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Najla Mouchrek

Najla Mouchrek is a designer and scholar interested in the potential of design-based methodologies to empower, create community, and promote transdisciplinary collaboration in processes of change towards sustainable futures. After a 17-year career working in communication design for public universities in Brazil, Dr. Najla Mouchrek worked at Virginia Tech as a designer supporting student-centered initiatives and systemic change strategies, and then as a community builder applying human centered design to promote inclusion and collaboration across diverse worldviews and cultural backgrounds.

Prior to joining CAMD, Dr. Mouchrek worked as Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Virginia Tech Honors College, where she taught and conducted research on transdisciplinarity, the global eco-social emergency and sustainable futures, and on principles of art and design applied to sociotechnical innovation. Highlights of her work include research on design education and course-based collaborative research projects linking the culture of sustainability and design.

Research/Publications Highlights

  • Mouchrek, N. (2022). Preparing Honors students to deal with complexity and uncertainty: a transdisciplinary course to investigate the eco-social emergency. 2022 Honors Education at Research Universities Conference – Post-Pandemic Honors: Educating Leaders for a Humane World – HERU. May 31-June 2, 2022.
  • Mouchrek, N. (2020). Participatory design facilitation in career exploration processes for college students. Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios en Diseño y Comunicación Nº105, Visiones del Diseño: Problematizar el Diseño para comprender su complejidad, 231-249. ISSN Print 1668-0227. ISSN Online: 1853-3523. Edited by the University of Palermo in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Mouchrek, N., Krucken, L. (2020). Design as an agent of change: Practice-oriented initiatives on Design Teaching. In Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios de Diseño y Comunicación Nº80. Diseño en Perspectiva – Diseño para la transición. Segunda Sección. Buenos Aires, Argentina. ISSN: 1668-0227, p. 122-137. Edited by the University of Palermo in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Mouchrek, N. (2019). Empowerment in the Transition to Adulthood: Supporting Career Exploration in College Using Participatory Design. Doctoral Dissertation. Virginia Tech.
  • Mouchrek, N., Krucken, L. (2018). Living Labs in Co-Creation and Sustainability as strategies for Design In: Leahy, K. & Mc Mahon, M., eds., Proceedings of DRS2018: Design Research Society – Catalyst, Volume XI. Limerick, Ireland. DOI 10.21606/drs.2018.267.
  • Mouchrek, N., Tatar, D (2018). Youth Places –Collaborative Cartography with Young People in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In PDC ’18 Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference: Short papers, Volume 2. Hasselt-Genk, Belgium. ISBN: 978-1-4503-4046-5.
  • Mouchrek, N. (2018). Engaging College Students in the Transition to Sustainability Through Design-Based Approaches. In Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development, 20, 1 (2018), 88-103. Columbia University. ISSN: 1948-3074.
  • Mouchrek, N. (2014). Design strategies and competences to promote the culture of sustainability among youth. Master’s Thesis. State University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.


Art + Design


  • Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Studies (focus on participatory design applied to education and youth empowerment), Virginia Tech, US
  • M.F.A., Design, Innovation, and Sustainability, State University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
  • Bachelor’s Degree, Social Communication, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil