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 '20

Vidisha Agarwalla '20

Vidisha is an Accessory design graduate from National Institute of fashion technology, India. While her time in college she developed skills to gain understanding about human centered design and started taking up projects to solve social challenges. For the past year, she has been working as a product designer with a social enterprise called BEMPU Health, to develop life-saving products for premature babies. She worked on ‘KangaSling’, a wrap that enables parents to easily provide prolonged Kangaroo Care, or skin-to-skin care to their newborn. Her product is being used in many hospitals in India and is also being showcased at the World Health Assembly. At her time in MICA she seeks to develop a holistic understanding about the entire system and understand and address challenges in society, not only in healthcare, but also in other sectors. Her aim is to use design skills to develop and provide cost-effective innovations to the developing world to address social inequity. When she isn’t on to the next social challenge she loves dancing, playing badminton and goes for a quick swim.

Sasha Avrutina '20

Sasha is constantly searching for ways to meld her love of design with social responsibility. She has spent that past few years working in an integrated marketing company where she has had the opportunity to work with multiple substance abuse centers. There she has worked on projects to destigmatize mental health and addiction treatment. As a strong advocate of community engagement through volunteering, she has shared her design skills and time with various non-profits focused on racial equity and conservation. She has received her BFA in Communication Design from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design where she had the opportunity to focus projects on topics that are meaningful to her, such as mental health and public health. She is excited to continue to learn and grow alongside smart and passionate people and to develop skills to better enact social change.

Heidi Good Boncana '20

Heidi Good Boncana is a visual storyteller and experienced global public health professional with specific expertise in the use of applied mobile technologies in low resource settings and tech-for-health partnerships. She has been with Johns Hopkins for the past eight years developing social and behavior change communication programs across health areas yet with a particular focus on maternal, child and newborn health content, first as a program manager then Senior Digital Health Advisor. She has traveled extensively as a documentary photographer and photo editor. Heidi spent years living in Mali, West Africa with UNICEF developing a photography and video reporting, and building communications for an international donor audience via community stories. She has worked with UNICEF, MSF, US-foundations, non-profits and corporations to produce images for annual and special reports. Heidi completed her undergraduate coursework in Media and Culture Studies at Oberlin Collect and earned a first Masters Degree in International Relations from The New School for Social Research.

Francesca Bonifacio '20

Francesca Bonifacio is a writer and photographer formerly based in Chicago. With a background in journalism, her work has centered on storytelling and developing strategic messaging for financial institutions and nonprofit organizations focused on social services and the arts. In 2017, she co-founded Backyard Chicago, a nonprofit that introduces Chicago Public Schools students to theatre and poetry as tools for healing justice. Originally from Manila, Philippines, Francesca is primarily concerned with and impacted by cross-cultural tensions and the lived experiences of communities of color under colonialism and systems of oppression. She seeks to confront historical trauma within these communities, using a design-informed approach to investigate where shared understanding of trauma occurs across generations and how resources are leveraged to build empowerment and healing. Francesca holds two bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Radio, TV & Film from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Jasmine Cothern '20

Jasmine Cothern received her BA in Studio Art at East Tennessee State University, where she focused on Fiber Arts. She is influenced by bold colors and patterns in the design work of Lily Pulitzer and Betsey Johnson, and the bright, vibrant hues reminiscent of Pop Art. She plans to bring more awareness to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has impacted her family and to inspire those around her to take action and advocate for a healthier community. When looking at her prints, people feel a sense of positivity and happiness. They are made with the intention of being engaging enough for people to want them for themselves. She plans to have a fabric line. By having people wear and embrace her prints that were created around this epidemic, it gives them a beautiful story to tell. It’s a way of bringing people to the cause by making light out of something dark.

Kadija Hart '20

Originally from Rochester, New York, Kadija attended Morgan State University where she obtained a BS in Telecommunications. She gained a post-graduate certificate in Video Production from the Sheffield Institute of the Recording Arts, spending the first decade of her career managing large commercial and video productions. She also served as a producer and co-host for two AM talk radio programs. It wasn’t long before she felt the urge to branch out into the non-profit sector, a path of fulfillment that was shared by both of her parents. Kadija used her gift of connectivity to engage residents in initiatives to enhance their quality of life and to successfully fundraise, more than 1 million dollars, for those initiatives to continue. Her ability to positively evoke change, leading to the empowerment of community members, was one of the highlights of her career along with producing two commercials for her college Alma Mater. Kadija is a change agent who is passionate about working with mostly low-to-moderate-income communities of color to advance racial equity and eliminate disparities. She is an outsider artist with installations in Gwynn Falls Leakin Park, Lake Montebello, and Belair-Edison, a self-taught graphic designer, lover of 90’s hip-hop, and cinema buff. Kadija is a Daily Record Leading Women award recipient and received the Associated Black Charities Women on the Move award for “Women Making a Difference in Their Community”. Kadija was a part of the 2018 Bank of America Prosperity Now Fellowship Program and is honored to be a 2019 Leslie King Hammond Graduate Fellow. She is thrilled to be a part of the 2020 MASD cohort and excited about this next chapter!

Eunsoo Kim '20

Eunsoo Kim is from South Korea and has an undergraduate degree is in Graphic Design. When she was in elementary school, she lived in Indonesia for 5 years because of her father's missionary work. Her experiences in Indonesia have become a fundamental motive to have an interest in Social Design. She's especially interested in poverty and youth education among many social issues. She has worked as a VMD designer in the retail industry for the last 4 years. Her hope is that as she starts studying Social Design with like-minded peers and professors, she will become a better, more socially responsible designer.

Ayangbe Mannen '20

Ayangbe has Bachelors and Masters degree in Psychology from Delhi University and more recently has worked as a Design Researcher for a Design and Innovation studio based out of Delhi, India. Her interests lie in better understanding the human experience and learning about perspectives different from her own. She hopes to eventually work towards building inclusive and nuanced solutions to complex issues in her home country, India. Currently, she is learning about gender politics and traditional practices in her own culture to better discern its influence on present day Naga society and her personal experience of "home". During her free time she also enjoys painting and has illustrated for several publications and been part of a few group shows in Delhi. At MASD Ayangbe hopes to gain more practice in creative problem solving and deepen her understanding of Design and its methodology so that she can build powerful tools for innovation and positive change.

Hanah Murphy '20

Hanah Murphy is an eternal explorer, informal educator, and citizen planner. She believes in the power of activating people's’ passions and is excited about realizing inherent community assets in designing solutions for a more sustainable and equitable future. After earning a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Florida State University, she directed an urban farm focused on increasing local food accessibility and strengthening social networks by bringing people together at the table. Her resolution to advance community health continued in the non-profit sector where she led curriculum development and collaborative initiatives in education. During her time as a MASD candidate, she hopes to investigate the intersection of technology, cultural tradition, and resiliency as it relates to the evolution of food systems and urban design. Hanah continuously seeks to infuse curiosity, playful learning, and good food in all of her pursuits and partnerships.

Gwen Richards '20

Gwen Richards is an award-winning digital editor who serves as the board chair of Megaphone Project, Baltimore's Social Justice Film Producers. She has worked for WBAL-TV 11 News and WEAA 88.9 FM as a producer of Mario Armstrong's Digital Spin. Concurrently, she terrorized the establishment as a public health professional. She is an instructor for the Baltimore Youth Film Arts Program and Writing Outside the Fence Community Writing Program, both sponsored by The Johns Hopkins University. Her club name, which she acquired while living in London, England is Chandelier. Cardi B is her favorite rapper. Now retired, she has named her year at MICA as "Priming the Passion."

Eesha Patne '20

Eesha Patne is an Industrial Designer specialized in Product Design. Her main interests lie in designing for environmental sustainability and social impact. Her experience with designing multiple products that involved cheap plastic components and unsustainable practices convinced her of the need to make the shift. Since then she has worked on conscious product design - from reshaping internal systems to incorporating sustainable manufacturing; worked with NGOs involving education of kids coming from impoverished backgrounds and tried to make a shift to a zero waste lifestyle. After conducting a first of its kind event in her sleepy hometown of Pune through her social initiative called Reuse Therapy, she has managed to make people aware and consider their impact on the environment and society. She aims at making sustainable products and services accessible too individuals from varied parts of the society.

Su Qian’er '20

Su Qian’er believes that deign is a bridge between art and society, and that historical changes are recorded in stories of ordinary people. Recently she is keen on exploring the interactions and relationships between cities and people with the help of artistic design. By portraying cities and city constructors from a whole new perspective, she paints a vivid picture about interactions and relationships between cities and people from three aspects – cities, people and life. Her theme works have been exhibited as a permanent collection by the one and only illustration association in Mainland China and the first labor workers museum in the nation. Su Qian’er wishes to broaden her vision and understand the essence of design by observing people, society and nature during the graduate studies of Social Design at Maryland Institute College of Art.

Judy Chen '20

Judy holds an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture. She cares about the surroundings and believes in positive change. She spent her school years concerned about environmental issues. More importantly, she learned to feel societal needs emotionally, but make designs logically. Instead of just making attractive products, Judy enjoys the process of discussion, analysis, determining materials and resources, and lastly, coming to a design solution that is suitable to people and the environment. In MASD, she hopes to tackle a variety of issues to help her advance her skills and thoughts, which can be integrated in daily lives, and achieve her goals of contributing to society through practical and complete designs.