Saeri Cho Dobson teaches students to use design as a path to social justice. That resonates with her personal journey. “My upbringing was very conservative,” she says, and she had to confront outdated and often repressive traditional expectations to find her way.
Dobson came from Korea at age 20 to the U.S., “where there is something for everyone,” she says. Her goal was to make a living as a designer, and she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees.
But teaching at LMU “opened my eyes,” she says, “to focus on social justice issues, to use design to say something for those who can’t.” She won a yearlong grant to work with people in L.A. with intellectual disabilities, which allows her to design with people, not just for them.
Dobson also founded By SaeRi Inc., an organization that creates and sells handmade wallets and totes to raise awareness and funds for Bangladeshi girls. Partnering with the nonprofit Speak Up for the Poor, By SaeRi raises funds to build education centers and dormitories for displaced young women and to provide educational supplies for young girls at risk in Bangladesh.
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