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Student Spotlight

Tica Lubin, a current student in the MA in Sustainable Design program, took some time out of her schedule to answer some FAQs about being a student in this program.

Where are you currently living?

Tahoe City, CA

What attracted you to MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design program?

A desire to join in efforts to tackle climate change issues in a way that I thought would be really impactful on a large scale.

Has anything you’ve learned in the program changed your way of thinking?

Yes. The program has changed a lot about how I feel impact can be made. The issues around changing systems and changing behaviors as well as tools to approach working on those issues have been really exciting to learn about.

Has anything you’ve learned in the program changed what you’d like to do with your career?

Yes, I thought initially about offering alternatives like bar shampoos but now my ideas are on different scales and I am working in new fields.

What has surprised you about the program?

My connections with so many interesting and new ideas around how design can be used — not only in the design of a product but the design of processes and systems as well as communicating ideas to create change.

Is there a class project or assignment that you are really proud of?

Lots of them! I think the program does a great job working with students to create a very nice portfolio of work to share and help us advance our careers or explore ideas to make new connections. 

What are you currently doing or working on?

A project looking at introducing seaweed as an alternative economic income stream in artisanal fishing villages. This is also going to be the focus on my thesis work. I also just joined Regen Network as their Science Program Coordinator where we are working to create economic income streams to foster growth in regenerative agriculture. 

What is the most exciting or inspiring thing you’ve learned in the program so far?

So many things! I love Biomimicry and Systems Thinking the most I think but data visualization is fascinating and eye opening as well.

What has been your proudest moment or project in sustainability or sustainable design?

Probably connecting with local efforts in southern Baja to work to curb unsustainable fishing in the area. My studies at MASD really put me in a great place to engage with this effort and be able to offer skills to contribute to solutions.

Have you already applied what you’ve learned in the program?

Yes. I have recently created a number of infographics and am applying my knowledge daily in my work at Regen working with scientists and land stewards to create methodologies to measure carbon and methane sequestration as well as working to create new collaborations and networks.

What have been the most important or useful things that you learned in the program?

Systems design and data visualization. I am currently using both in my work.

What have you learned in the program that you wish everyone would learn?

How our daily decisions can have a great impact. We are all in this fight together and need to understand the impact each and every one of us can have.

What recommendations do you have for people considering a career in sustainable design?

Start the program – get networking – read – join webinars – read more

If you had a magic wand and could completely solve one sustainability problem, what would it be?


Thank you, Tica!

Denise DeLuca / Former Director

Denise DeLuca is the Director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program. She was co-founder of BCI: Biomimicry Creative for Innovation, a network of creative professional change agents driving ecological thinking for radical transformation. Denise is author of the book Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, which was illustrated by MASD alum Stephanie Koehler. She also teaches with the Amani Institute.

Denise’s previous roles include Education Director for the International Living Future Institute, Project Manager for Swedish Biomimetics 3000, and Outreach Director for The Biomimicry Institute. Denise is a licensed civil engineer (PE) and holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with a focus on modeling landscape-scale surface and groundwater interactions.  In addition, Denise is a Biomimicry Fellow and a member of the Advisory Council of The Biomimicry InstituteBoard Member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), on the editorial board of the Journal of Bionic Engineering, and an Expert with Katerva. Denise is based in Oregon.

contact:  [email protected]