meet our team
The UC Davis Center for Design in the Public Interest was founded in 2014 to bring together interdisciplinary teams to solve community problems through research-based design. Our team members have expertise in humanities, arts, social sciences, engineering, and technology, and we collaborate with partners inside the university and beyond to work at the leading edge of a growing movement that connects human-centered design with social good.
Funding for the Center for Design in the Public Interest is provided by The Office of Research at the University of California, Davis via its Interdisciplinary Frontiers in the Humanities and Arts initiative.
Professor, Department of Design
College of Letters & Science: Division of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies
Drawing on her experience in mechanical engineering and graphic design, Susan brings cross-disciplinary expertise in directing large collaborative project teams and developing innovative design methods, processes, and outcomes. Her academic research focuses on design for public benefit; she is particularly interested in addressing the needs of individuals outside the mainstream, including seniors, beginners (anyone faced with a new situation and choices), and persons with disabilities.
As a design practitioner, Susan has worked on over 100 projects for dozens of clients in the U.S. and internationally. She cofounded the San Francisco office of Studio/lab, an interdisciplinary studio focusing on identity, information, and experience design.
Professor, Department of Communication
College of Letters & Science: Division of Social Sciences
Bo Feng’s expertise lies in the area of interpersonal communication and intercultural communication. Her scholarship focuses primarily on supportive communication, which includes a broad class of situations in which one person interacts with another person with the intention of providing the latter with some form of aid or assistance.
She brings her experience and expertise in studying communication processes using various methodologies (e.g., survey, experiment, content analysis), as well as her research experience in studying cultural factors in communication processes. She helps to identify relevant communication-related theoretical frameworks that can guide the design of projects, and works with other team members to construct data collection instruments, interpret and analyze data, and write manuscripts.
Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
College of Letters & Science: Division of Social Sciences and Division of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies
Suad Joseph, an anthropologist, investigates the politicization of religious sects in her native Lebanon and the connections between religion, ethnicity, and state; the impact of religion and state on women and family; and the dynamics of child socialization, human rights, citizenship and subjecthood in the Middle East and its diaspora. The representation of Muslims in American news media is another focus. She has founded several professional associations.
She has received grants from the Ford Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the International Development Research Center, the Population Council, UNICEF, the Swedish Institute of Alexandria, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, and other funders. At UC Davis she has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Graduate Mentor Award from the Consortium for Women and Research; the Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award; and Chancellor’s Award for Diversity and Community.
Professor, Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering
Kwan-Liu Ma is a professor of computer science and the chair of the Graduate Group in Computer Science. He leads the VIDI (Visualization and Interface Design Innovation) research group, and directs the UC Davis Center for Visualization.
His research spans the fields of visualization, computer graphics, high-performance computing, and user interface design. He previously directed the Institute for Ultra-Scale Visualization, a 5-year project sponsored by the Department of Energy, involving three other universities and two national laboratories to carry out interdisciplinary research in several scientific application areas.
He presently leads a team of over 25 researchers working on projects in big data visualization, information visualization, visual analytics, artistically inspired illustrations, visual storytelling, and biomedical data visualization. He brings expertise in user interface design, in exploring data visualization as an enabling technology for increasing productivity and insight, and in fostering visual research and education in engineering, the sciences, and beyond.
Associate Professor and Director, Writing Intensive Curriculum Program
College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University
Sarah was co-director of DiPi through 2016. She is now Associate Professor and Director of the Writing Intensive Curriculum Program at Oregon State University. Sarah’s work involves public engagement, especially around complex scientific issues, interdisciplinary communication within or between research teams, and critical science literacy. Her contributions to Writing Across the Curriculum—including coaching faculty and graduate students in creating effective pedagogy and critical thinking activities that engage students and promote deep inquiry—played an important role in developing the cluster’s education and training component.
Fellow, MFA Design
Design and Psychology
MS Computer Science
Design, Art Studio
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
MS Textiles and Clothing
MS Community and Regional Development
fei fei song
Psychology and Statistics
lily wang huang