Launched in 2015, the Taylor Senior Fellows Program brings scholars and practitioners in social innovation and design thinking to present in classes, engage in programs and workshops, and mentor students, staff and faculty members.

Taylor Senior Fellows provide invaluable insight from their field complementing academic and co-curricular activities in social innovation and design thinking while providing tremendous opportunities for students to network and receive direct feedback on their professional goals aspirations.

2016-2017 Taylor Senior Fellows



The Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking is pleased to announce Shawn Rickenbacker as a Taylor Senior Fellow for 2016-2017. Shawn Rickenbacker is an architect and creative technologist whose work focuses on the convergence of digital and physical space and its relationship to the human experience. As the co-founder of a research and design consultancy, Urban Data + Design, Rickenbacker uses data and research to help clients make human-centered decisions that are ethical and empathic in an increasingly technological world.

A frequent lecturer at design schools across the nation and in several countries, Rickenbacker has lectured and made presentations at the City University of New York, City Age, Washington University, University of Michigan, Syracuse University, University of Virginia, University of Illinois-Champagne/Urbana as well as in Barcelona, Helsinki, and Havana.

As a Taylor Senior Fellow, Rickenbacker will use his architectural background and social innovation experience in the classroom to explore the topics of equity and technology. In the spring, he will teach a SISE elective course titled “Humans and Machines,” which will explore technology’s role in human experience and interaction and the relevance of cultural competency in innovative technology. Rickenbacker also hopes to facilitate discussions with students on how to foster cultural sensitivity when using and creating new technology.

Jesikah Maria Ross

Documentary Artist

The Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking is pleased to announce community media pioneer Jesikah Maria Ross as a 2016 – 2017 Taylor Senior Fellow. Ross will visit Taylor throughout the academic year to give lectures, participate in Taylor Center activities, and collaborate with Professors Vicki Mayer and Rebecca Mark to design a new socially engaged media course that amplifies student creativity and community voice. Together, they will explore how to weave together empathy building, community storytelling, digital production, and cultural preservation in a way that is mutually rewarding for everyone involved.

Ross is a documentary artist who is changing the way communities collect, tell, and share their stories. She’s an interdisciplinary thinker, leading the kind of hybrid projects needed to solve the problems of the 21st century. She leads participatory documentary projects around the globe to ensure that the most relevant stories are being told with integrity and reciprocity. Working from the ground up, she produces layered, collaborative, multi-platform projects that can sustain both individual and social change. Ross mobilizes stakeholders, groups, and those on the sidelines around a shared interest- creating spaces and processes that lead to personal and social transformation. She has developed her expertise over 25 years of working with large institutions, community organizations and independent media makers around the world.

Ross is currently the Senior Community Engagement Strategist at Capital Public Radio, Sacramento’s NPR affiliate, where she is inventing new models for community engaged journalism. Previously, she was the founding director of the UC Davis Art of Regional Change, a community documentary program that brought students, scholars, and area residents together to co-create digital stories. She also co-founded KDRT 90.7 LPFM, launched the Bioneers Reel Change Youth Media Program, co-created the National Association of Media Arts and Culture’s Leadership Institute, and consulted with community media organizations around the world.

2015-2016 Taylor Senior Fellow

Liz Ogbu PortraitLIZ OGBU


The Taylor Center is proud to announce its first Taylor Fellow in the Taylor Senior Fellows Program. Innovator Liz Ogbu is an expert on social and spatial innovation in challenged urban environments globally. From designing shelters for immigrant day laborers in the U.S. to a water and health social enterprise for low-income Kenyans, Liz has a long history of working with communities in need to leverage the power of design to deliver social impact. She is founder and principal of Studio O, a multidisciplinary design and innovation firm, as well as adjunct faculty at UC Berkeley and Stanford’s d.school. Previous roles include first-ever Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Art & Public Life at California College of the Arts, Innovator-in-Residence through the inaugural IDEO.org Fellowship, and Design Director at the nonprofit Public Architecture.

Her projects have been featured in museum exhibitions and received numerous design awards globally. She has also written for and been profiled in publications such as the Boston Globe, Metropolis, Core 77, and the Journal of Urban Design. Her honors include Aspen Ideas Scholar, Next City Vanguard, Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council, and one of Public Interest Design’s Top 100. She earned architecture degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University.

As the 2015-2016 Taylor Senior Fellow, Liz Ogbu will visit the school on several occasions throughout the 2015-16 school year, teaching in the area of design thinking and delivering a public lecture. The lecture, which is co-sponsored by the Azby Fund and the Taylor Center, will be held on November 9, 2015 at the School of Architecture. The lecture will begin at 6PM.

Interested ?

If you would like to nominate a Taylor Fellow Expert in Residence for the 2016-2017 academic year, submit a nomination form (coming soon).

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