Kate Canales

Research Professor and Director of Design and Innovation Programs


Kate Canales oversees the popular Innovation Gymnasium and serves as Director of the new Master of Arts in Design and Innovation (MADI) program. She has a background in mechanical engineering, product design, and design research. Much of her recent work focuses on building creative capacity inside organizations. She studies and teaches the ways we innovate on the basis of human needs and behavior, and is responsible for integrating empathy and creativity into the technical engineering curriculum. Kate teaches several design courses including Human-Centered Design and Building Creative Confidence.

Kate has worked as a designer and design researcher at IDEO and as a Creative Director at frog design, both internationally recognized leaders in the field of design and innovation. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Her writing on human-centered design has appeared in GOOD magazine, The Atlantic, and The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

Kate at TedxSMU: Disruption by Design
Kate at TedxSMU: Empathy and Innovation


Gray Garmon

Clinical Professor of Design and Innovation


Gray Garmon has a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and has worked for architects Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland. Gray served in the Peace Corps in Ghana from 2007-2009 where he worked on various projects, including teaching English, leading discussions on HIV/AIDS, empowering women, and building concrete latrines. After the Peace Corps, he started a social venture called the Global Latrine Project to develop prefabricated composting latrines for the developing world. Gray is an American Institute of Architects Henry Adams Medal Winner, and a University of Pennsylvania Social Impact Fellow.

Suzanne Larkin

Adjunct Lecturer


Suzanne Larkin is an Associate Creative Director, Art Director, Designer, and Educator, who brings over 30 years of professional success from various creative environments. She has created campaigns for clients at J. Walter Thompson-San Francisco, DDB Needham-Dallas, Hawkeye-Dallas, and a collection of others within the financial, manufacturing, specialty gift, telecommunications, and interactive arenas.

Suzanne is fascinated with design research and investigates the benefits of new and innovative experiential teaching methods for elementary children with dyslexia. Her collaborative study with Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children has received international recognition from the Design Research Society and the International Visual Literacy Association. She has presented her work at conferences hosted by the International Visual Literacy Association, AIGA-DFW DB:Talks, Louisiana Reading Association, and the Bill Martin Jr. Memorial Symposium Texas A&M University- Commerce. With an insatiable desire for conceptual thinking, Suzanne approaches advertising design with a playful curiosity as the mindset for creating concepts that are the core strength of any solution. 


Designer In Residence

Justin Childress is a graphic designer, writer, and design educator. He is a Creative Director and partner at Switch, a friendly branding and interactive design studio in Dallas, where he works with a wide variety of clients ranging from individuals and non-profits to startups and national brands. He received his BFA in Communication Design from TCU and his MFA in Visual Communication from Texas A&M University-Commerce, where his thesis work explored how interactive tools can influence hazard projection and route planning by cyclists who depend on bike-specific roadways. His design work has been recognized by AIGA, Print Magazine, and DSVC among others, and he is a regular speaker on the future of curiosity-driven design in a disillusioned visual culture. 







Designer in Residence

Jessica is a Colorado native who has called Dallas her home since 2008. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design from the Metropolitan State College of Denver and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas. After working in publishing for four years, the spark of working with students began to grow and so started her path into the unexpected yet fully captivating world of Design Research. Through her thesis project that looked at transitioning from Communication Design to Designed Communication she fostered a love for local small-business and community engagement. She is currently the Executive Director of the Deep Ellum Foundation a non-profit that manages the Public Improvement District that Deep Ellum is in. She lives in Richardson with her husband, Joel, and their son Spencer.



Designer in Residence

A native of Saint Louis, Missouri, Michael Friebele has channeled his professional and personal experiences as a critical medium throughout his work in architectural design, involvement in the community, and experience in journalism. After receiving his Master in Architecture from Kansas State University, Michael located to Dallas where he has spent seven years working in markets across the globe. Currently a Project Designer with Perkins+Will, Michael’s work focuses on connections, from physical to historical, as a means of informing performance driven and client centered design. In addition to his work in architecture, Michael is a self-taught writer, having contributed to such publications as Texas Architect, The Architects Newspaper, and D Magazine. Within the community, Michael currently serves on the Board of Directors for AIA Dallas, is a member of the Texas Architect Publications Committee, and has volunteered with the Dallas Festival of Ideas, Design Future Dallas, and Life in Deep Ellum. Michael, and his work, has been recognized both with the 2017 Associate Award from the American Institute of Architects and the 2016 Associate of the Year from AIA Dallas.