Law of the jungle: as old and as true as the sky

“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence, we could rise up rooted, like trees.”  Rainer Rilke While in Iquitos, Peru, the largest city in the world inaccessible by road, my friend Netta and I met a friendly Peruvian who volunteered to take us into the jungle. So the three of us got some rubber boots and … Read More

by Gareth Gwyn


This semester I’ve been interviewing students at Illinois Wesleyan University, capturing 20 individual’s undergraduate experiences. I’ve called it user-centered research – interviewing, and researching – but my preferred title for it has become “story-catching”. Through these interviews I’ve met someone who taught herself Chinese, a future missionary, closet creative writers, and people heading for a … Read More

by Kali Lewis

Don’t be a conversation poacher, embrace mentors

Term one in Hong Kong is over: I hiked a handful of mountains; ate equally adventurous foods with strangers while communicating using only glances/pointing/smiling; immersed myself in the mystical venture capital profession (seriously, I emceed Hong Kong’s version of Shark Tank); but most importantly, I made some incredible friends; many of which are now mentors … Read More

by Samir Ahmed

What is Biomimicry?

I’ve been immersed in biomimicry for four months. My experiences in New York City and South Africa this fall have confirmed that biomimicry—as a practice and discipline—is emerging and diverse. The undercurrent of my year is to explore the field and start to understand how I might add value alongside those working in this emerging … Read More

by Jake Jones

Learning by grace

As the end of my first term at Civilla draws near, I can’t help but think about the mistakes I’ve made. It’s funny how my mind tends to center on the mess-ups. Maybe it was my upbringing or maybe it’s an innate tendency to see what is wrong versus what is right in situations. Whatever … Read More

by James Paek

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Designing the Life you Want

My wife and I set out to make 2015 the year in which we would take control of our lives, or as I call it: design our lives. Recently, I was talking with some friends and was telling them that designing a life meant that I was going to take control of my time, my … Read More

by Leandro Martinez

battling writing demons: one month, 50,000 words

I committed my November to writing a 50,000-word novel inspired by the NaNoWriMo project. I’m a very self-conscious writer. Writing is a puzzle where the pieces—story, grammar, flow, context, and voice—shift when I add or change a word. If I follow the rules, I can be a decent writer, but I don’t want to spend my … Read More

by Derek Kessinger

Generalist vs Specialist: Which is Better?

In the age old debate, generalist vs specialist, which is better? A few weeks ago, I went to an after work design event. It was billed as an intro to design in my new city, but it quickly became clear that it was more of an advice for wet-behind-the-ears-designers kind of evening… but there were … Read More

by Michelle Krasny

Missed | Gained

I have missed four important birthdays, the wedding invitation of my best friend of twenty-three years, my sister’s favorite holiday, early morning breakfasts and late night porch-sits, scribbled notes left on bathroom mirrors, weekend hikes in the afternoon, coffee cup scandals, wool socks over pant legs, sloshing streets, and the smell of pine. I will … Read More

by Kacie McGeary

Little Did I Know

It’s pouring down rain. I rode a motorbike through a Bali downpour to get here, and I am still dripping with warm rain water. “Welcome to the rainy season” is what the locals like to say. When we walked into the coffee shop, a lady brought us napkins to dry ourselves. It was not as … Read More

by Alexandria Duke