Thesis Projects

The MA in Sustainable Design program culminates in a student-driven Graduate Sustainability Thesis Project. Students conduct independent research on a sustainability-focused project of their choice, with the support of their thesis committee.

Empowering peer-to-peer networks to optimize forms for reuse in durable goods, using self-organizing systems in computational design
Nathaniel Edmunds, Spring 2022

Identifying Emerging Roles for Design Leadership in Sustainability
Sarah Hummel, Spring 2022

Myth and Making
Angelina Malizia, Spring 2022

Hands-on Sustainability Education: Teaching Sustainability in Career and Technical Education
Alex Wong, Fall 2021 

A Post COVID-19 Green Recovery Concept for Women-Owned Small Businesses
Ashley French, Spring 2021

Plastic Pollution: Plastic Waste as a Resource
Thongminh Nguyen, Spring 2021

Envisioning Sustainable Futures by Teaching Youth How to Creatively Think Towards an Uncertain Future
Dawn Suiter, Spring 2021

The Design/Build Industry: Establishing a Circular Economy to Offset Municipal Solid Waste and C&D Waste Production
Stephanie Hebert, Fall 2020

Empowering New Generations to Transition to a Circular Economy. Engaging Youth Through Experiential Learning
Anabel Sinn, Fall 2020

Sustainability in Textile Dyeing
Audrey Hunt, Spring 2020

Driving Sustainability in Automotive Leather, Environment Pollution and Reshaping the Luxury Mindset
Bianca Iacopelli, Spring 2020

Transcending Maui’s Current Waste Paradigm: A Regenerative Materials Innovation Hub
Jazmyne Geis, Fall 2019

Understanding How Socio-Cultural Norms Shape Consumer Behaviors: The case for ecological modernization of birthday parties
Ajda Mesic, Fall 2019

Using App Design to Implement Behavior Changes to Support the Southern Resident Orca 
Whitley Mike, Fall 2019

A Daily Tool to Transition To a Sustainable Lifestyle
Olivia Pedersen, Fall 2019

Artists and Phenomenologies of Climate Change: A Community Proposal
Theresa Akers, Spring 2019

Improving Sustainability of the Baby Product Market through a Rental Service
Brenna Kelly, Spring 2019

Sustainable Graphic Design Certification
Mark Chamberlain, Fall 2018

Fitness: Using a systems thinking approach to make it more sustainable, educational and a means to reconnect with nature
Tim Coffin, Fall 2018

Harnessing Collective Intelligence for Industrial Symbiosis
Aoife Fahey, Fall 2018

“Interpersonal Ecology” in the Workplace – Using stories found in nature to encourage employees to engage in sustainable practices in the workplace
Heather Meyer, Fall 2018

Methods for Sustainable Home Design and Construction – An Approach to Navigating Sustainability Approaches
Michelle Santos, Fall 2018

Wedding Venue Sustainability: Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Weddings Through the Creation of an Eco-Wedding Association and Venue Sustainability Certification
Annika Bergen, Spring 2018

Defining Sustainability in Fashion
Eleanor Cotlar, Spring 2018

Incubating Understanding:  A biomimetic approach to learning
George Cook, Fall 2017

Circular Model for Sustainable Automotive Child Safety Seats
Zachary Elder, Fall 2017

Minneapolis Microbrewery Wastewater Certification: A sustainable approach to wastewater
Megan Graham, Fall 2017

The Sustainable Roof Window
Christian Lundsgaard, Fall 2017

A Sustainable Diaper Service
Jana Baecker, Spring 2017

Sustainably-Focused Packaging Solutions for the Marijuana Industry
Megan Beierle, Spring 2017

Combating the Microfiber Pollution Problem at the Municipality Level
Kelly Wilcox, Spring 2017

3D Printing with Mycelium-Based Materials: A sustainable design approach to replace petroleum-based thermoplastic filaments
Ricky Ledesma, Spring 2017

Biking and the City: Increasing ridership as transportation through city implementation of assistance and communications initiatives
Claire Lukens, Fall 2016

Physical Activity in the Workplace: Exploration of design to subconsciously increase movement and improve sustainability
Jillian Schultz, Fall 2016

PrintCYCLE: A sustainable bicycle business
Ben Marquardt, Fall 2016

An Integrated Living Home Exhibit
Shannon Reece, Fall 2016

NOTE: Thesis projects completed from Fall 2016 to present are Thesis Project Presentations. Projects before Fall 2016 are Thesis Project Papers.

A Framework Design for a Sustainable Font
Kate (Katie) Newton, Spring 2016

Connecting Design to Global Sustainable Goals through Local Communities: Method for creating global, sustainable impact with design through work with a local entity
Shanna Ruyle, Fall 2015

Sustainable Manufactured Housing
Victor Palacios, Fall 2015

Immersive Screen Technology for Improved Health and Wellness Outcomes
John Longchamps, Summer 2015

Sustainable Production and Design of Cycling Lifestyle Apparel for Women
Deann Garcia, Summer 2015

The Story from Plate to Seed: Supporting food literacy through information graphics and storytelling in foodservice environments as methods for increasing consumers’ awareness of sustainable food habits
Alyssa (Yatabe) Hayes, Summer 2015

Development of Planet: Crisis, a sustainability-focused educational game
Gabriel (Gabe) Pyle, Summer 2015

Overcoming Barriers to Change: What’s holding back education for sustainability in Australia?
Wai-Jing Man, Fall 2014

Artspace: How will Artspace start to produce net-zero energy buildings? Wesley (Wes) Petersen, Fall 2014

EcoHousing: Modular affordable sustainable housing
Timothy (Tim) Hutchens, Fall 2014

The Imperative of Incorporating Biodiversity into Urban Areas: A sustainable design challenge
Michal Crawford-Zimring, Fall 2014

Closing the Sustainability Gap: The emerging role of sustainable graphic designers
Amy Dritz, Fall 2014

Bike Counter for Accurate Cycling Data
Craig Johnson, Fall 2014

Nurturing Sustainable Behavior in a Changing Economic Landscape: Identifying patterns to motivate consumer behavior
Jessica Papa, Summer 2014

SOUP: A resilient small business network
Gautam Muralidharan, Summer 2014

Redesigning the Countryside, Renewing Communities: Educational approaches and creative development strategies for a stronger and more sustainable greater Minnesota
Catherine (Kate) Mohn, Summer 2014

Water Slide: A mobile and web water quality system
Joel Kohn, Summer 2014

The Living Cupboard
Jacob (Jake) Hvistendahl, Summer 2014

Whole Earth Sports: Developing a product-service for a sustainable focused sports brand
Jared Carlson, Summer 2014

A Hero’s Journey to the Circular Economy: Exploring the role of storytelling in the transition from a linear economy to a circular economy
Sharyl (Shari) Welsh, Spring 2014

Connecting to Nature in Interior Dementia Care Environments
Sarah Dehlinger-Stanke, Spring 2014

The Life of Life Events: Using leverage points, Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) and infographics to influence sustainable consumer behavior
Elke Erschfeld, Fall 2013

The Application of Biomimicry for Innovation and Concept Development of a Sustainable Portable Space Heater and Supporting Business Plan
Cheryl Jenrow, Fall 2013

Gaming Our Way to Sustainability: Developing a board game to help groups learn about sustainability and generate sustainable solutions
Mirna Garza, Fall 2013

A Brave New World: The future of graphic designers
Shannon Rahkola, Spring 2013

Integrating Sustainability into the Graphic Design Process: A proposal for a sustainable graphic design toolkit
Noble Cumming, Spring 2013

Community Outreach that Empowers Environmentally Positive Change: Shifting short-term thinking to long-term thinking
Dawn Keene, Spring 2013

The SolDrop Solar Still: The practice and application of biomimicry methodologies to design a sustainable system for distilling water using solar energy
Stefanie Koehler, Spring 2013

Designers in a Sustainable World: A database for soft goods designers with a sustainable mindset
Kendra Hargens, Fall 2012