michelle.trame@ac4d.com

Student

Michelle Trame

Michelle’s professional experiences include being an entrepreneur in education, outdoor adventure and consulting. She chooses to work on projects that center equity, sustainability and community. These values have come to life in launching a company that is closing the gender gap in outdoor leadership, creating tools to provide access to STEM education for underrepresented and non-traditional students, and helping build a company with a retail model committed to reducing waste while increasing access to the outdoors for everyone.

While wearing many hats in fast-growing start-ups, Michelle discovered that design work existed at the intersection of her talents and interests. Whether designing treehouses, maps for travelers or educational software, she loves how invisible forces (our habits, our desires, our emotions, our culture) inform the design of the built world. Her orientation towards data and research is enlivened by her passion for exploration, collaboration and creation. Most recently from Oakland, California, she is excited to add Austin to her list of quirky places she’s lived.

Recent blog posts

Prototyping Vouch

This is the sixth installment of our team’s (Allison, Laura, Michelle) project for our Studio and Ideation class. This project builds on the research we did with gig economy workers last Fall, which you can read about here and here. After feedback from last week, we decided to dedicate ourselves fully to Vouch, a service…

Ideating with Insights from the Gig Economy

This is a progress report on our team’s (Allison, Laura, Michelle) work with the gig-economy. For a quick look at our concept maps from last week, go check out last week’s blog post. For a better understanding of our research and the focus of this project, see posts here and here.  Progress Made This Week Identified 79…

A future mindset for design ethics

“Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.” – Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine I consider myself a futurist. As an educator, I couldn’t help but become one when I began to understand the way that my work in the present shaped tomorrow as my students continued to change the world in big…

How Leave No Trace ethics can make us better designers

The ethical framework I use most frequently is Leave No Trace. It is an impact-oriented set of rules to mitigate human impacts on nature when camping or exploring the outdoors. The six principles are: -Plan ahead and prepare -Camp and Travel on durable surfaces -Dispose of wastes properly -Leave what you find -Use fire responsibly…

Understanding blockchain starting at zeros and ones

WHY IS THIS A BLOG POST FOR MY ETHICS CLASS? When I was at UCLA I took a GIS class taught by Tom Gillespie that changed my life. I actually took many classes that he taught (maybe four). The first convinced me to add Geography as a double major and the GIS class was my…

Ethical Dilemmas of a Hypothetical Healthcare startup

During our class on Ethics in Design, I had the opportunity to facilitate a discussion on the ethics of privacy. We had all read a collection of articles on current issues in the privacy landscape relevant to designers, and using those as a jumping-off point I wanted to create a space for us to synthesize…

Graphing Complexity and Autonomy with Service Slices

Part Three: Using Service Slices to understand Austin Parks Foundation users This is Part Three in a Service Design Project for Austin Parks Foundation. For Part One: Stories from the Field, go here. For Part Two: Finding Themes, go here. Since August, our team (Kyle, Michelle, Laura) has been working with Austin Parks Foundation to…

What’s Missing from Your Design Toolkit?

This last month we have been reading about problem solving, the work of designers and design processes. Although all still in the domain of theory, rather than practice, these authors are grappling with the question, “How do we do design?” Authors like Chris Pacione, Nigel Cross and Horst Rittel have defined the designer’s process in…

Meditations on Capitalism, Poverty and Global Markets

In the past few weeks of reading about the codification of social entrepreneurship as a practice, we’ve considered the benefits and challenges of structuring an organization in that way. And we’ve contrasted the social entrepreneur’s approach with other models, such as large NGOs, small non-profits, public-private partnerships or for-profit businesses that target people in poverty…

Adventures in Sketching

When we first started sketching classes at ac4d I thought I would quickly feel successful at representing my ideas visually. I often think in visual metaphors rather than words. And I spent tons of time in elementary school, middle school and high school (and maybe even college) doodling all over every available scrap of paper.…

The Evolving Role of Design Research

As we move forward from reading foundational theorists to more modern practitioners, we have seen designers grapple with competing incentives and motivations in their work as designers. One perspective to take in understanding some of these oppositional forces is thinking in terms of the locus of control within the designer’s work. Or in other words,…

Does design require an economic revolution?

As we consider the future of design and our role in it for the last two weeks, e have been reading several perspectives on the role of design in society. Although the perspectives of authors we have read have spanned beyond the field of design to include educational psychologists, propagandists, and media theorists, all have…

Understanding the Heart of Parks in Austin

Earlier this week we were challenged to devise a research plan for conducting ethnographic research with a segment of the Austin population that interacts with a specific non-profit. We are using contextual inquiry to learn more about this community and their needs with the ultimate goal of being able to share insights with the leaders…

The Neuroscience of Taking a Leap

What is it like to learn something new? While I have learned many things as an adult—coding and skiing are the two that come to mind first—I haven’t been a student in a formal educational setting since finishing undergrad at 22-years old. There are many ways that my current self feels different from the 22-year…

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