Meet the team behind Rethink Relief
Amy Smith (USA) is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the founder and co-director of MIT’s D-Lab and is also the founder of the International Development Design Summit (IDDS) and the International Development Innovation Network (IDIN) programs. After graduating from MIT in mechanical engineering, she served in the US Peace Corps in Botswana. In 2002 she began teaching D-Lab, a series of courses and field trips that focus on international development, appropriate technologies, and sustainable solutions for communities in developing countries. Her current work focuses in promoting creativity and design as a tool for international development and humanitarian aid, as well as working on technical projects in the areas of water testing and treatment, agricultural processing and alternative energy.
Ana Laura Santos (Portugal) is an enthusiastic entrepreneur with a medical design background. After completing her PhD research about unmet medical needs in humanitarian settings (TU Delft, Netherlands), she started Emergent Agency, through which she is case manager at Médecins Sans Frontières Sweden Innovation Unit and coordinator of a collaborative project between TUDelft and Leiden Medical University. Ana Laura continues to give occasional lectures, writing and publishing about global healthcare.
Debora Leal (Brazil) lives and work in, Para, Brazil, home to one of the largest mineral reserves and one of the worst GDPs in the world. She is the project manager of a project where utilize the corporate social responsibility funds from large mineral extraction companies for social good in an area of the Amazon, and is the lead organizer of an initiative of social development in a community that lives near the river. She has been involved in various social design and environment awareness initiatives since 2011 and has been organizing events around the globe for TEDx, MIT, and the Brazilian Ministry of Education.
Lise Capet (Belgium) worked as product designer in Brussels, London and Reykjavik before moving to Boston where she started working at the Institute for Human Centered Design in 2011. There she specialize in inclusive designs for and with users with physical, sensory or cognitive functional limitation. Her current focus is on education and the cultural sector. Recent projects include: Training on inclusive education in Russia, creation of a mobile platform to evaluate accessibility in the build environment and researchs of inclusive exhibit and interactive media for science and art museums.
Martha Thompson (Canada) worked in conflict zones in Central America for 13 years, in refugee camps, among refugee returns and with displaced. Her focus was on gender and conflict in displaced, refugee and post conflict populations, refugee rights, and rebuilding communities during and post conflict. She co-led the joint Oxfam’s work in Cuba in the late 1990’s opening the office there and developing program work around emergency response, gender in the agricultural cooperative movement and community agency among urban organizations. She spent 9 years as Program Manager for Rights in Humanitarian Crisis at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, developing and leading their emergency and protracted conflict programs with an emphasis on gender and exclusion. She taught on humanitarian work at both Brandeis and Tufts. In 2013, she left UUSC to work as a consultant on gender, programming, and evaluation. Her recent work with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has included bringing a gender focus to their work on developing a network of grassroots innovators.