leah.divito@ac4d.com

Student

Leah DiVito

Leah is a fresh resident of Texas, hailing originally from the great state of Ohio, “the heart of it all”. Leah’s story is a mix of indulging in her passions for community building with her love of language learning and adventurous spirit. While actively organizing in the art and music DIY communities of Columbus, OH, she worked for many years at the OSU Urban Arts Space, Ohio State’s gallery downtown. After school she served as an Event Coordinator for the non-profit Columbus Downtown Development Corporation and their downtown public park/venue. Here she grew her interest in the intersection of the public and private sectors and how they work together to shape our communities.

Leah has a degree in Chinese from the Ohio State University and spent a collective two years living and traveling in China and Asia. She first taught English and Art in Shanghai, then traveled and worked for different sustainable organizations, local businesses, intentional communities, ecovillages, farms in China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. Upon returning to the States, she applied her talents to Green Columbus as their 2019 Service Site Coordinator, providing support for over 250 events city wide culminating in the largest Earth Day initiative in the country.

Leah comes to ac4d hoping to bring her experience working for the arts and non-profits and perspective from working abroad. She hopes to apply what she learns in her time with ac4d to help create tools that empower people through the intersection of the public and private spheres, and to become better equipped as an effective part of solving meaningful problems in our society.

In her free time you’ll find her playing guitar and singing or going to see live music, riding her bike, rock climbing, and cooking delicious vegan meals.

Recent blog posts

Supporting Sex Workers: Prototyping Phase One

Prototyping Phase One – Leah DiVito + Brittany Sgaliardich   “Sometimes we arrive at good ideas before the law can support them.” This notion, shared by an ac4d alumnus, stuck with our team as we developed concepts for future products and services that could promote the agency and safety of sex workers.  While acknowledging the…

the value of visuals: supporting sex workers

the value of visuals: supporting sex workers Since October, Our team, Brittany and I, conducted design research to understand how the volatility and stigma, often associated with sex and sex-related work, affect the financial decision making of women in this industry. Moving into the second phase of our project, we have begun to transition from…

Reinventing AT&T TV for 2020 – Initial Research

What’s the scoop? In short, AT&T seems to be in a tight spot when attempting to offer a unique and appealing product given the current market of services available to consumers in 2020. While there are a number of products that offer streaming services for a monthly fee, even if we are just looking at…

Wechat: Consequences of a Social Credit System

the context.   The “social credit system,” first announced in 2014, aims to reinforce the idea that “keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful,” according to a government document. Like private credit scores, a person’s social score can move up and down depending on their behavior. The exact methodology is a secret — but…

Insights: Women Working in the Sex Industry in 2019

continuing our exploration. Following up on our last blog post recapping real stories from the field as told by women working in the sex industry in 2019 Austin, Brittany and I have continued our research and synthesis in the form of taking the themes that we have been working to create, and building design insights. An insight is a provocative…

JUST Capstone- Themes: Women Working in the Sex Industry in 2019

  research focus. For the focus of our research capstone, Brittany Sgaliardich and I looks to better understand women working in the sex industry and how the particularities in the nature of their work affects mental slack and decision making outside their work. While sex work and the world surrounding can be difficult to swallow…

Sex and the Internet

Last April, two massive events shook up the business of sex on the internet. Firstly, the FBI shutdown a website called Backpage which is a prolific website for posting online personals that had become a mainstay for sex-workers to secure clientelle. Days after that, President Trump signed two new bills into law, the Stop Enabling Online Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA) and…

A Dichotomy

The past year of my life has been an exercise in extended exploration into being honest with myself. Last year at this time I found myself just having moved back to the States from a long time abroad, without a job, without a consistent place I was living, having just gone through a separation from…

Financial Inclusion and Women in the Sex Industry

  For the next 8 weeks, our team (Leah DiVito and Brittany Sgaliardich) will be working with Austin-based nonprofit JUST and help them to find new design opportunity spaces within their business model. JUST. JUST deeply understands the current community they serve. They focus on helping Spanish-speaking, female entrepreneurs by unlocking resources to help them thrive. They provide access to…

Why serious creativity should be funny

I’m here to convince you why serious creativity should be funny. So, my secret vice is that I watch a lot of stand up comedy. I mean a lot. It happened really slowly. I went from hating stand-up to being the person who watches the new Netflix stand-up special the second that it hits the…

Frustrated in the face of inequality

Over the past number of years in my adult life, I have had compounding experiences which have led me to become more and more disillusioned with the inequalities that human beings face on this planet. I have traveled the world to learn about issues that people around the world face, and how they are approaching…

To believe or not to believe….

The value of design synthesis lies in the space between concrete human needs and squishy human desires and dreams. It is the ability to reconcile these two very real modes of the human experience that makes the designer special. It is what makes them valuable to any process, because processes are a human creation in…

Who holds the power?

Presentation 1 Role of design in society. What is it? Who has the authority to say? How many correct answers are there? After zooming in and out and in again on the five different texts with which we began our design theory adventure, and after much page flipping and self scrutiny, I eventually managed to piece together a…

Time to Reflect…

Going into this past week I anticipated feeling very anxious. Normally I might make myself sick with nerves, somewhat pointlessly, about almost every aspect of starting something very intense and new like the ac4d program. A few of these aspects might be… 1) meeting my classmates who I know I will spend so much time…

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