McCormick senior youngest to be honored by Inc. Magazine

Jennifer Suh and Jennifer Suh

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Hannah Chung, a McCormick senior who co-founded Design for America in 2009 at Northwestern, was chosen last week as one of the “15 Women to Watch in Tech” by Inc. Magazine. Chung was the youngest woman on the list.

“I feel so honored to be in the list, especially among other people with more experience,” Chung said.

Many members of Design for America, a student initiative aimed at solving local and social problems through “human-centered” design, said they were not surprised by this news.

“I’m so happy for her,” said McCormick junior Christy Lewis, studio lead at NU’s DFA. “I think it really provides the recognition of how hard she works. She is the hardest-working person I have ever seen.”

Chung founded DFA at NU with friends from a variety of majors to tackle issues including education, health and the environment. Since then, DFA has expanded throughout the country, with DFA studios in eight universities, including Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College and Stanford University. The group’s current projects at NU include working with Sodexo to reduce food waste and with Northshore Hospital to ensure proper sanitation for hospital staff, according to the DFA website. The NU studio is also working on about 15 projects that do not appear on its website, McCormick junior Tristan Sokol said.

DFA fosters a unique environment that lets students learn together how to make their ideas work, Lewis said.

“Failing is better than not trying,” Lewis said. “None of use know how to do things, so you learn, you figure it out, and you support each other”

Sokol said DFA is different from other student groups in that it is not just a business venture.

“We focus only on social impact and bettering the world,” said Sokol, who also serves as studio lead at NU’s DFA.

Chung now works in Providence, R.I., as the co-founder and chief creative officer of Jerry the Bear LLC. The company’s namesake is an interactive toy that helps families with children who have Type 1 Diabetes learn to manage the disease. Chung and McCormick senior Aaron Horowitz began working on Jerry the Bear as DFA’s first project.

“We see this as an education tool,” Chung said. “It’s for parents to use the toy to teach and for children to learn how to take care of themselves.”

Families will learn how to take care of Jerry the Bear by giving insulin shots, monitoring his diet and measuring glucose levels, Chung said. Chung and Horowitz have taken Jerry the Bear to participate in a business accelerator program called “Betaspring” in Rhode Island and plan clinical trials for the spring, Chung said.