Tag Archives: Mariana Prieto

Alumni Spotlight: Mariana Prieto, social impact product designer and IDEO.org Fellow

Mariana’s story originally appeared as part of Desigmatters’ Alumni Spotlight series. Find out more about Art Center’s social impact design department, Designmatters.

“How was the IDEO.org Fellowship?” many people ask. Although extraordinary, intriguing, surprising, challenging, and rewarding all are words that immediately come to mind, I don’t want to oversimplify my answer and leave it at that. I am still digesting the wonderful learnings and lessons that I have gathered in the last year. For now, let me start by focusing on my time doing research and prototyping out in the field. Over the course of the past year, I’ve spent a cumulative five and a half months traveling and visiting the communities where we work. This is where the magic happens. This is where our work intersects with the people we are designing for and why so many of us choose to follow the path of social design.

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TEDxYouth at Caltech: Brain Food

TEDxYouth served up generous helpings of Brain Food at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Among the cooks in the kitchen: Art Center Trustee Bill Gross; Professor and Director of Sustainability Initiatives Heidrun Mumper-Drumm; and Product Design alumna Mariana Prieto, who completed the Designmatters Concentration in Art and Design for Social Impact.

The day-long event took place January 19, 2013, and 8-minute videos of the talks were recently made available online. If you have an appetite for fresh ideas, watch!

A Perfect Storm of Opportunity: Bill Gross at TEDxYouth@Caltech

Bill Gross is a lifelong entrepreneur who has been starting companies since he was 12 years old. He has personally started more than 100 companies in the last 42 years, of which more than 40 have gone public or been acquired. Gross is the Founder and CEO of Idealab, a “company factory” based in Pasadena, which he started in 1996. Gross is credited with starting the first online business directory company with CitySearch, the first online car retailed with CarsDirect, the first paid search engine with Goto.com/Overture, and the longest-running technology incubator where he has been the creator of all these companies. A graduate of the California Institute of Technology, Gross currently serves on its Board of Trustees. He also serves on the Board of the Art Center College of Design, and more than 20 technology companies in California.

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Filling in the Blank: Students Bringing TEDx to Campus

Class shot of the TEDx Art Center College of Design Studio. Photo: June Korea.

Orange will mix with red this summer when the student-driven TEDx Art Center College of Design conference takes over the Hillside Campus on Saturday, June 9 to explore the event’s theme: “Design a ________ for Social Impact.” The “blank” in that title is a call-to-action designed to inspire conference attendees to come up with their own idea for how to effect positive change in the world.

Also on hand to inspire attendees will be an impressive lineup of speakers, including Doug Powell, national president of AIGA and the individual spearheading that association’s Design for Good initiative; and Cameron Tonkinwise, chair of Design Thinking and Sustainability at Parsons The New School School for Design, whose current research is exploring design-enabled sharing of resources. And for something completely different, Art Center Product Design alumnus and KILLSPENCER founder Spencer Nikosey has been tapped to provide the day’s musical entertainment.

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Product Design Student Named NCIIA Student Ambassador

We are thrilled to announce that seventh term Product Design/Designmatters concentration student Mariana Prieto has been named a NCIIA student ambassador for 2011-12.


NCIIA, the National Collegiate of Inventors and Innovators Alliance, is an organization whose grants, competitions, networks and ventures actively promote innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education. Art Center has been an active member of the organization in the past three years through Designmatters.

Prieto is one of 12 students selected by NCIIA for their outstanding leadership skills and commitment to practicing and promoting the entrepreneurship and social innovation mandate of NCIIA.

In her role as ambassador, Mariana receive ambassador training on the East Coast, and then work with our community to promote the programs, student grants and conferences that NCIIA offers to institutes of higher learning across the U.S.

Prieto is excited about her new role.

“Significant changes in the world come about by making small improvements within developing communities,” she says.

“The combination of NCIIA’s entrepreneurial spirit, Designmatters’ passion for social change and Art Center’s high quality standards catalyze the application of design thinking to identify such small improvements, consequently helping make the world a better place. I am deeply honored to be a part of this team and look forward to working with them during this next year.”

Congratulations, Mariana! She’ll be keeping us updated on her time as ambassador. In the meantime, check out this interview we conducted with her back when she was a second term student.

The Colombia Experience: Design is a Two-Way Street

The following post is from the Designmatters blog.

Guest Blogger Mariana Prieto di Colloredo (Product Design, 6th term) is the lead contact of Art Center’s social impact student organization Mustard, a member of the sustainability-focused student organization EcoCouncil and a candidate for the Designmatters Concentration in Art and Design for Social Impact.

Sustainability is more often than not linked to the responsible use of our planets resources to assure its availability for future generations. As true as this is, sustainability can also be applied to our own lives. As designers, we can “burn out” when we drain our creative resources but we can prevent this by refreshing and recharging ourselves from time to time.

While we are in school the opportunity to go out and research different cultures in a new, exciting and relaxed setting is limited, to say the least.

Because of this, EcoCouncil has taken the initiative to plan a research trip to explore a new country in a different and exciting way. This last spring Eco Council traveled for ten days to Colombia to remove ourselves from our comfortable surroundings and to work on a design project at an organic mango plantation in Anapoima, Colombia (a small town located 2 hours outside of Bogota).

Our goal was to come up with one design project during our time there while doing physical work at the farm and learning the inner workings of an organic plantation in Latin America.

After days of wielding a pickax, teak planting, mud fishing, milking, horseback riding and learning all there is to know about mango trees, we agreed the most valuable experience was working together with the farm workers through every step of the design process.

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Meet Mariana Prieto

For Mariana Prieto, the path to Art Center was a journey on many levels.

Moving to the U.S. from Spain to attend the College, Prieto says that “becoming a better designer meant leaving a school where I was comfortable and reapplying to a place that had already rejected me—but it was all for an enormous reward.”

Read more from this Product Design student in this great interview.