Acara Challenge

Acara Challenge

Street Food Problem Identification – Sparklers






Acara Challenge


Favorite part: Collaborating with our Indian teammates and getting to hear and see our customers thousands of miles away in photos and video interviews.

Hardest part: Getting a true answer for how much users would pay for the service during surveys.

Biggest revelation: Realizing street food vendors are employing their children, as young as 5, to wash dishes behind their stall: a significant barrier to adoption of our service.

During the Creative Design for Affordability class at Cornell, I teamed up with three Cornell-based students, and five Mumbai-based students (at the Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research) to enter a proposal for the Acara Challenge. Our task was to design an entrepreneurial and sustainable product or service to address food security in India. Our team developed a dish and utensil washing service for street food vendors that used municipal water access and Tata’s Swach filters to provide clean water for a small fee. Our proposed business employs local women as part-time dishwashers, rickshaw drivers for dish transport, and provides a sanitation certification program for participating vendors.

The Process

I really enjoyed the opportunity to work within the … Read More »

Posted on December 28th, by Rachel in Build, Discover, Portfolio.

Visualizing Credibility

Visualizing Credibility







Visualizing Credibility:
Infographic Exploration


Favorite Part: Breaking away from spreadsheets and two-by-two matrices to look at beautiful graphics and build something with my hands.

Hardest Part: Putting a hard stop on an open ended investigation so we could build an installation. I’ve learned how important it is to identify a goal before diving in.

Through a graduate seminar in Cornell’s Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, I explored the visual and contextual characteristics of credibility in infographics. My team evaluated a sample of BP Oil Spill infographics on subjective measures of credibility, like trustworthiness, propensity to be shared or referenced, and likelihood of preservation. We then ordered the infographics by common characteristics of Look, Time, and Voice within a 3D cube. By walking around the cube, viewers could identify patterns within the infographics and draw their own conclusions about the characteristics of credibility.

The Process

As the conversation surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill progressed from Learning to Understanding to Resolving to Reflecting, the “look” of credibility was consistently important in determining which infographics were shared and preserved, and by extension, which infographics were effective. First, we outlined criteria for judging credibility in the … Read More »

Posted on December 28th, by Rachel in Discover, Portfolio, Share.

Aerial Dance

Aerial Dance






Aerial Dance


Favorite Role: When I was Master of Ceremonies, I dressed as an flight attendant to welcome the audience and remind them to fasten their seat belts for an evening in flight. When exiting the stage, I placed an oxygen mask over the nose and mouth of one of the other performers.

Hardest Part: At the beginning of each class, we climbed to the top of the fabric twice, about 18 feet in the air. For the first few weeks, this exercise left me with noodle arms for the rest of the evening.

I decided to try Aerial Dance shortly after making the leap into Modern Dance from Ballet. It was a fantastic learning experience for me, because I got to start all over. Hanging in the air on a cloth is a completely foreign experience and I had to learn all the basic rules of locomotion over again. Instead of just contending with gravity, which is a far more powerful force once you leave the ground, I also had to stay mindful of friction and the need to be constantly anchored to the fabric. With these new constraints, I was clumsy, … Read More »

Posted on December 28th, by Rachel in Discover, Portfolio.