What’s your big idea?


“If we continue living as though we are separate from the natural world, we cannot overcome the complex environmental crises we face.”

This is the problem that Ashley French, one of our MA in Sustainable Design students, is considering tackling for her thesis project. Like all of our students, she has a big idea and will eventually use the sustainable design tools and frameworks she learns in the program, along with in-depth research, to craft an actionable design, project, or plan to make the world more sustainable.

Reviewing our students’ thesis briefs, proposals, and presentations is always so rewarding. They prompt me to consider new questions and perspectives, discover new inspirations, and take little dives into rabbit holes. 

Here are a few topics that Ashley’s proposal prompted me to explore and what emerged — come explore with me! 

Why we need more women in leadership, especially to achieve sustainability goals

Why Women are Important to Nature

Why business needs women to lead on the SDGs

New report shows women’s leadership can unlock major opportunities linked to sustainable economy

Why overcoming challenges outdoors is a proven way to develop confidence, resilience, and leadership skills — as well as connect to nature

This is Your Moment: Learn to lead on an immersive wilderness expedition

To Your Future: An inspired long life of adventure

How we can get more people, especially girls and women, outside and engaging in nature

REI Launches Adventure Initiative “Force Of Nature” Encouraging More Women To Get Outdoors

Alastair Humphreys’ MicroAdventures

What’s your big idea? If you’re yearning to take that big idea and learn to apply sustainable design tools and frameworks that can turn that idea into an actionable design, project, or plan, consider exploring out fully online MA in Sustainable Design program!

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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]