Natacha Poggio is a social impact design strategist, educator and passionate advocate of design for social change. She frequently lectures at national and international conferences on the value of design in addressing social challenges. Natacha is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Houston Downtown, located in Houston, Texas. Previously, she taught at Lamar University (Beaumont, TX) and also taught Visual Communication Design at the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, in Connecticut, United States.
In her teaching and research, Natacha explores how to contribute solutions to humanitarian issues of critical urgency. With over twenty years of professional design experience, Natacha brings a human-centered approach to her work with partnerships in the social sector, focusing on design solutions to address problems in health, sanitation, sustainability, and social justice within local and international communities. The academic projects Natacha undertakes educate design students on the impact and importance of their work —bridging worlds, whether locally or internationally— so that the interfaces, products and environments they create meet the needs of the greatest number of users.
In 2008, Natacha founded Design Global Change [DGC], a creative collaborative of students and emerging professionals that contribute innovative solutions to social issues. Through this work, Natacha has spearheaded initiatives in collaboration with international healthcare organizations (such as Unite for Sight and LIMBS International). In Connecticut, Natacha coordinated the creation of two nonviolence murals in the city of Hartford, commissioned by the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence. Natacha is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Sappi Ideas that Matter award; first in 2010, she received a $5,000 grant to implement Bringing Girls into Focus (a gender equality campaign in India); and in 2014, she was awarded $23,350 for the Prosthetics Training Across Borders collaboration with University of Hartford’s physical therapists (to developed visual materials so they can effectively educate their amputee patients the rehabilitation protocols to regain mobility).
Natacha has also left her permanent mark in downtown Hartford; in 2014 she was one of sixteen artists selected by the City of Hartford’s Livable, Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative (LSNI) and the Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs Division (MECA) to participate in the first “Outside the Box“ program, turning vandalized utility boxes into public art in one of the city’s most bustling neighborhoods.
Since 2011, Natacha has been part of the Winterhouse Institute‘s Founders’ Circle for its Symposium on Design Education and Social Change, a collaborative network of 30+ leading thinkers and practitioners in design, architecture, industrial design, and engineering who address issues central to promoting social innovation.
Natacha Poggio holds a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Experience Design from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Graphic Design from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Natacha was born in Argentina, is a bilingual speaker of Spanish and English, has traveled 25+ countries and has been a contributing member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) since 2007. At the local level, she currently serves in the AIGA Houston Board as Associate Director of Design Advocacy and at the national level, she contributes to the Design Educators Community Steering Committee (AIGA DEC) since 2017.
Specialties » social impact design, social innovation, graphic design, sustainability, experience design, universal design, community-driven design, humanitarian design, global healthcare communication, service design, user experience, accessibility, interaction design, information design, usability, service-learning