Day job: Program Administrator, Design for America
Description: Sami Nerenberg, a self-titled “Community Designer,” believes creativity is the world’s most untapped renewable resource. Currently the Program Administrator for Design for America and a McCormick School of Engineering adjunct faculty member, she seeks to organize and empower communities with design as the means of creating change. Her goals are two-fold: to push designers beyond their traditional role of form givers to become creative leaders and problem solvers and to uncap the latent creativity of under-served community members to re-envision their own environments. She describes her job as “reflector of ideas and facilitator of action.”
Previously the youngest adjunct faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she developed and taught the very popular “Design for Social Entrepreneurship” advanced studio, Sami most recently returned from living and working in Kathmandu, Nepal as a Sustainability and Marketing consultant for a local social enterprise. After founding “Room by Room,” a healthy home makeover summer program for inner-city teenscreated in partnership with Brown University’s Community Environmental College and the Workforce Investment Act, she gained recognition as a Timberland EarthKeeper Hero and went on to teach “Design Futures” at Pratt Institute before joining Northwestern University.
Her studio and its projects have been discussed in media outlets such as Metropolis Magazine, NextBillion.net, Fast Company, Core77, Catalyst Magazine and RISD Views. Sami previously worked at Design that Matters in Boston and Greenblue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition in Virginia.