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Stuart Haruyama
Feb 9, 2016

Power Tools & Design Innovation

Feb 9, 2016 by Stuart Haruyama

Shawna is a member of the Leadership & Community Engagement [LACE] Fellowship, which is a 300 hour leadership program combining community service, critical reflection, and leadership training. The Fellowship is an opportunity for RISD students to learn more about the local Providence area and experience how their art & design training can be utilized for the betterment of their communities. Fellows also receive a $1,200 education stipend at the conclusion of the program.


Hi! I’m Shawna Cheng, junior in Industrial Design, and born and raised in San Jose, California.

I chose to take part in the LACE Fellowship to have the opportunity to shadow community builders and mentors within Providence, and to understand how design consultancies work with nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

Through LACE and the RISD community, I have developed an interest in sustainable design and social entrepreneurship, as well as community building. These components bracket well with the organization that I have been working: DownCity Design, which is a community-building organization that uses design innovation to foster community advancement. The projects and design dialogues continually provide a platform for prospective citizens to come at challenges with a shared optimism and to help design solutions that tailor to the communities’ needs.

In the past semester at the organization, my tasks have ranged from helping to organize things around the shop, to co-facilitating an after-school program. Power tools and woodworking make up a large component within DownCity, which pertain to the industrial design curriculum at RISD. It has been a valuable and equally satisfying experience to be able to put my newly learned skills to practice. My interests in architecture and furniture have also started to resurface because of the opportunities to build in larger scales compared to what I am used to. As I get to know more about the structure of DownCity Design, I will have more opportunities to continue to knoll out my academic trajectory.