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Announcing our Community Cross-Pollinators for the Higher Ed Challenge!

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We’re excited to introduce you to Lucy Chen and Andrea Zelenak, our Community Cross-Pollinators for the Higher Ed Challenge. They’ll be working with the OpenIDEO team to build connections and facilitate conversations between like-minded people in our global community. In the upcoming weeks, Andrea and Lucy will also be working to strengthen collaborations in the Inspiration and Ideas phases of this challenge.



Lucy Chen is currently a member of the founding class at the Minerva School, an innovative undergraduate program that combines four years of world travel with interdisciplinary study. She is a nomadic photographer who is fascinated with Emotion - Cognition interactions.



Andrea Zelenak is a product designer from Detroit looking to liberate others through design. Her main passion is humanitarian design, recently working to develop farming tools in Lupanga, Tanzania.




What's one thing you're hoping to see in this Higher Ed Challenge?      

Lucy: I hope to see some practical designs that students can easily adopt and are independent from certain bureaucratic departments in schools. Once given the right tools, students can be fueled by autonomy and curiosity to take amazing initiatives.


Andrea: Most colleges have a standard of how to grade, how to teach and even how long Higher Ed should take. I’m curious to see how we can think beyond this standard education system and reimagine the future of education. Ultimately, I hope we imagine more learning opportunities for all, beyond the average occupation.


It’s 50 years in the future, what do you hope our education system represents?

Lucy: The education system will hopefully be a creative factory where numerous types of intellectual exploration are respected, encouraged and produced. Students will engage in different phases of problem solving: look for raw materials, synthesize from past recipes, build new machinery, etc. Most importantly, everyone will have fun!


Andrea: For some, it’s a difficult thing to wake up and go to class everyday. In the future, I see students passionate about learning, who can’t wait to wake up for class and really strive to learn. I hope education will represent an individual’s passions and strengths, not only to help students “find themselves”, but really to find their purpose.


What is one unexpected take away from your education that has made a big impact on you?

Lucy: I am responsible for my education. To go to school is not to receive education but to create education for ourselves inside and outside classrooms. With freedom at Minerva, I am curating my education experiences in various project forms, with people from all walks of life, and in different countries.


Andrea: I transferred from a University to go to “art school” to follow my dream (an extremely difficult choice to make). I’ve seen so many people like me feel stuck in a major or school because of money and time. My hope is that education would help individuals find their passions and liberate individuals to follow their dream.


Join Lucy, Andrea and the rest of the OpenIDEO community in the Higher Ed Challenge!

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