Northwestern's Design For America offers students $1,000 cash prizes

What can happen when students use design to create social impact in their communities? Well, apparently a lot, including the possibility of three students winning $1,000 each.

In October 2008, about a dozen Northwestern University engineering and design students attended a brainstorming session focused on this idea, initiated by the university's Segal Design Institute and McCormick School of Engineering. They, along with a few faculty members (including assistant professor Elizabeth Gerber who coined their name), created Design For America.

"DFA creates local, social impact using design. So far, the projects we have worked on fell in four different categories: healthcare; finance and fundraising; education; and sustainability," explains 22-year old Northwestern junior Mert Iseri. He attends the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences.