Sami Nerenberg

Currently the Director of Operations for Design for America (DFA) and a lecturer at the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern UniversitySami Nerenberg, a San Francisco native, is passionate about the intersection of design education and local/social impact. Nerenberg’s studio, students’ projects, and DFA have been discussed in publications and blogs such as Fast CompanyOprah MagazineChicago Tribune, Inc MagazineHuffington PostCore77 and more. She has spoken and given workshops at the NE IDSA Conference, Better Word by Design Conferences, Fulbright Seminar, and given workshops at college campuses across the country.

Nerenberg earned her BFA in industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design where she received RISD’s Community Service Award and the Rachel Carson Award upon graduation. At the start, she founded and taught the advanced studio, Design for Social Entrepreneurship at RISD, Design Futures at Pratt and worked with nonprofits such as Design that Matters and GreenBlue.

Big Idea: Developing Empathic Leaders Through Design”

Imagine interdisciplinary student teams and community members using design to create local, social impact. What about teaching human-centered design to young adults and collaborating community partners through extra-curricular, university-based, student-led design studios that tackle national challenges in education, health, economy and the environment? This year, two of these start-ups, SwipeSense and Jerry the Bear, have gone on to raise nearly $1.5 million in start-up capital, with more hot projects in the pipeline. Learn how game-changing approaches in higher education are developing innovative leaders ready to deliver social impact.