Emily Pilloton is a designer from the Bay Area who founded a non profit organization that teaches design, engineering, construction, and problem solving called “Project H“. As her bio reads, she was inspired by the fictional TV maverick/problem solver with a toothbrush and a wire; MacGyver! She studied architecture and building, and went on to work on design projects that were not only beautiful, but served a purpose. Some of her projects include building water drums with folks in Africa-BUT, I don’t get the vibe from her that she’s going in and solving people’s problems or viewing anyone as less than or poor. Rather, she is going in and working with people, combining their knowledge and hers to collaborate on a design solution to a problem. Take for instance, the classes her organization currently teaches in Berkeley to empower young girls and their mothers to build!! By putting a drill in their hands she is shifting minds and breaking expectations. I found out about her through the documentary “If you build it” which followed her and designer Matthew Miller as they revolutionized what a high school class could be, by building things with their hands, engaging students, and inspiring new ideas about who they could be.
Sources: If you build it (documentary), Ted Talk (video), Lecture CIDIM (video)