Mallory Barkocy is passionate about using design to help solve social problems.
Mallory discovered design through her passion for helping others. Her design philosophy is: "The work that I'm doing doesn't matter to me as much as the question, 'How will this benefit someone else?'" Mallory has known for a long time that she wanted to make a positive impact on society. She realized this during a trip to South Africa where she met people whose lives had been directly affected by apartheid. The people she met were in poverty because they had been forced by the previous government to move to the middle of nowhere. They had no jobs, no electricity, no shoes. Mallory was so frustrated seeing their quality of life. Her 15 year old brain thought, "There has to be a better way. What if someone could enable these people to make shoes out of local materials? That could create jobs and provide shoes." She learned in the following years that the situation was much more complicated, but her passion for using her brain to help others has remained the same.
Mallory came to DAAP in 2012 with a desire to help the world, but quickly realized she couldn't help anyone if she didn't have the skills. She spent the next few years learning about design thinking, the value of empathy in problem solving, and how to clearly communicate an idea. In 2014, her friend told her about Design for America (DFA), a national student organization focused on design innovation for social impact. Her friend wanted to start a DFA chapter at UC, and Mallory plunged in to help. DFA was perfect for Mallory—helping a friend start an organization that teaches students how to work together to solve social problems. Mallory was president of UC's Design for America chapter for two years. It taught her a lot about the value of working with people who are different than her, and helped shape her as a leader and speaker.
While DFA fueled her passion for helping people, her school and co-op experiences helped to build her skill set and uncover other passions. Mallory worked at Fossil designing watches for Michael Kors, at Frontgate designing furniture and home goods, at Bose working in color material finish design, and back at Fossil once again designing for their women's leathers team. For her last co-op, Mallory traveled to India to learn more about a company called Freeset, a fair-trade bag and apparel company that offers alternate employment to women in the red light district in Kolkata. For her senior capstone project, Mallory is designing bags for Freeset. After graduation, Mallory is looking for a job in Cincinnati that can continue to fuel her passion for helping others and learning new skills.