Design for America Vanderbilt



Our ProJeCtS

At Design For America Vanderbilt we usually work on anywhere from 1-3 project per semester focusing on a variety of topics. Some projects last only one semester and others continue for more than year depending on how deeply a team decides to explore their topic. Our project teams have consisted of anywhere between 2-8 members at a time and meet at least once a week. Interested in one of our current projects? Email the team lead listed to get involved!


College education Accessibility

The college application process can be incredible time-consuming, confusing, and expensive even for high school students of all backgrounds. Specifically, we'd like to tackle the college admissions process for low income and first-generation families and students. This project is a continuation of work we began last year. We have partnered with a local Nashville school and are designing a way for students from low income areas to have better access and understanding of the college admissions process.

TEAM LEAD: Sophia Chirayil -



Patient Comfort in Hospitals

Photo by shironosov/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by shironosov/iStock / Getty Images

The patient comfort team hopes to improve hospital stays for patients and their families by identifying and addressing uncomfortable aspects of the hospital environment. For example, pain points that our team has identified thus far include embarrassing hospital gowns, noisy rooms, inadequate privacy screens, and poor sleeping arrangements for visitors. While hospitals usually do a good job of attending to the medical needs of their patients, they sometimes overlook small things that would enhance patients’ happiness. Through this project, we hope to find some of those small things ourselves and use them to make a big change in the quality of a patient’s hospital stay.

TEAM LEAD: Julie Schnur

Mobilizing Volunteers Nashville

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images

Ever feel like getting involved in the community is complicated? Getting in touch with a non-profit you care about, talking to the right people, coordinating how and when you can contribute are all barriers we face when we try to donate our time or non-monetary goods to a non-profit. Our team seeks to explore what barriers potential volunteers and local non-profits face when trying to interact with each other.  Partnering with local non-profits and Vanderbilt Students, we look forward to creating a tool to make volunteering a seamless experience.

TEAM LEAD: Jamie Cohen

Personal Fitness

Everyone wants to get in shape, but people can't stick to it, or even worse don't know how to get started. This team will attempt to tackle personal fitness challenges on the Vanderbilt campus to promote a more healthy lifestyle for all

TEAM LEADS: Eric Yang, Billy Kaplan



From 2000 to 2011, there was a 79% decrease in interest in computer science among first year college females. In those same eleven years, the major companies whose services we use everyday (Google, Facebook, Dropbox, to name a few) were founded. So what happened? If women are using technology just as much, if not more, than males, then why aren’t there more female innovators and entrepreneurs in technology?

Our team realizes that the gender gap in computer science is a serious problem. We seeks to ultimately close the gap, because women provide unique and valuable perspectives that are underrepresented in a field that is rapidly changing our world and lives. That’s a huge goal, so we’re starting local and hope to work with local high schools and the Vanderbilt Commons, along with other resources and support systems for first-year students, in order to motivate more girls to pursue computer science.