DEI Explorer

Building a web-based service for increasing transparency into DEI policy at schools


Jan - Aug 2022 (8 mo)


Fund for Advancement of Minorities through Education (FAME)


Swetha Kannan, Leanne Liu, Marlon Mejia, Alana Mittleman


UX Research, Problem Definition, Product Strategy, Service Design, MVP Development


For my Master of Human-Computer Interaction capstone project, my team collaborated with FAME to design DEI Explorer, a web-based platform for education staff to review and compare the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) policies at different schools. Through research and iterative design, we transformed insights about Black educators, the education environment, and their business into a digital system for collecting and interpreting DEI policy data.

I led product strategy and various goal-setting workshops for the team, setting the stage for collaborative and comprehensive prototyping. As the team’s service designer, I wrangled ideas into initiatives with a focus on impact and feasibility for our client. I also owned the 3-stage plan to deploy our MVP, validating concepts with stakeholders to ensure we had buy-in from our ecosystem’s key players.

In August 2022, we handed off our design and deployment plan to FAME, which they will integrate into their strategic plan within the next 2 years.


How might we provide aspiring Black educators with support that minimizes the risk of them quitting their career?

80% of U.S. public school teachers are white, while only about 7% of teachers are Black. A 2017 study reports that Black students perform better on tests, have improved attendance, and are suspended less frequently, when they have at least one teacher of the same race.

With the increased need for racial diversity on school staff, it is more important than ever for schools to hire and retain Black teachers. Unfortunately, Black teachers report planning to leave teaching at double the rate of teachers of other demographics.

Five young Black girls in Ellis School uniforms stand in a row smiling
Most schools don't have Black teachers supporting Black students—FAME wants to change this.

Our client: FAME is a non-profit organization that aims to address this need in Pittsburgh education by training, placing, and supporting aspiring Black educators so they can lead robust and fulfilling careers, without the risk of burnout.

Our goal: Introduce digital innovation to our client’s existing advocacy programs, in order to position FAME as an expert in their field, while strengthening their partnerships and organizational capacity.

This page is under construction. Check the project website, or contact me for more info!