MIT D-Lab 20th Anniversary

Join us for D-Lab's 20th Anniversary Events on October 21!
Join us for D-Lab's 20th Anniversary Events on October 21!

Join us on October 21st at MIT and online for a day of hands-on activities, seminars, and discussions to celebrate D-Lab's first two decades!

We are planning public events at MIT and online for current students, alumni, and the MIT community and for our community and research partners around the world on and around Friday, October 21, 2022 at MIT and on digital platforms.


At MIT D-Lab - MIT Building N51, 3rd floor - Directions

9:30 – 10:00 Coffee Reception

10:00 – 11:30: Morning Program

  • Build-it activity with D-Lab Founding Director Amy Smith
  • Evaporative Cooling Lecture-demonstration with D-Lab Research Engineer Eric Verploegen
  • Humanitarian Innovation session with Humanitarian Innovation Program Coordinator Heewon Lee
  • Coffee with D-Lab Executive Director Ana Pantelic
  • SurgiBox history and demo with D-Lab Instructor and COO of SurgiBox Macauley Kenney
  • Ring of Fire biomass cooking demonstration and discussion with Greenway Appliance's Sucheta Baliga and D-Lab Research Scientist Dan Sweeney
  • D-Lab tour with D-Lab Associate Director for Research Libby Hsu
  • And more!


At the MIT Media Lab - MIT Building E14, 6th floor - Directions

12:00 – 1:00: Lunch
Lunch with affinity group tables and a student and alumni showcase

1:00 – 5:00: Afternoon Program

- Ana Pantelic, D-Lab Executive Director



In this discussion, members of the wider D-Lab community (including alumni, community partners, students and faculty) will talk about the role that design plays in development. The panel will explore this theme in terms of their personal journey as well as their experiences in using design as a tool for community empowerment. The discussion will be led by Founding Director Amy Smith who will weave in her own experiences with D-Lab, development, design, and duct tape from the past 20 years. Panelists will include:

  • John Jal Dak of Youth Social Advocacy Team (Uganda, South Sudan)
  • John Ochsendorf, Professor, MIT Departments of Architecture and of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director, Morningside Academy of Design
  • Mustafa Naseem, Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • Emily Young, MIT D-Lab lecturer and Moving Health CEO
  • Viviana Rivera, MIT '23

This panel discussion explores the capacity of co-design for advancing equity in regions in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The discussion will include the ways in which participatory methods for conducting research, disseminating international development projects, and teaching in the classroom has the potential to enable organizational change, inspire agency, and shift power dynamics. Practice and research D-Lab team leads Libby McDonald and Kendra Leith will guide the discussion, providing case studies from D-Lab's vast experience with collaborative design. Panelists will include:

  • Victor Hugo Ayerdi, Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
  • Amit Gandhi, Co-Founder, Sensen; MIT PhD '22
  • Sally Haslanger, Ford Professor of Philosophy and Women's and Gender Studies, D-Lab affiliated faculty member 
  • Margaret Linak, Program Manager, Higher Education Solutions Network, USAID

Have you ever wondered what D-Lab students do in the workshop or on a trip? Did you meet someone who came back from a D-Lab trip saying their world had been rocked? Come hear from three past and present D-Lab students who will talk about how D-Lab changed their lives and what they're doing now because of that transformative experience. Introduction by Maria Yang, Associate Dean of Engineering, Gail E. Kendall Professor; MIT D-Lab Faculty Academic Director and moderated by D-Lab Associate Director of Academics Libby Hsu. Panelists will include

  • Mulan Jiang '23
  • Islam Genina, MIT D-Lab alumnus, MIT CEE graduate student, and Co-Founder and Tech Lead for Carbon BioEnergy
  • Sade Nabahe, Legislative Aid to US Senator Edward Markey, MIT SB '17, SM '21

Kim Vandiver, Forbes Director of the MIT Edgerton Center; Director, Project Manus; MIT D-Lab Faculty Research Director

5:00-6:00: Reception
A toast to D-Lab and all of the students, alumni, instructors, researchers, community partners, staff, and members of the MIT community who have been part of it! Refreshments will be served.


Join this D-Lab Community Facebook Group to:

  • Share D-Lab stories, reflections, and images
  • Connect with old friends!

Using this Google Form you can:

  • Share your D-Lab stories, reflections, and images
  • Organize a class, project, program, or trip reunion (in-person and/or online) in conjunction with the anniversary celebration October 21, 2022


    MIT D-Lab 20th Anniversary Committee