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At LEAP, nearly 300 Mount Holyoke students present about their internships and research experiences. You will hear from future policy makers, activists, entrepeneurs, data scientists, teachers, researchers, and market analysts. Most will tell stories of unmitigated success and transformative learning. Others will share details of unexpected challenges they faced, and how they were required to shift and adapt in response. Students worked in 42 countries in every imaginable field. They will discuss important issues of social justice, relate how they met challenges of communication and expression in new contexts, and talk about how to find and succeed in summer internships.

LEAP is designed to give students who aspire to undertake internships and summer research the opportunity to learn from their peers. It is also for the whole Mount Holyoke community where family, friends, faculty, staff and our alumnae come together to celebrate the work and contributions of the presenters.

We are hugely impressed by students in College 211 and inspired by their individual success and collective learning. Their work in bringing the LEAP Symposium to fruition was exceptional. We thank the faculty, staff, alumnae, donors, and internship and research providers whose contributions have make this event possible.

LEAP presenters: Congratulations.
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Friday, October 20 • 4:45pm - 5:40pm
Flexibility in Design and Culture

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In today’s world, it has become increasingly imperative to incorporate design with culture in order to create a more global perspective. Working with two or more cultural backgrounds can pose some challenges. A good example is how technology is introduced as a replacement for hand-crafted material. As international designers, it is vital to know how to convert these objectives positively without intruding on cultural heritage. Challenges subconsciously push a designer to deconstruct the existing constraints from his or her own background in order to embrace current trends and existing cultural norms with flexibility. The ultimate goal, which is a work in progress, is to achieve results that both reflect compelling design and embrace the challenges faced in each culture’s context.


Michael Davis

Professor of Art History, Mount Holyoke College


(1) Stella Chepkwony

Michael Davis, Art History and Architectural Studies
avatar for Casey  Pan

Casey Pan

To Be an International Designer in This Cultural Swirl, Architecture Major
As future international designers, how could we balance what we learned from school with what is needed in the office, and how do we navigate our work while people in the office are working in a different pattern than us? I have worked in four different design offices in four different... Read More →
avatar for Olive  Tran

Olive Tran

Designing Internationally: Challenges Faced and Lessons Learned, Computer Science Major
Design can be affected a by a great variety of factors, cultural and social contexts included. As the Design Intern for VietAbroader 2017 Career Conference, Olive Tran's goal was to brainstorm and design compelling promotional materials to attract Vietnamese youth. Through her internship... Read More →
avatar for Xin  Zhong

Xin Zhong

Compromise and Resist, Architecture and Math Major
Designers’ approaches toward a certain task are unambivalently shaped by their cultures. Placing different cultures in a high-density working environment predictably causes friction: a classic exemplar of such a conflict is a designer from a technology-dependent background experiencing... Read More →

Friday October 20, 2017 4:45pm - 5:40pm EDT
Carr 102