MFA Design for Social Innovation Announces the Winners of the Paul Polak Scholarships

We’re pleased to announce the recipients of the prestigious Paul Polak Scholarship. Bruno Silva and Cy Nakpodia, who will join DSI this fall, exemplify passion and dedication to the field of Design for Social Innovation.

Paul Polak is a longtime friend, advisor, and all around inspiration to our program. For the past 30 years, Paul has worked with thousands of farmers in countries around the world-including Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe-to help design and produce low-cost, income-generating products that have already moved 22 million people out of poverty. Paul’s ability to respond with innovative solutions-such as the $25 treadle pump and small farm drip-irrigation systems starting at $3-have helped increase poor farmers’ net income by $288 million annually.

Cy Nakpodia received an MA in International Relations from City College of NY, and a BS in Political Science from University of Jos in Nigeria. Cy is currently the Graphic Design Manager of CUNY communications. She is interested in utilizing design through creative peace building practices to help bridge cultural divides.

Bruno Silva received a BFA in Graphic Design from SVA. He currently works at theeducational tech company, Amplify. Bruno’s interest is in re-imaging how educators and students obtain information through digital platforms.

Deep thanks to the Reis Foundation for their support and congratulations to Cy and Bruno. We know you’ll be inspired by Paul’s example and are looking forward to helping your bright stars rise.

The two-year, 60-credit program prepares graduates to work in complex systems, expanding the methodologies of design to large engagements-from the invisible systems of beliefs and mental models that drive behavior to the forms of visual design that engage and inspire participation. They learn to scale the impact of research, mapping, game theory, informal systems and economies, metrics and data visualization. MFA Design for Social Innovation students work with real clients throughout the program, gaining hands-on experience with multinational corporations, nonprofits and social entrepreneurs around the globe. The curriculum encompasses a broad range of issues, including conservation, health, food and agriculture, poverty, women’s rights, social justice, fair trade, education and community revitalization.