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Emily Ianacone ‘15

Emily Ianacone

MA, Social Design

Class of 2015

Emily is currently an inaugural Foster America fellow in Pittsburgh, PA, where she is helping to bring human-centered design practices to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. Foster America is a national program designed to build a pipeline of leaders and innovators in child welfare to help transform the system and improve the lives of vulnerable children and families.

She joined Foster America after spending a year as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF) in Washington, D.C. Emily believes in designing with and not for when it comes to creating products, services, and policies. As a PIF, she used human-centered design to lead an effort in mapping the foster youth experience with the Administration for Children Youth and Families and helped design worker.gov, a beta website for vulnerable workers to learn about and exercise their rights with the Department of Labor, the National Labor Review Board and the Department of Justice.

While earning a Master of Arts in Social Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), a program that uses human-centered design and systems thinking to frame and improve complex social issues, Emily focused her thesis work on the long-term impact of childhood trauma and chronic stress related to the social determinants of health. Emily also served as a design researcher at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, an organization that works to reduce preventable patient harm within Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Prior to graduate school, she spent a decade in advertising and brand communications after receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Rochester Institute of Design (RIT). Emily later returned to RIT as an adjunct professor and taught a number of courses, including Public and Social Service Design. An avid music lover, she also served on the Girls Rock! Rochester board of directors and has volunteered as a band art instructor every summer since it started in 2012.

Emily is thrilled to use her human-centered and visual design skills to increase preventive support throughout the child welfare system, working with youth and families to improve the client experience. She is endlessly curious about people, their feelings, and what drives their behavior, and is dedicated to achieving health equity through systemic reform.

This page was last updated on 12/04/2017.