We are excited to bring on a number of interns to work with KDI this summer in Kibera, Kenya. Arriving in July, from all over the world, our interns will work on projects ranging from community organizing to film production. Our interns bring diverse skill sets and backgrounds that will be assets as they work with community organizations in Kibera at KDI’s three Public Space Projects. The three interns below will be joined by two engineer-interns sponsored by our partner, engineering firm, Buro Happold. Please check into the blog in the coming weeks as our interns tell you about the projects they are working on and life in Kenya.
Eric De Feo (New York, USA)
Eric has explored a range of fields since starting undergrad, from broadcast journalism to financial consulting, to now consolidating a primary focus in the design world. With a strong passion for environmental activism and sustainability, he ultimately embraced architecture as a field that not only encompasses a myriad of influences, from biology to psychology, but as one of the most powerful tools in curbing the human carbon footprint. Considering how buildings account for over 25% of carbon emissions worldwide and how landfills are growing exponentially, his interests lie in extending the long-term responsibility and durability in building and everyday products. In working with the Kounkuey Design Initiative, he is excited to see how good design can work as a catalyst for change and growth in the local community. With a background in liberal arts from Northwestern University (Chicago, USA), he’s currently a candidate for dual-graduate degrees in a Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Engineering in Integrated Product Design at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA).
Growing up as the youngest of five siblings in an Italian-American, just north of the Bronx, Eric tells us, “I have a low tolerance for bland food. When I’m not zoning into a 3D modeling abyss, I indulge in political journalism, traveling with friends and a good Woody Allen film when feeling homesick.”
Yumiko Ota (Tokyo, Japan)
Yumiko Ota graduated from University of Southern California with a degree in Urban Planning in 2006. After college, she worked as a consultant in a firm specializing in international economic development. She participated in projects in Tanzania, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia. Through her work, she became interested in minimizing negative impacts of urbanization for low-income households, and how local people’s opinions can be reflected in projects. She is especially interested in displacement issues.
Currently, she is studying in the Urban Planning Masters program at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, emphasis on community development and housing. She is expected to graduate in June 2012. Besides school, she has been working with the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) to advocate for affordable housing policies and projects to assist low-income households in Koreatown. She sees great opportunities working in a low-income neighborhood in Los Angeles that shares similarities with developing countries. In her free time, she enjoys reading books, traveling, playing sports and shopping.
Elena Archipovaite (Lithuania)
Elena is originally from Lithuania, but has spent the last four years of life just moving around the Globe. Most recently she has been living, studying or traveling in Norway, Uganda, Rio de Janeiro, Delhi, with the last places serving as research destinations. By profession, Elena is an Architect and just recently graduated from an Urban Planning program. She has been practicing in the architecture field for more than fours years in Portugal and Lithuania. Those that know her say she is: curious, smart, hard-working and, not least, ever inventive in finding solutions to challenges set before her.