Fellow Since: Fall 2014
School: Grand Valley State University
Interests: Student experience design, curriculum development and design, business service design, innovation, product design, medical device design, entrepreneurship, engineering, and materials science.
Get a hold of me!
Kathryn Christopher usually goes by KC to most of her friends. KC graduated in 2015 with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering, studying Product Design and Manufacturing Enginering at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. Currently, she holds a full-time Visiting Faculty position at GVSU and will complete her Master's in Engineering this summer. She has done research in materials science and medical device development and has experience in entrepreneurship.
KC has worked on a variety of things at GVSU since becoming a fellow there in 2014. In her first year, she started an innovation club that eventually morphed into the design thinking club at GVSU. During her junior year, KC started a medical device company, obtaining a patent, completeing the I-Corps Program, and presenting in Open Minds. eventually however, that company failed, and since then she has helped contract at several other startups. Some of her experience includes freelancing as an experience designer at Thoughtfull Studios (https://www.thoughtfulldesign.com/) and helping to lauch a successful kickstarter campaign for MOBI (https://trainoutpainperformance.com/products/mobi/)
As a fellow, KC worked on a variety of things, but her largest success story was changing the freshman engineering curriculum to include innovation, entrepreneruial thinking, and design thinking. Now every student at Grand Valley will be exposed to project-based learning using the design thinking process in their first year. She is studying the effect of this change on student outcomes and is hoping to write about using design thinking in enginering pedagogy eventually. KC is now an advisor for the current fellows at her school and is in charge of recruiting and managing the applications with the faculty chamption, Dr. Paul Lane. While it might seem like a small task for some schools, another one of KC's largest accomplishments as a fellow was simply finding a sustainable funding source and home for the fellows program within Grand Valley.
In the past two years, KC has begun to expand some of her work interationally, and frequently travels to Nicaragua to promote innovation, practice empathy, and run workshops at the largest national univeristy, UNAN-Managua. In Fall of 2017, KC helped to expand the fellows program to UNAN as the first central american university in the program. Additionally, this experience has allowed KC the opportunity to be a part of a group of faculty at Grand Valley focused on providing mentoring, advice, and design thinking workshops to students and faculty accross campus.
[Updated June 2018]
[intro video coming soon!]