Discover. Engage. Create.

I work at the intersections: of design + learning, business + impact, and possibility + place. 

I help communities and impact organizations better understand their inner cultures, capacities, and aspirations to design meaningful environments, experiences, and strategies.

Currently occupying my time: 

Building a studio that uses design and design thinking to re-imagine learning communities with TheThirdTeacher+.

Making communities more neighborly with The League of Awesome Possibilities

Connecting and building the social innovation community with StartingBloc.

I fundamentally believe in potlucks.


Questions on my mind:

How might we create robust cross-sector partnerships to support collective goals around education, economic, and health outcomes?

How might we build the capacity of neighbors to shape the future of their communities and cities?

How might we support the creation of robust learning experiences through design?

How might we create organizational structures that promote empowerment, engagement, and authenticity?




The longer story...

Melanie works at the intersection of design, community, and place. Currently, she is a strategist and engagement lead with the TheThirdTeacher+, a learning design consultancy within a global architecture and design firm that works with schools, universities, libraries, museums, and community centers. An interdisciplinary team of architects, educators, and technologists, Melanie brings a human-centered approach to the studio’s research, workshop facilitation, and design practice. Outside of work, she takes her studio to the sidewalk with The League of Awesome Possibilities, a design collaborative helping revitalize neighborhoods through placemaking, neighborly research, and dinner parties in vacant storefronts. Melanie is a StartingBloc: Institute for Social Innovation fellow and facilitator and works with Healthy Schools Campaign's Cooking up Change, an urban cooking competition to re-imagine school lunch.

Previously, Melanie has worked empowered education entrepreneurs in the Chicago Public Schools as a public interest fellow, supported the regional launch of Jane Goodall Institute's youth education program,  was the knowledge manager for the education studio of Perkins+Will, and worked on grassroots environmental campaigns with the Sierra Club. She brings to bear her experience in social science research, non-profit management, community development, and storytelling to her work. At Northwestern University she studied social policy and organizational strategy.

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"Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." 

— Mary Oliver—