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Design Lab & UCSD Spaces strive for Educational Equity Through Design

Design Lab & UCSD Spaces strive for Educational Equity Through Design

Design Lab & UCSD Spaces strive for Educational Equity Through Design

Who better to learn about good design than the people who will most benefit from it?

That was the driving idea behind the UC San Diego Design Lab’s decision to participate in the 15th annual Summer Summit, a summer residential program coordinated by SPACES (the Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Service).

Students in the program come from first generation low-income, immigrant and refugee families and represent diverse populations such as young women, Native Americans, LGBT, and students with disabilities.  The students — 72 of whom saw presentations by Design Lab researchers — also represent various San Diego schools, such as Gompers Preparatory Academy and Morse High School.

“There is a big push to make San Diego a design city,” noted Joseph Ruanto-Ramirez,  the Access Programs Advisor of SPACES.  “These students are the populations that researchers are going to be interacting with.  Some students may have never heard of design or cognitive science as a major so I wanted to expose them [to] various skills and programs they can probably play around with in the future.”

The Design Lab’s Colleen Emmenegger, for example, presented the work she and a team led by UC San Diego Professor Jim Hollan are doing on autonomous vehicles.  Emmenegger described her group’s data collection techniques before discussing how they were going to further research by using a Wizard-Of-Oz research approach (where a human performs a task that appears to be controlled by a computer) to learn how pedestrians, human drivers, and bicyclists respond to driverless cars.

Vineet Pandey, also of the Design Lab, presented on Gut Instinct, a new online learning platform that enables people to simultaneously ask and answer questions and learn about the gut microbiome.  “I thought my project was a good fit,” he said, “because coming from a computer science background, I could tell them that online education is changing and by the time they go to college or go to graduate school, they might be taking a lot of classes online.  Gut Instinct and similar tools are supposed to inspire them and tell them more about health and the microbiome to spark some curiosity in them, so that they could follow up on it and can read more into it.”

“If they’re excited about the kind of work that we’re doing, then they might be excited enough to put the effort into school and looking for financial support and getting into college,” said Emmenegger.”  I think it’s more inspirational than actually teaching design.  It’s about getting them excited so that they’re actually willing to put the effort into going further in their education.”

Added Ruanto-Ramirez: “These are actual students from those communities that might go into design and know what the community has gone through, what they’ve struggled with, and what can benefit them, so there is an actual voice in the community and framework for their individual community to survive as the city moves forward.”

Who better to learn about good design than the people who will most benefit from it?

That was the driving idea behind the UC San Diego Design Lab’s decision to participate in the 15th annual Summer Summit, a summer residential program coordinated by SPACES (the Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Service).

Students in the program come from first generation low-income, immigrant and refugee families and represent diverse populations such as young women, Native Americans, LGBT, and students with disabilities.  The students — 72 of whom saw presentations by Design Lab researchers — also represent various San Diego schools, such as Gompers Preparatory Academy and Morse High School.

“There is a big push to make San Diego a design city,” noted Joseph Ruanto-Ramirez,  the Access Programs Advisor of SPACES.  “These students are the populations that researchers are going to be interacting with.  Some students may have never heard of design or cognitive science as a major so I wanted to expose them [to] various skills and programs they can probably play around with in the future.”

The Design Lab’s Colleen Emmenegger, for example, presented the work she and a team led by UC San Diego Professor Jim Hollan are doing on autonomous vehicles.  Emmenegger described her group’s data collection techniques before discussing how they were going to further research by using a Wizard-Of-Oz research approach (where a human performs a task that appears to be controlled by a computer) to learn how pedestrians, human drivers, and bicyclists respond to driverless cars.

Vineet Pandey, also of the Design Lab, presented on Gut Instinct, a new online learning platform that enables people to simultaneously ask and answer questions and learn about the gut microbiome.  “I thought my project was a good fit,” he said, “because coming from a computer science background, I could tell them that online education is changing and by the time they go to college or go to graduate school, they might be taking a lot of classes online.  Gut Instinct and similar tools are supposed to inspire them and tell them more about health and the microbiome to spark some curiosity in them, so that they could follow up on it and can read more into it.”

“If they’re excited about the kind of work that we’re doing, then they might be excited enough to put the effort into school and looking for financial support and getting into college,” said Emmenegger.”  I think it’s more inspirational than actually teaching design.  It’s about getting them excited so that they’re actually willing to put the effort into going further in their education.”

Added Ruanto-Ramirez: “These are actual students from those communities that might go into design and know what the community has gone through, what they’ve struggled with, and what can benefit them, so there is an actual voice in the community and framework for their individual community to survive as the city moves forward.”

Who better to learn about good design than the people who will most benefit from it?

That was the driving idea behind the UC San Diego Design Lab’s decision to participate in the 15th annual Summer Summit, a summer residential program coordinated by SPACES (the Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Service).

Students in the program come from first generation low-income, immigrant and refugee families and represent diverse populations such as young women, Native Americans, LGBT, and students with disabilities.  The students — 72 of whom saw presentations by Design Lab researchers — also represent various San Diego schools, such as Gompers Preparatory Academy and Morse High School.

“There is a big push to make San Diego a design city,” noted Joseph Ruanto-Ramirez,  the Access Programs Advisor of SPACES.  “These students are the populations that researchers are going to be interacting with.  Some students may have never heard of design or cognitive science as a major so I wanted to expose them [to] various skills and programs they can probably play around with in the future.”

The Design Lab’s Colleen Emmenegger, for example, presented the work she and a team led by UC San Diego Professor Jim Hollan are doing on autonomous vehicles.  Emmenegger described her group’s data collection techniques before discussing how they were going to further research by using a Wizard-Of-Oz research approach (where a human performs a task that appears to be controlled by a computer) to learn how pedestrians, human drivers, and bicyclists respond to driverless cars.

Vineet Pandey, also of the Design Lab, presented on Gut Instinct, a new online learning platform that enables people to simultaneously ask and answer questions and learn about the gut microbiome.  “I thought my project was a good fit,” he said, “because coming from a computer science background, I could tell them that online education is changing and by the time they go to college or go to graduate school, they might be taking a lot of classes online.  Gut Instinct and similar tools are supposed to inspire them and tell them more about health and the microbiome to spark some curiosity in them, so that they could follow up on it and can read more into it.”

“If they’re excited about the kind of work that we’re doing, then they might be excited enough to put the effort into school and looking for financial support and getting into college,” said Emmenegger.”  I think it’s more inspirational than actually teaching design.  It’s about getting them excited so that they’re actually willing to put the effort into going further in their education.”

Added Ruanto-Ramirez: “These are actual students from those communities that might go into design and know what the community has gone through, what they’ve struggled with, and what can benefit them, so there is an actual voice in the community and framework for their individual community to survive as the city moves forward.”

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UC San Diego and community collaborators receive $3 million grant to develop more community-centered, precision approaches to reducing adverse childhood events that lead to obesity, a nationwide problem

“Working with the Latino community, we want to create a family-based approach to improve individual and community resilience to stress and address the obesity epidemic,” said lead principal investigator Gary S. Firestein, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and ACTRI director.

Blanca Meléndrez, director of the Center for Community Health at UC San Diego and a co-principal investigator on the study with Eric Hekler, PhD, Design Lab member, professor and interim associate dean for community partnerships in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health, said that beyond determining which methods best promote resiliency and reduce obesity among children, researchers and community collaborators will seek to create interventions that can be delivered to different families that match a family’s unique circumstances and needs.

Opinion: The World Design Capital is more than an award. It’s a chance to solve problems.

San Diego Union Tribune Op-Ed by Tad Parzen and Eddie Matthews*
*Eddie Matthews is also a Designer-in-Residence with the UCSD Design Lab


Design and discovery are in our San Diego-Tijuana region’s DNA. We are risk-takers, a nimble community that has long fostered life-changing design and innovation to improve the world, save lives and sustain critical resources. San Diego-Tijuana has long been the epicenter of a binational design revolution.

In this inclusive spirit, a cross-border community of designers, activists and community leaders have joined together to submit the first binational bid to the World Design Organization to name San Diego-Tijuana the World Design Capital in 2024. This designation recognizes cities for their effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural and environmental development, and showcases best practices in sustainable, human-centered policy and innovation.

Every member of this region has something to contribute and the World Design Capital will be the centralized place for these binational design contributions, making the border immaterial by making design visible.
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