Kevin Hoch
MEd, Education
BS, Health Sciences

“I design and build high impact learning environments. I have a passion for coaching individuals and teams to achieve transformational success. I am always excited about solving problems through co-creation, collaboration, and creativity. Design, Innovation, and Entrepreneurial Action are mindsets that I strive to empower students with.  My goal is to impact our world through education and training our future leaders. My main role at Duke University is the Managing Director of Education in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative. I enjoy spending time with family, friends, and within the community. Traveling and listening to all kinds of music recharges me. Following sports and enjoying coffee are my daily boosts. Exercising and my faith keeps me sane.”

Ask me about: What I learned from my year in Banking


Aria Chernik
Ph.D. English JD
BA, English

“I am an Associate Professor of the Practice in the Social Science Research Institute and the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative at Duke University, and Founder and Director of Open Source Pedagogy, Research + Innovation (OSPRI), a cross-sector open education innovation initiative. My research and teaching focus on open education, design pedagogy, ethical technology, and equity-centered, problem-posing, and project-based learning innovation in both post-secondary and K-12 contexts. I am passionate about transforming education for a more participatory and inclusive world! Some of my favorite things are being by the ocean, reading a fabulous book, hanging out with my wonderful family, and, ideally, doing all three at the same time. As an indication of my love of literature, all of my pets have been named in honor of literary figures!”

Ask me about: British Romantic-era literature, NYC bagels, Boxing


Laura Howes
MBA, University of Maryland at College Park
B.A. in Political Science & Public Policy Analysis, UNC Chapel Hill

“I’m the director of Bass Connections where I have the opportunity to support more than 60 interdisciplinary research teams each year. This is the first team that I have joined as a team member. I was first introduced to “design thinking” while working for the Partnership for Public Service — an amazing non-profit in Washington, DC that works to improve the effectiveness of the federal government. Doing this work, I had the opportunity to work with the firm IDEO to help federal employees improve processes and policies using a “human-centered” approach. The concept of applying “design” to everything around us, and particularly public services, struck me as both intuitive and under-utilized. I have three youngish kids who keep me busy. I love to run and swim – which is good because I also really, really love ice cream. I enjoy comedies – perennial favorites are Friends, The Office, and Parks & Rec. I’m really horrible at all things musical. I could listen to a song on repeat without realizing it for quite some time.”

Ask me about: Best places to run in Raleigh, Life with three kids, Ice cream, Living in D.C.


Daisy Wang
Economics and Cultural Anthropology
Undergraduate, Class of 2022

“Hello! I’m Daisy and I’m a sophomore at Duke. One of the weirdest things I like to do is find coupons. Not just the groupons either, I’m a literal cutting and clipping coupon girl. Online shopping, groceries, services, you name it and I’ve got it. Random tidbit aside, I joined this Bass Connections team because I’m interested in applied anthropology and this field is very connected with design thinking skills. The process of understanding who you’re designing for parallels ethnographic research. I love the collaborative and interactive process of design thinking; it challenges traditional ways of learning and problem solving to create valuable solutions”

Ask me about: coupon clipping, making brunch, high street shopping addiction, asian dramas


Karissa Tu
Biology Major, Documentary Studies Certificate
Undergraduate, Class of 2020

“If you ever want to get to know me, I love breakfast. This is partially because I like eggs and other breakfast foods. On the other hand, I think breakfast fosters good ideas at the start of the day, energizes us to face what is ahead, and celebrates the fact that it is a new day. What I like more than breakfast is making breakfast with others. Cooking with others is sometimes chaotic but warm and wonderful at the same time. When you finally sit down to eat together, the process is a part of the meal; it’s like design thinking. Open Design at Duke and Beyond allows me to value the process as much as the end. When design is used to not make things more “efficient,” but to actually take time to collaborate and go through problem-solving with others, it is truly valuable.”

Ask me about: Life in Bozeman, Recycled crafts, Choosing what to do at Duke, Breakfast suggestions


Mathew Lanza
Master of Public Policy (MPP) program
Graduate, Class of 2020

“Hi, I am a second-year student at Duke’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program at the Sanford School. Born and raised in San Francisco, CA I never thought I would call the south home, but Duke and Durham have treated my family well. I am a big human-centered design nerd and am excited to see its implications in the public sector coming to fruition and being at the forefront of such efforts. I did not know much about design thinking before coming to Duke but quickly felt I found my calling after taking Prof. Tom Allin’s class on using HCD to transform citizen experiences. I am currently working with people experiencing homelessness in Durham, NC and allowing them to transform public services they use using HCD/design thinking methods. I love music and make my own beats when I have the time. My wife and I love going random places. One time we just left our house for a drive and ended up at an international food festival in Clayton, NC. We didn’t even use our phones. We will be a family of 3 soon and are excited for that adventure as well!”


Jodi Yeh
B.S Computer Science, Minor Economics, I&E Certificate
Undergraduate, Class of 2022

“Hi! I’m Jodi and I’m currently a sophomore at Duke University! I love to eat Dim Sum and having breakfast at any time of the day. I watch anything on the Food Network, especially Cutthroat Kitchen. I’m also a big fan of dramas; I’m up to date on Grey’s Anatomy and finishing up Scandal. Generally, I love listening to ballads, soft pop, oldies, and sometimes rap. I joined this Bass Connections project because I love the concept of creation and innovation, and I seek to explore the real-life applications of design outside the artistic fields. Personally, I believe “design” is useful for social innovation because it allows for problems to be solved from all different perspectives. It’s not restrictive at all and encourages collaboration and outside-the-box thinking, crucial for problem-solving in today’s world.”

Ask me about: Grey’s Anatomy, Drawing Track & Field/Fencing, Where to eat on Long Island


Tarunam Mahajan
Master of Engineering Management
Graduate, Class of 2020

“Hi, I am Tarunam, a graduate student at Duke, pursuing Master of Engineering Management Program. I am passionate about solving complex problems and currently, I am building knowledge around Project Management, Product Development and Design Thinking. Having worked in the telecommunications industry for almost three years, I believe design thinking is driving fundamental change in which companies design, develop and launch products and services in the real-world. It is the very foundation of innovation. Open Design at Duke & beyond is more than a project for me, it is a part of my life. The entire experience has been a great learning curve for me in terms of providing a better understanding of open design principles and using design thinking in everyday life.”

Ask me about: Programming in Python, UX Research Methods, Indian Food, Game of Thrones


Rachel Tung
B.A. Psychology, Minor in Visual Arts
Trinity Class of 2020

“Hi, my name is Rachel and I’m a senior at Duke! My first experiences with design-thinking existed mostly in the world of product design and technology, so it was really exciting to discover a project that focused on incorporating design into structures and systems, such as higher education. I think that design is a good tool for innovation because it causes people to challenge their assumptions and rethink how they would view and solve a certain problem. No two users or contexts are the same, and design is able to account for and adapt to many of these variants. I love watching movies and exploring the Durham food scene (go to Hutchins Garage for thin- and thick-crust pizza!), I buy things I don’t need just because I like the packaging, and I am the type of person to say “you too” when a waiter tells me to enjoy my meal.”

Ask me about: Copenhagen and Wednesday cinnamon rolls


Lydia Wang
Interdepartmental Major in Psychology and Visual Media Studies, Biology Minor, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship certificate
Undergraduate, Class of 2022

L-oves to draw and dance
Y-not? — my motto in life
D-oesn’t like coffee, mornings, or cold temperatures
I-ntroverted and Independent
A-ddicted to Kpop, Japanese anime, video games, and makeup
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“The reason why I joined this Bass Connections was honestly because I wanted to learn more about what design thinking was. Design thinking felt like an amorphous blob of a word- a concept I somewhat understood but not anything I could put into words. I really wanted to be able to fully grasp the concept and be able to make other’s aware of the process. I believe design thinking skills is incredibly useful for everyday life and that it develops soft skills that can apply to any major or career.”Ask me about: Meeting Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Makeup, Pureun, Cliches, NFL Player Justin Blackmon, National Yo-Yo convention



Maria Lulo
B.S. Psychology & ISS Certificate
Trinity Class of 2021

“I am Maria, a junior at Duke University from the Dominican Republic. I am the biggest sweet tooth that has ever existed, who needs every meal to end with dessert. I am also the most indecisive person; it takes me hours to decide what movie to watch or where to eat. This did wonders for me as I came to Duke undecided, I would go from wanting to declare Computer Science to Global Health in a day, until ultimately I declared Psychology.
The concept of design intrigued me because it seemed like the bridge that connects all my interests, which is why I joined this Bass Connections. I was interested in exploring design and becoming familiar with its applications. I began to realize the power design can have in our daily lives; primarily how good design can largely improve how we experience the world. In psychology, I see how design thinking is needed more than ever to create efficient treatment plans and interventions. Through this experience I have learned the importance behind the process of creation, and how to embrace its interactive, flexible, chaotic, and innovative tendencies.”

Ask me about:  Harry Potter, Living in the D.R., Ice Cream