September 17, 2014

Welcome, Class of 2015!

While our founding students focused on designing their graduation, a new class of 12 remarkable individuals transitioned into Ei and began their first Meetup.

Over the past two weeks, they’ve engaged in design thinking, storytelling, and self-awareness workshops. Amidst a slew of phone calls and interviews, they’ve declared mission statements and drafted proposals in preparation for their first terms. Now, they’re ready to dive head first into new experiences. We’re so pleased to introduce them to you.

Meet Experience Institute’s Class of 2015

Toph Carter began designing his education when he took a two year break from college to serve as a leader for a Spanish-speaking service mission. Graduating in Communication Studies with an emphasis in interculturalism, Toph hopes to use this year to learn how interpersonal relationships affect organizational structure.

After studying nutrition at UT Austin, Olenka Hand became a registered dietitian. Engaged by the idea of nourishing others, she expanded her abilities to the Montessori classroom where she crafted environments of trust and exploration. Olenka joined Ei to explore the power of place and refine her skills in operations and human-centered design.

Lance Henderstein spent the last six years in Tokyo teaching writing at one of Japan's top international schools. In Los Angeles, he worked at CBS radio by day while writing and performing comedy by night. Through Ei, he is now pursuing truth through images and language.

Melanie Kahl has worked across public, social, and corporate design sectors. Holding a degree in social policy and business from Northwestern University, she focused on urban development, education, and organizational studies. Through Experience Institute, she will explore social innovation, service design, and impact finance.

Stephanie Kang strives to add a human element to organizations by fostering personal connections, leadership, and culture through holistic solutions. During her time with Ei, she plans to research and design authentic experiences that connect people to cities, spaces, and each other.

Jonathan Lazatin is an Engineer who spent the last year working in conceptual hybrid-electric aircraft design. With Ei, he focuses on designing his experiences around Engineering and Design Education to empower women and minorities to pursue STEM fields.

With degrees in creative writing and evolutionary psychology, Nicole McCabe traveled to India on a Fulbright grant to teach English and screenwriting and research women’s literacy initiatives focused on empowerment through the arts. A self-taught coder and hackathon organizer, she joined Ei to explore ways of combining the social justice potential of storytelling with the toolsets of tech.

Debbie Paterson is a futurist designer focused on creating health care experiences that engage users and replace stressful traditional health care experiences. Through her journey at Ei, she hopes to explore how to link healthcare business models with user experiences and technology components, while also making a knowledge leap with her coding and multimedia storytelling skills.

Zak Tracy earned a degree in finance and economics, then spent time helping both global corporations and startup stage organizations through growth and disruption. This year, with Ei, he is interested in building simple solutions to solve complex problems and uncovering ways businesses can surprise and delight their users.

After earning a degree in History from the University of Virginia, Tuere Wiggins began her career in merchandising with a national department store, joined IBM as a consultant, then worked for federal government contracting firm. During her year with Ei, her intent is to merge her interests in business and fashion, and find the sweet spot where her analytic and artistic sensibilities meet.

Chevy Williams is equal parts scientist, creative, entrepreneur and social innovator. Trained as a researcher in behavioral science and policy, she balances big picture thinking with details. In her Ei year, Chevy will be exploring ways to grow business through UX strategy and partnership building.

Our 12th student is a recent high school graduate who is prototyping a new variation of the program intended for younger students. Through Experience Institute, he’s embarking on an individualized year of learning called Zeke Year.

Eighteen years old and a recent high school graduate, Zeke Bogusky is determined to proceed into higher education with a clear idea of what he’d like to learn. To gain that clarity, he’s teaming up with Experience Institute to apprentice with various companies around the country, while blogging and creating original music.

If you’d like to learn more about them, stay tuned—they’ll be sharing monthly blog posts right here on the Ei blog.

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