazon, and Caterpillar. In the business space, he is most interested in how products respect people’s time and enhance their sense of dignity. Whether the product is meant as a tool or as an entertainment, the intent is always the same: only take the time that people want to give, and try to leave them with a feeling of agency and fulfillment.

Tanner studied literature as an undergrad at Columbia in New York, and performance and installation art as an MFA student at UC San Diego. He enjoys reading novels, going to concerts, and having living room dance parties with his wife and daughter.
Seda Evis ucsd design lab
Seda Evis is a design strategist and a creative business leader with experience in technology, operations, planning, research, design and organizational process. Her superpower is systems thinking and a hybrid mind, combining creativity and analytics, strategy and design, left and right brain.

As the Director of Strategy at the award winning design studio Birsel + Seck, some of her work includes designing a new laundry experience with GE, envisioning the future of mobility for Nissan, partnering with Toyota design studios to rethink urban mobility, adventure vehicles and product ecosystems in urban Africa, designing a new note-taking experience with Staples, co-designing longer life with older Americans with Amazon, The SCAN Foundation and Alive Venture Studio, developing an innovation team at Bridgestone and helping leaders and their teams at Facebook, Nike, Philips, Converse, GE, Colgate Palmolive and other Fortune 500 companies and non-profits define their strategic vision for better work and life results. 

Her work results in new markets, products and concepts, services and organizations, with a focus on human experience and insights in a range of industries — technology, consumer goods, education, industrial, aviation and automotive/mobility. She has a firm grasp of making growth, products, teams and projects happen.

She holds an Urban Design and Planning degree from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, with a minor in Architectural Conservation and a Masters in Business Administration from University of San Diego. She mentors entrepreneurs and social impact innovators across the world. After 8 years in New York City and calling Brooklyn home, she’s back in San Diego, enjoying the California sun with her two kids, the elusive hummingbirds and making ceramics in her garage.

Alicia Griffiths is an experienced communications professional, with a passion for design and the built environment.

She has led award-winning communications campaigns for global brands including L’Oreal, Salesforce, Mastercard, AT&T, BT and Clear Channel Outdoor, as well as a long list of non-profits and technology start-ups. She draws on over 14 years PR and marketing experience in the US and UK, helping brands to tell their story, and approach communications with a firm grounding in strategy.

In her work with the Design Lab, Alicia merges her communications experience with her training and love of design. 

She holds a Bachelors of Arts from UC San Diego, and a Certificate in Interior Design from UC Riverside Extension.

Mark Hansen has a passion for family, creating, teaching, community, and making a difference.

Mark is a Senior Manager of Software Engineering at a major aerospace company where he has 15+ years of experience leading cross-functional teams in the development and transition of mission critical technologies for air and space vehicles.

As a member of the Precious Plastic community, Mark is helping to eliminate plastic waste through recycling and micro manufacturing. He is working to advance the equipment, break the current take/waste economy, and inform others of the current challenges.

Mark has a B.S in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University, a M.Eng. in Realtime Embedded Systems from Arizona State University, and an Executive Master in Sustainability Leadership from Arizona State University.

You can connect with Mark on Linked In.

Eduardo Hernandez

Eduardo Hernandez is passionate about how human centered design, systems thinking and disruptive innovation can be a catalyst for social good.

Currently he’s working as a user experience architect for health care and fitness companies to understand what customers are trying to do and how to make products fit them better. Previously he worked for tech startups, design studios and non-profits.

Eduardo has a Bachelors in Multimedia from San Diego State University. He has also earned certificates in Jobs-to-be-done theory, human centered design, systems thinking and disruptive strategy. 

Connect with Eduardo on LinkedIn here

ucsd design lab

Andrew Krause

Photo and biography coming soon

Julika J. Lomas ucsd design lab
Julika J. Lomas is a systemic designer in the field of healthcare, community design and education. By combining psychotherapy, systemic thinking and design thinking, she developed “Design Therapy” (link:, an approach to help couples design their life together and individuals to design their life.

When the Design Lab formed in 2015, Julika was one of the first community liaisons in our distributed community to shape our community driven design initiative by connecting both people and projects around opportunities through tailored community events.

Julika has lived and worked in Germany, the United States and the Netherlands. Her recent projects include Knowledge Sharing Culture for one of the biggest architectural firms in the Netherlands, Diversity & Inclusion consulting for the largest technical university in the Netherlands and “Elevate Everyday Heroines” (link:— an artful storytelling project for and about working moms.

She is available for remote design therapy, lightning talks & project consulting. Learn more at
bennet peiji ucsd design lab

Bennett Peji is a social impact executive with a passion for sustainable community development, corporate social responsibility, impact investing and public/private partnerships. He is an accomplished presenter, facilitator, and communicator who enjoys nonprofit board service, public speaking and involvement in projects that make our community stronger. Peji served as Vice President of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood innovation, directing the community affairs work as well as the business accelerator, branding, marketing and public relations. He is an international brand consultant, designer and frequent speaker on inclusive, community-centered design. Peji serves on the boards of California Humanities, Tijuana Innovadora and the UDA Foundation. Appointed by the Mayor, he served as a Commissioner of Arts & Culture for the City of San Diego from 2003-2012. He also served as President of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Asian Business Association. See recent news interviews at, and See his TEDx talks at and

laura spencer ucsd design lab

Laura Spencer, a former middle and high school teacher, has focused her educational career on leading transformational change through Design Thinking and real-world connections that provide students with extraordinary learning experiences. She is recognized for her work developing innovative K-12 instructional programs; delivering engaging professional development to support teacher growth; and building the technical infrastructure to make sure those programs are a success. She’s been honored as an Innovative Educator, Administrator of the Year, and San Diego County Top Tech Exec, as well as recently winning CUE’s Gold Disk award and the Classroom of the Future Foundation Innovate Award.

Laura shares her ideas by presenting at conferences around the country, as well as blogging at She also serves as the President of SDCUE, the San Diego affiliate of CUE (Computer Using Educators) and is a Founding Board Member of EquityEDU.

Randy Tran Designer-in-Residence Design Lab UCSD

Randy Tran is a Senior Applied Cognitive Scientist at Pacific Science and Engineering (PSE). He completed his PhD at the University of California, San Diego in Experimental Psychology with an emphasis on human memory, learning, and attention. At PSE, Randy brings science to the human-centered design of complex and high-consequence systems. He applies his research skills and interests to solve challenging problems in the design of user interfaces for unmanned vehicle command and control systems and for futuristic emerging technology concepts before they are fielded.

Randy also serves as the Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Nurturely. He utilizes his background in Human Biology and interests in reproductive health and child development to help guide Nurturely’s mission in promoting equity in perinatal wellness and creating a culture of support for infants and caregivers.

James White Ucsd design lab

James White is driven by people, passion and purpose. He is guided to design with people, rather than designing for people, allowing CX to drive decision-making and positive and repeatable RoE (Return on Experience). He’s a strategist and futurist challenging business paradigms with design thinking and the lenses of Viability, Feasibly, Desirability, Sustainability.

He’s a founding advisory council member of Market Ready Index®, responsible for Experience Design thought-leadership and oversight. He Co-chaired Design Forward Summit, is an active voice in San Diego’s 2024 Design Capital bid and volunteers for Social Justice groups such as Encinitas4Equality.

He graduated from University of Birmingham, UK in Psychology and Physiology and has become an influential strategist with 20+ years of consulting and design experience with Intel, Microsoft, Dexcom and Qualcomm to name a few. James has architected brand, product and customer experiences that have led to triple digital growth for his partners.You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Past Designers-in-Residence

Andrea Anderson

brian leduc ucsd design lab

Brian LeDuc

(May 2019 – April 2021)
emilia pucci ucsd design lab

Emilia Pucci

(October 2018 – April 2021)
Grace Rieger ucsd design lab

Grace Rieger

(May 2019 – April 2021)
ucsd design lab daniel suh

Daniel Suh

(February 2020 - April 2021)
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