Ringling College 2022 Commencement Speaker, Jacinda Walker

Ringling College 2022 Commencement Speaker, Jacinda Walker

Ringling College of Art and Design is pleased to announce their in-person commencement ceremony, taking place on Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 3:30 pm (EDT) at the Bradenton Area Convention Center. 

The College is honored to announce our commencement speaker for this year, Jacinda Walker. 

Walker is renowned for her work in diversity, design research, and strategy. She has helped clients including Amazon, Target, Adobe, Kellogg, and others with their diversity recruiting strategies. She has led design thinking and community design education workshops for the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Boys and Girls Club, and numerous AIGA chapters. 

From 2016-2018, Walker served as the national chair of AIGA’s Diversity & Inclusion task force. She earned her A.A.B. and B.F.A. in graphic design from the University of Akron. In 2016, Walker obtained her M.F.A. in design research and development with a minor in nonprofit studies from The Ohio State University. Her thesis, Design Journeys: Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design Disciplines, has been widely hailed as a breakthrough work. This research explores diversity in design disciplines and investigates effective strategies to expose African-American and Latino youth to design careers. Walker is a strong advocate for young people and proudly mentors several design students on portfolio presentations, professional development, and career planning. Walker’s future goals are to help scale diversity in design education initiatives for corporations, school systems, educational organizations, and museums for underrepresented youth.

Currently, she is the founder and creative director of designExplorr, an organization that operates as a social impact to address the diversity gap within the design profession. DesignExplorr’s mission aims to design a diverse future by expanding access to design education for youth and raise awareness for corporate organizations. This work is done through collaborations that develop youth activities, coordinate diversity-building initiatives, and connect stakeholders to resources. The number one design goal is to empower today’s youth with real-world skills, connections, and opportunities so that tomorrow’s design profession has all the best people leading the way. Log onto designExplorr.com to learn more about the work in developing youth activities and establishing design education initiatives.

Walker was awarded an honorary doctorate from Ringling College of Art and Design. 

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