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Participatory Design & Research

Spring 2019


  • Eric Gordon, Faculty
  • Melissa Teng, Faculty
  • Aidan Watt, Student
  • Alex Wizenread, Student
  • Audrey Santos, Student
  • Bella Bennet, Student
  • Cameron Morin, Student
  • Charlie Sirmaian, Student
  • Daniel Flanagan, Student
  • Daniella Roberg, Student
  • Danielle Zarachowicz, Student
  • Emma Giulianti, Student
  • Kassiani Mamalakis, Student
  • Katie Schmidt, Student
  • Lucas Ahn, Student
  • Mark Perry, Student
  • Melody Hsu, Student
  • Rebecca Bass, Student

Class Sponsor

Boston Office of Returning Citizens


Media Design



People released from prison often face obstacle after obstacle when trying to secure basic necessities like housing, employment, and healthcare. Employment, in particular, is challenging because formerly incarcerated folks must deal with stigmas and fears held by potential employers and community members. Don’t Overlook Me is a media toolkit created by Emerson College students in collaboration with the City of Boston’s Office for Returning Citizens and the Engagement Lab at Emerson College.

Social Impact

Through human-centered research, storytelling, design, and facilitated activities, this project aims to reimagine the resume as an opportunity to empower and humanize returning citizens. Led by professors Eric Gordon and Melissa Teng, students in the Participatory Research & Design course worked in teams to develop a design book, a three minute documentary, a media toolkit and campaign, a resume building workshop, and a facilitator’s guide. We hope this toolkit contributes towards creating the second chance that returning citizens deserve.

Role of Technology + Media

Students were separated into four teams to accomplish specific design-related tasks. The research team conducted interviews, completed site observations and compiled their research into a design book, while the video production team created a three-minute framing video to raise awareness of the challenges returning citizens face when searching for jobs, as well as the work the Office of Returning Citizens is doing to facilitate this process. The Workshop Design team created an interactive workshop and facilitation guide built around four main activities to help returning citizens identify and present their skills. Finally, the Visual Design team produced a website to house all of the resources, as well as oversaw the project's visual identity.

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