News and blog posts from our students and faculty

Category Archives: AC4D In The News

Girls Guild to join UnLtd USA’s First Austin Cohort

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AC4D alumni Cheyenne Weaver and Diana Griffin have been accepted into UnLtd USA, Austin’s first incubator for entrepreneurs solving pressing social and environmental problems. Girls Guild, along with five other impact enterprises, has been chosen to receive seed funding and a full year of Incubation Support. The entrepreneurs were selected from a pool of over 80 applicants and went through a rigorous selection process that included pitching to two Final Selection Panels composed of business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs. The year-long program kicks off in September. Entrepreneurs will receive seed funding, on-going mentorship and training from the UnLtd USA and their network of partners and mentors.

Congrats, Cheyenne and Diana!

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AC4D 2014 Alumni Success Report: Salary, Placement & Happiness

We’re pleased to present our first Alumni Success report, tracking the salary, placement, and happiness of our graduates. We’ll publish an update to this report at least once a year, and continue to support our alumni as they do great things in the world. Click here to view the complete report. 

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Our 2014 – 2015 Speaker Series

Austin Center for Design is pleased to announce our 2014-2015 speaker series. Building upon the great momentum from our last series, this year include speakers focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, civic engagement, storytelling, and education. We’re also offering extremely affordable workshops this year. You can learn more and purchase tickets at http://ac4d.com/speaker-series/ – hope to see you there!

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UX for Good: Introduction

The wall of missing loved ones – Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre

Hello!

My name is Matt Franks.  I’m a faculty member at the Austin Center for Design.

This post marks the beginning of a series that I hope to maintain over the next few weeks on my participation in this year’s UX for Good challenge – Kigali & London.

What is UX for Good?

“UX for Good is an effort to push design as far as it can go: past forms, interactions and experiences to complex human systems, and beyond attractive, effective and elegant to deeply impactful. UX for Good is out to set the edge, so non-practitioners can see the full potential of design and practitioners can do the most meaningful work of their careers.

Each year, a handful of top user experience designers from around the world are brought together to conceptualize and develop novel interventions that help solve complex, social challenges.”

UX for good aligns to the mission of AC4D in that it attempts to make meaningful change by focusing on problems worth solving. This year’s challenge focuses on a particularly wicked problem: Converting the profound feelings elicited by genocide memorials into meaningful and sustainable action.

As part of this challenge, I will be visiting Kigali, Rwanda for several days of exploration, research, and debate around the topic of Genocide. Kigali is home to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center.

This memorial is built on the site of mass grave, housing the remains of 250,000 Rwandans who were killed over three months in 1994.

Jason Ulaszek of Manifest Digital and Jeff Leitner of Insight Labs, the founders of UX for Good, give great context into this years challenge:

“Like all such memorials, it is intended as an antidote to genocide itself – teaching us and moving us to ensure we will never again be detached and complicit.

But, for the most part, we remain unchanged. Virtually every visitor to a genocide memorial or holocaust museum can attest to overwhelming feelings of sympathy, sadness and outrage. Schoolchildren and world leaders alike leave speechless. But most visitors can also attest that they did nothing substantively differently as a result.”

For those of you who are interested in the complete design brief, you can find it here.

I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my career surrounded by individuals who I would regard as more capable than myself in so many ways. I’m genuinely excited to be working on a problem whose solution is in no way obvious, and with a team of talented individuals from around the world.

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AC4D featured in the Austin Phoenix

Austin Center for Design was featured in the Austin Phoenix, in an article titled “Design a Meaningful Career at AC4D:

The Austin Center for Design is a unique program. It offers the equivalent of a Masters in Design Program Structure, but could care less about the accolades of higher education. Instead, it focuses on transforming design principles into instruments of meaningful social change. This program is tailor-made for the dreamers who feel that their time behind a desk or in the front of a conference room hasn’t mattered, and want to change the world. AC4D is more than a design school; it teaches its students to reimagine why they work and to turn passions into careers.

You can read the article here!

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Austin Center for Design featured on KXAN

AC4D was featured on KXAN, in a piece that highlighted Anna Krachey and Scott Gerlach’s ongoing entrepreneurial work. You can watch the piece here.

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AC4D Professor Jon Freach on Fast Company’s Co.Design

Jon Freach’s article, How To Draw Critical Design Insights From A Single Photograph: Lessons From Frog, describes how to use imagery to tell an empathetic story. Read the whole article here.

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Austin Center for Design featured on Good Day Austin

Austin Center for Design was featured on Good Day Austin, with a great interview with both Professor Pat Marsh and alum Cheyenne Weaver. Check it out here!

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BringUp selected for the 2nd round of the $50K Arch Grants Global Startup Competition

Although Will Mederski and I may have been in radio silence around AC4D recently, that doesn’t mean we haven’t continued to work on BringUp.

This past fall we got our software about 2/3rds complete with help from 2 students from MakerSquare. The automated parent signup process now works, and you’re welcome to try it out by texting the number  27  to 512-861-8455.

This winter, we submitted BringUp for the 3rd Annual St. Louis Arch Grants Global Startup Competition (www.archgrants.org) This organization provides $50K grants to about 20 companies willing to relocate their headquarters to the St. Louis area, along with lots of free accounting, marketing and legal assistance. It’s free money, no strings attached. Will and I are proud to announce that BringUp has made it to the 2nd round of the 2014 competition!

The 2nd round is a bit of a lighting round, as we had one week to prepare a 3 minute YouTube video, as well as an additional presentation. Luckily, Will and I were readily prepared from the work we did last year at AC4D. Creating this material on top of SXSW and a bad case of strep-throat was no problem at all. Please check out our video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v25N0fNBCCs

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AC4D Alumni at SXSWedu

Jonathan Lewis and Diana Griffin – alumni from AC4D – presented on a panel at SXSW. The panel, called Frameworks for Modern-Day Apprenticeships, was facilitated by Jonathan and featured Diana’s work at Girls Guild. Read more here – congrats, Jonathan & Diana!

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