Faculty + Mentors

Meet the faculty and mentors of the MFA in Collaborative Design.

Peter Schoonmaker

Founding Chair

PhD 1992 Harvard University (Organismic & Evolutionary Biology)
BA 1981 Colorado College (Biology)

Peter SchoonmakerPeter Schoonmaker is Founding Chair of the MFA in Collaborative Design at PNCA, the first program in the United States to apply collaborative design thinking to real-world wicked problems. He comes to PNCA with a background in non-profit entrepreneurship, working with conservation organizations, community groups, government agencies, and natural resource businesses to design mutually beneficial forest, fisheries and watershed partnerships in the Pacific Northwest.

Peter is founding president of Illahee, a non-profit organization that provides a forum for environmental innovators to exchange ideas and increase the rigor of public discourse around environmental, social, and economic systems. He was also board president of Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, facilitating a process that permanently protected 35,000 acres of ancient forest.

Peter has held positions at University of Massachusetts, Oregon State University, Willamette University, Portland State University and Linfield College.

Howard Silverman

Assistant Professor

BS 1984 University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School (Decision Sciences: Management of Information Systems)

Howard Silverman is a principal at the consultancy Pattern Labs, working with the tools of systems, scenarios, resilience, and design thinking and practice. He teaches systems thinking in the MFA Collaborative Design program at PNCA. For many years, Howard was senior writer and analyst at Portland, Oregon-based Ecotrust, where he led the development of publications large and small, for dozens of partners and clients, in a wide range of media. Along the way, he gained experience in sectors (food systems, fisheries and forestry, climate and energy, green building, regenerative finance) and with approaches (scenario planning, spatial planning, market design, event design, life cycle assessment, online-offline engagement, and developmental evaluation). Howard writes at Solving for Pattern.

Zack Denfeld


Zack DenfeldZack Denfeld is an artist, designer and educator working at the intersection of the natural, built and information environments. Zack is currently running the Center for Genomic Gastronomy and CoClimate. He helped launch the Center for Experimental Media Art at the Srishti School of Art Design & Technology (Bangalore, India) and the MFA in Collaborative Design at PNCA. He has worked with CKS on the Emerging Economy Report and with CSTEP‘s Next Generation Infrastructure Lab and has several years experience as an educator, designer and convener of workshop and conferences. Zack holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Syracuse University.

Stephanie Gioia

Assistant Professor

Stephanie Gioia teaches Design Research Methods to second-year MFA students in PNCA’s Collaborative Design program. Stephanie leads the consulting practice at XPLANE, a Portland-based design consultancy that uses visual thinking to help companies make sense of complexity. Prior to XPLANE, Stephanie worked with IDEO on envisioning the future of design thinking, and in process and organizational design roles at UBS. Stephanie holds a bachelors degree in history and government from Georgetown University and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Roel Uleners

Assistant Professor
MFA Sint-Lucas Antwerpen (Belgium)
Roel UlenersRoel is currently the Creative Director of XPLANE, a global design consultancy that uses visual thinking to make sense of complexity. By creating clarity, XPLANE helps large organizations bring to live an improved future, defined strategies and a roadmap to execute breakthrough results.

After earning an MFA in Visual Communications, Roel started his career in the creative industry as a print designer and has since built 15 years of experience in graphic design, advertising, audio & video production and experiential marketing. He has owned his own studio, as well as held different positions at both European and American companies, ranging from graphic designer to creative director. He loves using design as a strategic asset for individuals and organizations to reach their goals.

Cat Kramer

Assistant Professor
2009 - MA in Design Interactions, Royal College of Art, London, UK
2005 - Bachelor of Design, Visual Communications, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Cat KramerCathrine Kramer is an artist, designer, researcher and curator working internationally. Inspired by human ecology, she creates playful scenarios that investigate our relationships to each other and the environments we live in. Her experimental practice employs a range of collaborations, objects, performance, digital media, graphics, animation and food to uncover the good, the bad and the ugly of life on Spaceship Earth. Most recently, she has been working collaboratively on the development of the Center for Genomic Gastronomy and is a visiting lecturer in the Design & Environment MA at Goldsmiths College, London.

Aric Wood


MBA Harvard University
BA The Johns Hopkins University

Aric WoodAric Wood is the CEO of XPLANE, a global change design consultancy, and is an active social investor and entrepreneur. Aric has led the firm’s business transformation practice, helping companies envision an improved future and define a strategy, roadmap, and campaign to execute breakthrough results, and is currently leading the firm’s social good practice.  With deep operating experience in general management, innovation, and new product development, Aric has a keen interest in leveraging design thinking to identify opportunities and drive innovation. He has appeared in publications and broadcasts including CNN, Business Week, and Inc. Magazine.

Aric is the Vice Chairman for the nonprofit Business for Culture and the Arts, a member of the Board of Governors of Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), a Director of internet company MusicXray, and is also an instructor in PNCA’s Collaborative Design program. Prior to XPLANE, Aric was COO of Dachis Group, worked as a management consultant with Bain & Co., and served in various management positions with Intuit and ePinions.com. He earned a BA from The Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from Harvard University.

Sara Huston

Assistant Professor, Design Mentor

Sara Huston
MFA Cranbrook Academy of Art
BFA Art Academy of Cincinnati

Sara Huston is an artist, designer, educator and curator. She is one half of The Last Attempt at Greatness, an interdisciplinary avant-garde studio she established in 2008 with her partner John Paananen.

Huston’s work explores subjects of progress, expectation, liminality, categorization, perception, value and the intersection and language of art and design. Her work is aimed at provoking discourse and contemplation in the viewer or user in an attempt to disrupt conventional ways of thinking, induce reflection and challenge the boundaries of what is known.

Tom Webb


BA Vassar College (Economics)

Tom Webb is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Bear Deluxe Magazine, an award-winning environmental arts publication based in Portland and distributed nationally. The Bear Deluxe has been recognized by Print magazine, Utne Reader, Orion magazine, the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Literary Arts for editorial and design excellence. Tom Webb is also executive director of Orlo, the magazine’s nonprofit publisher, and an editor at Portland State University. His writing has appeared in publications across the region, and he is a board member of the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission.

Alister Fenix

Alister FenixAlister is a GIS analyst and chief cartographer at Ecotrust, a non-profit whose goal is to foster a natural model of development that creates more resilient communities, economies, and ecosystems here and around the world. Alister has 10 years of broad professional experience using GIS in various aspects of geomatics and cartographic representation, ranging from spatial data analysis to remote sensing, GPS, server and database management, and the use of multimedia and interactive web mapping as evolving mediums for cartography. The focus of Alister’s work to date has been in watershed, natural resource management, and the environmental science sectors. Recently, maps have been published in a report titled “Resilience & Transformation in the Pacific Northwest” and the book “Wolves in the Land of Salmon”. At present Alister is on the GIS certificate program steering committee for Portland Community College, is working on the first Cultural Atlas of Portland with Portland State University and is Co-Chair for the Green Design Atlas. Alister received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from the University of Oregon.

Kimberlee Chambers, PhD

Assistant Professor

BA Hon, 1994, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada (Geography: cultural ecology)
MSc., 2001, University of Victoria, BC, Canada (Environmental Studies and Geography: ethnobotany)
Ph.D., 2006, University of California, Davis (Geography: agrobiodiversity conservation)

Kimberlee ChambersKimberlee is an interdisciplinary scholar interested in understanding human-environment interactions with an emphasis on questions relating to food, agriculture, and traditional systems of land and resource management. She has applied her interests to research and teaching topics that include agriculture origins and dispersals, Indigenous People’s traditional ecological knowledge, traditional land and resource management, local food systems, sustainable development, ecological restoration, and the conservation of biological and cultural diversity. To date, her regions of focus have composed a continuum of landscapes encompassing experiences and interests in British Columbia, Oregon, California, and central and Sonoran Mexico. Currently her research focuses on harvesting and commercialization of a native wild chile pepper (chiltepins) in Northern Mexico and the ‘locavore’ movement in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Her research has been published in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, Agriculture and Human Values, Journal of Ethnobiology, The Professional Geographer, Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, Journal of Economic Botany, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Native Plants Journal, Cartographica, and Canadian Botanical Association Bulletin.

Faye Yoshihara

Assistant Professor
Faye YoshiharaSpecializing in building bridges between the often polarized sectors of society, Faye merges a 20 year corporate career with a decade of brokering cross-sector partnerships and supporting start-up & growth-stage social enterprises. Prior to launching Pontes Consulting LLC, Faye was a general manager for Nike, Inc. and held diverse positions for S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. With over two decades of private sector experience specializing in Latin America and Asia Pacific, she has developed expertise in business development, management, and enterprise restructuring. Faye has also been an adjunct instructor at Portland State University School of Business, Masters in International Management since 2004. She serves on the board of the Homeless World Cup Foundation and advisory board for Biomimicry Oregon. Faye earned her bachelors’ degrees in Food Science and Technology and Microbiology from Oregon State University and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.

DeAunne Denmark

Assistant Professor, Mentor
MD, PhD Oregon Health & Science University (Neuroscience, Behavioral Genetics)
BA, BS University of Nevada, Reno (Economics, Biology)

DeAunne Denmark completed the Medical Scientist Training Program at OHSU and a NIH fellowship for graduate work on identifying genes in the brain that contribute to alcoholism. With another neuroscientist, Andrew McCollough, she has developed a new course and methodology applying principles of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience to improve design thinking, strategy and outcomes in all varieties of social, industry, and community systems. In addition to post-graduate research, she has been building partnerships between healthcare and design graduate education programs including the OHSU Brain Institute, PNCA, and OHSU/PSU Healthcare MBA to help further integrate systems and design thinking into medicine and healthcare reform. DeAunne is currently exploring career options in personalized diagnostics and therapeutics, medical imaging and visual communications, and movement and arts-based rehabilitation, and envisions a world where collaborations between doctors, scientists, designers, and artists are a mainstay of translational medicine and sustainable, integrative healthcare.

Jason Resch

MBA 2004 Marylhurst University (Marketing)
BS 1998 University of Wisconsin-Stout (Marketing, Education) (summa cum laude)

Jason ReschJason Resch has been teaching for the past 14 years, while simultaneously applying his experience in the marketing/branding/advertising/design industry. His teaching career has spanned the secondary and post-secondary sectors. His recent work history includes Wieden+Kennedy as a project manager for numerous Nike and Target projects, JDKDesign where he led a team, creating the Xbox ONElogo, packaging concepts and corresponding guidelines and is currently working with adidas NEOChina.

Kristin Rogers Brown

Assistant Professor

Grad Cert 1999 Denver Publishing Institute (Book Publishing)
BA 1994 Kenyon College (Studio Art, English)

Kristin Rogers Brown is an art director and graphic designer who has worked in a wide variety of environments, from small studio to corporate in-house design to publishing. She joined Bitch Media as art director in March, 2010. Though her first love in design is print, she loves finding the right media for the message, and believes in keeping a balance of intelligence, function, and fun in all the details of her work, whether it’s brand development, packaging, identity, or web design. In addition to designing Bitch, Rogers Brown is a freelance art director, and served on the board of AIGA Portland from 2004 to 2011, finishing her term as vice president. She has worked with sustainable design initiatives for a variety of clients (including a long-time stint as creative director for The Bear Deluxe magazine), and has been instrumental in working with AIGA Portland’s sustainability team (established in 2008) and Worldstudio’s Urban Forest Project.

In Memorium

Don Harker

Assistant Professor

MS University of Notre Dame (Biology)
BS Austin Peah State University (Biology)

Don Harker Don Harker has 30 years of experience in the private, government and nonprofit sectors and has a national reputation for innovative leadership. He worked in Kentucky state government for more than 10 years as director of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, director of the Kentucky Division of Water and director of the Kentucky Division of Waste Management. He initiated the Kentucky Water Watch program which is now 20 years old (www.state.ky.us/nrepc/water/wwhomepg.htm). Don co-founded and served as board treasurer of the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust and is active with local groups in Oregon working on forest issues. He consults with Sustainable Northwest and communities throughout the US on sustainable development. He has coauthored several books, including the Landscape Restoration Handbook and Where We Live: A Citizen’s Guide to Conducting a Community Environmental Inventory.