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Design Lab statement on protests, violence following George Floyd’s death

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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!


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.

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.

ucsd design lab

Andrew Krause

Photo and biography coming soon

brian leduc ucsd design lab

Brian LeDuc serves as a designer in residence at the Design Lab, translating his experiences working with Universities and individuals to navigate the emerging challenges of the future of work to his work in the San Diego community at UCSD.

Brian has spent his career authoring experiences and strategies to help students and administrators adapt to the emerging realities of higher education and work. He’s contributed to nationally recognized programs for students and supported projects resulting in transformative improvement of student outcomes [I], receiving national recognition in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post, and Inside Higher Ed. He collided with the Lab when he launched San Diego’s first Service Jam event in partnership with the local community, and he’s excited to engage as a designer in residence to explore ways that we create non-traditional pathways for individuals to learn and find their next adventure using a set of open-source tools called Looping Method
which he shares through his work as co-founder of career accelerator Best Monday Ever.

Brian earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Roger Williams University and his master’s in educational administration from Texas A&M. When he’s not at the Lab, teaching or using design with higher education administrators, or helping career changers, you can find him on a golf course, in a kayak, in a brewery with an IPA, or playing his guitar. You can connect with him on Linked, follow him on Twitter, or learn more about his work here.

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

emilia pucci ucsd design lab

Emilia Pucci is an Interaction and UX designer with a multicultural background with a specialization in wearable technology and soft circuits.

After building an emotion-driven design consultancy in San Diego and creating interactive garments for human well-being in Mexico, she is now working as a UX designer by day while developing her smart garments and facilitating soft circuit workshops.

Her passions include digital fabrication, yoga, dance, drawing, sculpture, making food and fostering body-mind wellbeing.

Her dream is a world where collaborative circular economies are the rule, not the exception.

She is available for collaborations, talks and workshop facilitation. 

Grace Rieger ucsd design lab

Grace Rieger

Biography coming soon

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.

ucsd design lab daniel suh

Daniel Suh loves data, design, and diplomacy.

Daniel is a data analytics and data visualization expert who empowers government, military, and nonprofit clients to discover strategic insights and share their most impactful stories. He founded a pro-bono consulting group of 50+ members within Booz Allen Hamilton that provides design thinking, data science, and change management services to dozens of nonprofits at local, national, and international levels. As the Founding Curator of Global Shapers in San Diego, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, Daniel leads a team of highly accomplished young professionals to launch community projects that promote education, equality, and civic participation. Daniel serves on San Diego’s International Affairs Board, as a mayoral appointee, to develop an international strategy for the city.

His passion is to help build San Diego’s future as the world’s capital for technology, design, and community inclusion.

Daniel earned his bachelor’s degree in Management Science (B.S.) from UCSD.

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.

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