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September 20, 2023
4 min read

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           

Contact: Veda Mathur
212-807-1337 x 20

Collaboration will Train Teachers and Students plus Incubate and Invest in Innovative Ideas

New York, NY, June 15, 2023 – The Designed By Us, Inc Design Corps and MESA Charter High School announced a new partnership that aims to train staff and students to equitably use Design Thinking and generative artificial intelligence (AI) in order to solve complex community problems. The program will focus on developing the next generation of AI leaders by providing STEAMD – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Design -- skill training for MESA students and alumni, incubating their business startup ideas, and investing or helping to open doors in the new-collar economy. The collaboration was announced by Design Corps Co-Founder Joanna Peña-Bickley at MESA’s 10th anniversary celebration on Thursday, June 8, 2023.

“We are thrilled to have Joanna join our MESA family and help lead the next generation of leaders and innovators,” said Arthur J. Samuels, co-founder, and executive director of MESA. “As we reflect on our progress over the last ten years, we are so proud of our students and their accomplishments. We cannot wait to see how their dreams and ambitions come true through this sustained partnership incubating their ideas and encouraging them.”

“Our students are filled with potential and amazing ideas,” stated Pagee Cheung, co-founder and co-executive director of MESA. “MESA students remain a part of our family, even after they graduate. We pride ourselves in the support we give our alumni and are excited about this new opportunity to further support the amazing business ideas and ambitions our alumni have.”

Considered a pioneer in generative Ai and design and lauded as the mother of Cognitive Experience Design, CEO of Sensory6.ai Joanna Peña-Bickley, has been making waves in the tech space for years. Peña-Bickley has had a hand in some of the most recognizable companies in the tech space; IBM, Uber, and Amazon just to name a few. She co-founded Design By Us, Inc, as a cooperative, with her four children to accelerate gender equity in STEAMD.

“Through this partnership, we hope to identify, nurture, and equip the a new generation of AI pioneers that will dare to design better futures for their communities,” said Peña-Bickley. “We are excited to begin working with MESA’s team of educators to incorporate public service design thinking in school’s core curriculum, and use AI as a tool in the classroom to help unleash the full potential of MESA students and alumni.”

As part of the partnership, MESA and Designed By Us will match students and alumni with apprenticeships that upskill students in Design Thinking, Ai skills building and Generative Ai prompt writing  in addition to offering ongoing support through academic, extra curriculum activities and the school’s Alumni Lab, offering a series of career building workshops and personalized coaching. In addition to its current STEM curriculum, MESA aims to add art and design to complete the scope of STEAMD skill training. MESA will also train its teaching staff in AI to prepare students to use AI to address issues in their community.


About Design By Us, Inc.

Designed By Us™ is a cooperative on a mission to accelerate gender and ethnic minority equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Design. (STEAMD) and close the new-collar skills gap. Designed By Us™ is home to the Design Corps. The Design Corps is a one of a kind leadership program that unites students, apprentices and distinguished professionals in a participatory public service design and civic technology practice that produces novel innovations that address complex ecological, economic, and social challenges across the globe. For more information, please visit: www.designedbyus.org

About MESA Charter High School:

Math, Engineering, and Science Academy (MESA) Charter High School provides students with a rigorous education that equips each student with the ability to succeed in life and in college. MESA students will develop a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and, through an intensive college readiness program, develop critical thinking and self-advocacy. MESA’s mission is to help graduates internalize the connection between academic excellence, perseverance, and economic opportunity, empowering them to assert control over their professional futures. For more information, please visit: www.mesacharter.org


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