Our Executive Board


Kaitlin is a Senior from Naperville, IL majoring in Systems Engineering and Design with a concentration in Human-Centered Design and a minor in Disability Studies.

B.S Systems Engineering and Design
Kaitlin Skurnak

“I joined DFA because I am very passionate about the human-centered aspect of design. Engineering usually focuses on the technical aspect, and I wanted to expand my horizons. The people in DFA seemed very passionate about what they do, and I wanted to learn to make an impact in the community.”

Director of Project Strategy

Aayush is from South Elgin, IL. He is a Senior majoring in Industrial Design.

B.A. Industrial Design
Aayush Patel

“I joined DFA because it took a class that taught concepts like the Human Centered Design process and put them to practical use for me. I got to work with people from diverse backgrounds and learn new things from them. Working on large-scale community engagement projects at DFA helped me grow both academically and socially. DFA’s friendly and supportive environment made it easy for me to settle in and make friends. Plus going to the tons of social event options DFA had to offer helped me meet other members outside of work and get to know them better.”

Director of Operations

Mahir is a junior majoring in Information sciences + Data Science with minors in Computer Science and Statistics. He is originally from Gujarat, India.

B.S. Information Sciences + Data Science
Mahir Thakkar

"DFA has been a transformative space where I could pursue my passion for user-centric design, collaborating in a diverse environment to craft innovative solutions for real-world challenges. With its supportive network of like-minded individuals and practical project experience, DFA has not only provided lifelong friends but also valuable opportunities to showcase my abilities and make a positive impact on the community."‍

Co-Director of Membership

Sara is a Senior from Carterville, IL majoring in Anthropology with a Sociocultural and Linguistic concentration. She’s also planning on obtaining an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Social Design.

B.A. Anthropology
Sara Kiel

“I found out about DFA after searching for RSOs related to human-centered design and user experience. I decided to join DFA because I appreciated DFA’s commitment to not only having a multidisciplinary studio but also working on community-based projects. I believe there is so much value in working on a diverse team, and I want to make an impact in the C-U community that has treated me so well.”

Co-Director of Membership

Claudia is a Senior majoring in Information Sciences with a focus in UX/UI Research and Data Science, originally from Elgin, IL.

B.S. Information Sciences
Claudia Robles

“DFA was one of the first RSOs I discovered on campus that focused on human-centered design, so that made me very excited to join. With DFA, you are able to partner up with a local community member and truly make a difference in the community we spend so much time in as students. What made me enjoy DFA more was the welcoming and friendly atmosphere we have in our meetings. So not only do you become close with your project team, but with the rest of the studio as well.”

Co-Director of Education

Jaden is a Senior from Hilton Head Island, SC in Computer Science.

B.S. Computer Science
Jaden Ambrocio Alcantara

“I heard about DFA during my freshman year’s virtual quad day and felt very welcomed from the start. I am interested in using interactive software and computer graphics to create socially impactful experiences, and saw DFA as an opportunity to learn how to design with empathy and evaluate the human impact of my work.”

Co-Director of Education

Yamini is a junior majoring in Information Systems and Accounting.

B.S. Information Systems and Accounting
Yamini Malli

"She joined DFA to learn more about human-centered design thinking while helping non-profit organizations at the same time. Through DFA, she had the opportunity to connect with people passionate about helping the community. She also learned more about how to effectively solve problems using design thinking."