Meet The Team

Kevin Close

Kevin Close

Kevin Close

Kevin Close


About you

Kevin likes cats. He also dabbles in design with the enthusiasm of a kindergartner, the efficiency of a freshman, and with dreams of getting a Ph.D. When not writing about design, Kevin devotes his time to redesigning and reimagining the measurement of student achievement. He takes a practical approach to designing ‘smart’ standardized tests that adapt for diverse students. But mostly he likes cats.

What is design?

…Next question.

Why are you participating in this project?

Thinking and writing about design inspires me to make mistakes, try new things, think differently, and push through the occasional grit and grind of labor. Articles by Kevin Close
Punya Mishra

Punya Mishra

Punya Mishra

Punya Mishra


About you

Punya Mishra is an educator, researcher, designer, artist, and professional dilettante interested in life, the universe and everything. He is particularly keen on shoehorning Douglas Adams’ book titles into his bio statement. You can find him at punyamishra.com

What is design?

If used as a noun, it is structure adapted to a purpose. The designed “thing” can emerge both as a result of intentional actions (an educator designing a syllabus) or unintentionally (the opposable thumb as a result of natural selection). If used as a verb, however, it is only in the intentional sense that we can use “design”, as in: it is the act or process of adapting a structure for a purpose. Design as a verb is meaningless in the unintentional context.

Why are you participating in this project?

As my friend Hartosh once said, in a different, but similar context: Why not?

If that answer is not flippant enough, here is another, hopefully, more light-hearted attempt…

Creating something, anything, with a bunch of friends is possibly the only thing that gives meaning to our lives allowing us, albeit momentarily, to stave off, or more realistically, ignore, the inevitable, impending darkness.

Articles by Punya Mishra
Luis Perez Cortes

Luis Perez Cortes

Luis Perez Cortes

Luis Perez Cortes


About you

Luis is a secret (double) agent, a commander or armies, a slayer of dragons, and a professional baseball player–all in the video game worlds he loves to inhabit and participate in. Luis likes playing video games and thinking about (and exploring) how they can help make the world a better place, especially in educational contexts.

What is design?

Design is, well, everything.

Why are you participating in this project?

When I’m daydreaming, my mind often wanders to questions about why things are the way they are. I try to observe them and come up with sensible explanations for why, for example, the handle of a toothbrush has one particular shape or another. Participating in this project gives me an excuse to visit this mind space with purpose.

Articles by Luis Perez Cortes
Amanda Riske

Amanda Riske

Amanda Riske

Amanda Riske


About you

Amanda is happiest when riding her bike, behind a sewing machine, or diving in warm waters. Her international teaching experiences allowed her to explore the world and appreciate the designs of various cultures. When not contemplating design decisions, Amanda envisions methods to help mathematics students and teachers navigate the era of big and warm data.

What is design?

Good question! Tell me more.

Why are you participating in this project?

Design is in the fabric of our societies. I love noticing the design choices a city makes to cultivate a culture or highlight values of the inhabitants. This project allows me to think about these design decisions and aspects in productive and collaborative ways.

Articles by Amanda Riske
Steven Weiner

Steven Weiner

Steven Weiner

Steven Weiner


About you

Steven started a short-lived business in the first grade selling an invention he called “Elephant Shoes”. He took empty restaurant-sized tomato sauce cans, turned them upside-down, tied string to their tops, painted “nails” on their front and tried to sell them to kids who wanted to be taller. It was his first taste of the excitement–and failure–of innovation. Many years later, he is getting a Ph.D. so that he can design a school system of the future that encourages students and teachers to be more creative, innovative, and persistent in pursuing their dreams.

What is design?

Design is the way humans talk to the world–and how the world talks back. Most people are “talking design” but don’t even know it.

Why are you participating in this project?

Design is one of the key missing pieces in our educational system. It is the central thing that we do not teach, but rather expect our students to learn on their own. By participating in this project, I hope to explore how we can both design better schools and integrate design education into them.

Articles by Steven Weiner
Daniel Brasic

Daniel Brasic

Daniel Brasic

Daniel Brasic


About you

I’m a web developer by day, and often by night as well. I’d love to find a way to work while biking as I seem to do my best thinking on two wheels. In addition to biking, I love hiking, sailing, craft beer and drum and bass, but not all at once.

What is design?

I cannot easily put it into words, but I know it when I see it. Whether it’s done deliberately by humans or chaotically by nature, wherever you look, there it is.

Why are you participating in this project?

I was promised Bundt cake…

Ben Scragg

Ben Scragg


About you

Ben Scragg has a beard, and has had it for some time. He is a design strategist staffer, lecturer, and doctoral student in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU — which makes him one bureaucratic committee appointment away from hitting for the higher ed cycle. Fascinated by design at the intersection of what is and what could be, Ben’s work is focused on exploring in the multiple futures of learning and how educators design for emergence.

Articles by Ben Scragg
Melissa Warr

Melissa Warr

Melissa Warr

Melissa Warr


About you

Melissa listens to podcasts, learns random facts, and inserts them into conversations. She enjoys playing her violin and has fond memories of those rare moments when her junior high orchestra students’ music was tolerable . She dreams of a world where all teachers are empowered to design creative learning experiences for their students. Her cat plays the piano.

What is design?

Her current obsession.

Why are you participating in this project?

Design connects thinking and doing, analyzing and creating. Design is empowering–my experiences with design have given me the confidence to try, do, and explore. The design of this project–including all the twists and turns–have been invigorating and have enriched my work with education and design.

Articles by Melissa Warr

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