Supporting the Next Generation

Case Study By:
Ben Denzinger

Santa Monica College (SMC) is a renowned community college in Santa Monica, California. Among its offerings, the Interaction Design (IxD) program stands out for its focus on fostering innovative and user-centric design solutions. The IxD program provides students with the opportunity to earn a fully accredited bachelors degree from a community college and was built to fill an equity gap in Interaction Design.


Students on vocational courses often find it difficult to understand some of the commercial challenges of their conceptual designs and difficult to find companies willing to help them gain experience outside the classroom walls.

Analysis and Actions:

In pursuit of providing its students with real-world experiences and industry expose, we established a partnership with Santa Monica College. We wanted to help students by developing a hands-on learning experience and real-world project based on the design needs of our business. At the same time, we were clear to engage SMC faculty in the partnership to strengthen the tie between academic knowledge and industry application.

Results, Outcomes and Lessons Learned:

The partnership allowed for SMC students to gain valuable real-world experience by working on industry-sponsored design challenges and paid freelance projects. through studio tours and mentorship, students developed meaningful connections within the design industry, opening doors for potential career opportunities.

We believe this has helped them enhance their professional capabilities and build a stronger portfolio to help them stand out in the job market and hope the collaboration enriched the educational experience and empowered students to become well-rounded and socially conscious designers. MaCher also benefited from the collaboration by gaining fresh perspectives and creative ideas from the talented pool of SMC students. We enjoyed the opportunity to foster a partnership in this way to create a thriving ecosystem of learning innovation and positive community impact.