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Valerie (Sherry) Caruolo

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Serving as a UIF Since: Fall 2013

School: University of Maryland, College Park

What she does now: Architectural Designer for HCM

What that means: I design learning experiences and SPACES! I primarily focus on higher education environments but also interested in K-12 environments and urban spaces.

Contact her about: maker spaces, design thinking, workshops, pop up classes


Valerie (Sherry) Caruolo has been a University Innovation Fellow at the University of Maryland since November 2013, where she is pursuing a Masters degree in
Architecture. Her thesis research involves designing informal networks for learning spaces and explores how spatial agency might promote discovery, learning, and play in the public realm. Might there be strategies in which space may enhance or support educational inquiry and interaction? How might we expand our concept of learning spaces within community constructs so that urban learning spaces might be thought of as a network of entry points to education and economic mobility for marginalized populations? As a fellow, Valerie works with university administrations, fellow students, as well as local, regional, and global partners using a system’s thinking approach to design learning experiences and spaces that empower stakeholders to engage in lateral thinking and implementation of their ideas.

As a fellow, Valerie is passionate about connecting people with diverse expertise in order to enhance communication and promote cross-fertilization between fields. At the University of Maryland, Valerie helped launch Social Design Lab, a student design community where student teams pursue their passions through social design projects with the support of interdisciplinary peers, and connected campus resources. Valerie also works as a Design Thinking Facilitator with UMD’s Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship helping to facilitate design thinking and lean Launchpad modules in current undergraduate courses. Valerie plays an active role in her school community connecting students, faculty, administration, and regional partners. In Spring 2013 she launched an initiative, Design Tent where participants with diverse expertise engage in opportunities to play under the same tent providing forums to exchange mutual knowledge. Since then she has continued to design curriculum that allows participants to actively venture outside their comfort zone. As a member of her school’s curriculum committee she seeks to ensure that seeking student voice and input is a common ingredient when decisions regarding changes to their educational environment are made.

As an undergraduate at Brown University, Valerie pursued personalized learning through a liberal arts driven inquiry. During her undergraduate academic career she constructed her architectural studies major around complimentary courses in art, engineering, urban economics, psychology, environmental science, social entrepreneurship and management science. Valerie was a four year Division I collegiate athlete on the Brown University Women’s Lacrosse Team where she learned the importance of a team centered attitude, drive and leadership. As a member of the Women’s Leadership Council and Women’s Launch Pad mentorship program she participated in engaging student and mentor interests. Throughout her academic career, Valerie has also studied at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Universitat de Barcelona and Yestermorrow Design/Build School. In years leading to graduate school Valerie gained professional experience as a designer, architectural intern, construction manager, and building scientist. She is a CPHC (Certified Passive House Consultant), LEED AP and International Living Futures Institute member.

She loves learning new things, coffee and in her spare time enjoys outdoor sports, and traveling.

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