People

MASD Students

Meet the current MA in Social Design students.

MA in Social Design students have a variety of backgrounds and experiences and come from around the world to explore the designer’s role and responsibility in advancing equity and social justice.

MASD '21

Alanah Nichole Davis '21

Alanah Nichole Davis '21

Alanah is Bronx NY born & Baltimore Based Performance Artist/Spoken Word Poet, Consultant, Organizer & Mother of two to Blair (7) & Harper (5). She Is a big belly, hearted, and loud black woman of West Indian descent who is best known for the impact of her voice in her arts & social change community in Baltimore and Beyond. In the past two years alone Alanah has marketed & produced a countless number of events, projects & campaigns for non-profits & small businesses that are arts, culture & social change focused. Many of Alanah's days since 2015 have been filled with bringing ideas & platforms to fruition. Using arts & culture as a catalyst for change is her superpower. Ranging from production assistant to project coordinator, host & performer Alanah has maintained an ambitious style of arts-based contract procurement in varying degrees at organizations & initiatives like Baltimore's Promise, Movement Law Lab, Impact Hub Baltimore, Motor House, New Creatures/Red Bull Amaphiko, Maryland State Arts Council + more.

Asheeta Khanna '21

Asheeta Khanna '21

Asheeta graduated with a BFA in Communication Design from MassArt in 2019. Over the past year she has worked as a UX designer at Indigo Ag — helping farmers to sustainably feed the planet. Born in Mumbai, she spent the majority of her years growing up in different countries all over the world from South Africa to Russia. Her cultural experiences over the years helped her realize how powerful visual communication can be as a universal language. She believes that as designers we really do have the power to make a change in this world. We can engage our community in issues that are important through compelling visual storytelling, a vision and a purpose.

 Bryn Dunbar '21

Bryn Dunbar '21

Bryn is a Baltimore born and raised designer with roots in photography. She went to MICA Undergrad for Photography and minored in Graphic Design. For the last 4 years, she has been an Art Director at two different advertising agencies: ISL in DC and, more recently, Barkley in Boulder, Colorado. She has worked on an array of clients including Twisted Tea, Angry Orchard, Wawa, Shoprite, LPGA, and Fogo de Chao. Through working in advertising, she became intrigued by mass art that can be created and how that can translate to social design practices. She is a people person, first and foremost, so she aims to make work that impacts people in a positive way through photography, design, and new practices. If her work is sparking meaningful and constructive conversations, she believes she has done her job. Just don't get her on the topic of food, movies or "The Office" because she will talk your ear off.

Damella Dotan '21

Damella Dotan '21

Hailing from New York, New York, Damella moved to Pennsylvania for undergrad where they studied Religious Studies. Damella then moved to Washington DC where they worked in education and as a legal clinic coordinator at a non-profit. Damella has also been involved in SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice), their most recent work with them being co-facilitating a reading group. Damella enjoys leisurely bike rides, murder mysteries, dancing, and traveling.

Estela Duhart Benavides '21

Estela Duhart Benavides '21

Estela is an empathetic and sentimental human that happens to be a Designer. Proud to be originally from Mexico City, she holds a BA in Graphic Design and a Masters in Business Innovation from CEDIM, based in Monterrey, Mexico. Over the past 8 years, she has worked with a multidisciplinary team of designers around the world making appliances friendlier and more integrated to the home in different countries at Whirlpool Corporation, who transferred her from the studio in Monterrey, Mexico to the studio in Michigan, USA. She's passionate about exploring possibilities through collaborations, fueled by different perspectives, and while she has enjoyed impacting the visuals for appliances of global brands, she hopes her time at MICA's MASD program will help her move closer to her calling: utilizing design in the shaping of society in a more equitable and multicultural way.

Isaac Farley '21

Isaac Farley '21

Isaac is a designer and social entrepreneur from Ogden, Utah. As a child, he grew up in a family that faced a number of economic problems including being homeless for some time. These experiences lead him to make a commitment to do work that would benefit families that face similar challenges. Isaac holds a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Visual Communication from Weber State University. In 2014 he was a participant in Impact! Design for Social Change a seminar at the School of Visual Arts. It was here that Isaac developed a concept for a social enterprise called O-Town Kitchen that turns food waste into products and creates jobs for families recovering from domestic abuse and homelessness. After running this social enterprise from 2015-2020 Isaac now joins MASD ready and willing to broaden his perspective and bring a design approach to new wicked problems.

John Benton Denny '21

John Benton Denny '21

John Benton Denny is a social marketing innovator reigning from the most Charming City in the world, Baltimore, MD. During his undergraduate matriculation, at Morgan State University, John found his love for strategic planning, higher education, and public health. Joining the Baltimore City Health Department in 2017, John has spearhead dozens of Center for Disease Control (CDC) funded campaigns that spotlight the health and real-life experiences of black people in Baltimore. Through his research and human-centered approach to public health, John has grasped what it really takes to inspire and mobilize community needs and opportunities for equity, diversity, and inclusion. John is noted for his storytelling and action-oriented programs. He believes that storytelling and listening are informative data tools with feelings and emotions. John has used his skills as a consultant in assisting organizations and community stakeholders on how to better connect with the communities in which they serve. John lives by this simple quote, "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”- Dr. Maya Angelou.

Kalyani Jhaveri '21

Kalyani Jhaveri '21

Kalyani is a NJ based designer with her BDes in Graphic Design from Mumbai. She has a passion for design and parents who are actively involved in social work, which encouraged her to look for ways to use design in a way that benefited others. Upon graduation she moved to Melbourne and got the opportunity to work on a campaign for troubled teens, which made her realize design can be used to tackle some difficult issues and bring about a positive change. Over the past year she has been working with a print agency based in NYC, that helped hone her technical and team building skills. She believes that design plays a key role in shaping every aspect of our lives and used in the right way design can bring about a massive change in the society.

Kathleen Harmanson '21

Kathleen Harmanson '21

Kathleen Harmanson received her BA in Design Studies at North Carolina State University with a Minor in French. During her time at NC State she took interest in how systems affect communities and cultures and further tries to explore her focus through her travels. She hopes to design products or systems that add to the richness of communities while not taking away the importance of identity. She was raised to value the stories that differentiates us from our neighbors. Learning how to utilise the resources at hand is at the foundation of her thought process. As she grows as a designer her interests have begun to broaden to include a consideration of how textiles and the art of woodworking shape communities.

Lydia Tonkonow '21

Lydia Tonkonow '21

Lydia Tonkonow is a designer and artist originally based in Connecticut. A passionate painter, Lydia earned her BA in Studio Art from Wesleyan University before moving to Washington, D.C. to work as a Graphic Designer and Media Specialist at the Institute for Medicaid Innovation, a Medicaid non-profit, nonpartisan research and policy organization. Her previous professional experiences include a mix of community arts non-profits as well as a brief stint in historic preservation work. As a MASD candidate, Lydia looks to engage with design as a tool for both communication and the creation of sustainable change, focusing on addressing disparities and working towards equity in public health.

Rishika Dhawan '21

Rishika Dhawan '21

Rishika Dhawan has been interested in how a city is shaped by its people. Her interests started while studying her Bachelor’s in architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, where she researched the influence of space on women’s safety. This led her to working with nonprofits in New Delhi, helping marginalized communities through design interventions of building temporary schools and research initiatives relating to human habitat. She moved on to her Master’s at the Architectural Association, London, where her studies of urban theories helped her map out the city of Delhi through the moments of conflict that arise when engaging with one another or with a space; and the built environment it creates. Having recently moved back home to Virginia, she continues to work with nonprofits in Maryland and Washington, DC, furthering her knowledge and curiosity in the importance of the individual’s role in the development of a city. She is looking forward to continuing her education and involvement with the grassroot levels of design as a part of the MASD cohort.