CSDS serves as a physical and virtual hub for Pratt’s commitment to educate environmentally responsible citizens. CSDS encourages the use of Pratt’s campus as a living laboratory linking the classroom to campus initiatives. The CSDS houses a materials research center that supports faculty, students and alumni in the integration of sustainability into their professional lives. CSDS is also the home of the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation founded in 2002.
Who We Are
Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Design Studies
Debera Johnson is Academic Director of Sustainability for Pratt Institute. She founded the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation in 2002 during her tenure as chair of the industrial design program. Under her leadership the Incubator has helped launch 25 design-driven enterprises in four sectors: clean energy, fashion, design, and design consulting. The Incubator provides affordable space, mentorship, and strategic business development within a collaborative community of entrepreneurs. Currently the Incubator hosts 12 businesses and has just opened the Pratt Pop-up! shop in the new Dekalb Market in Brooklyn.
Debera also leads Pratt’s commitment to integrate sustainability into academics in her role as Academic Director of the Center for Sustainable Design Studies. She also coordinates the groundbreaking Partnership for Academic Leadership in Sustainability, a cohort of educators that represent 33 independent art and design colleges across North America. PALS fellows are actively collaborating to advance sustainability in art and design education by creating events, exhibits, and processes that share and leverage their collective resources.
Assistant Director, Center for Sustainable Design Studies
Growing up in New Hampshire, Carolyn dreamed of becoming a ballerina. Twenty years later, she hung up her pointe shoes and picked up a power drill. After receiving her Engineering degree from Smith College she went on to work for DEKA, developer of the Segway, where she worked on a high tech water purification system. While working at DEKA, she realized that she was more fascinated with how people interacted with the technologies being developed rather than the technologies themselves.
Carolyn received her Masters of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. Her thesis, entitled “Beyond the Tap”, explored how improved water is managed in the developing world. She has taught in the Industrial Design department at Pratt. Since 2009, she has worked to develop the CSDS Resource Center on Pratt’s Brooklyn campus, acted as project manager for a number of CSDS Industry and Research projects, coordinates the annual Sustainability Crash Course and runs the CSDS internship Program.