Ethnographer | Designer, Red Cover Studios (Oakland, CA)
Profile / Bio:
Vida Mia García received her doctorate in 2010 from Stanford’s Program in Modern Thought and Literature, an interdisciplinary department where her research combined the fields of literary studies and anthropology. She taught in Stanford’s English, Anthropology, and Feminist Studies departments as well as in the Ethnic Studies department at California State University, East Bay, designing curricula and adapting her pedagogy to suit a wide range of learners. Additionally, Vida Mia brings experience from the realm of Student Affairs, having served as the Assistant Director of El Centro Chicano, one of Stanford’s largest community centers. There, she worked with a diverse range of Latina/o undergraduates, including many first-generation and low-income students, to foster student success through active engagement both inside the classroom and all over campus.
Since leaving traditional tenure track academia, Vida Mia has loved being able to continue researching story and culture – as well as to utilize her ethnographic training – in the world of design thinking and innovation strategy. She has worked with client teams across the retail, beverage, consumer packaged goods, and social media industries throughout the U.S. and internationally; more recently, she has circled back to the realm of higher education, helping small liberal arts colleges develop and launch design/creativity/innovation labs on their campuses. (For examples of her work, see the Hive at the Claremont Colleges and the Red Frame Lab at Denison University.) Currently, she is leading curricular prototyping efforts for a Mellon-funded project on undergraduate ethics education, and ethnographic research efforts for an NIH grant around graduate engineering education. Finally, she very happily continues to teach: in addition to coaching in the Executive Education and Designing for Social Systems programs at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school), Vida Mia is a Lecturer in the Department of Design at the University of California, Davis.