Newswise — Assistant Professor of Design Sara Hendren has been named a 2018 Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at New America. The New America Fellows Program supports thinkers—journalists, producers, practitioners, and scholars—whose work enhances the public conversation about the most pressing issues of our day.

As part of the fellowship Hendren will write a book about the unexpected places where disability is at the heart of design, to be published by Riverhead Books. Examining the origins and evolution of products, architecture, city planning, and beyond, Hendren will report on the always-adaptive human body where it meets the built environment and our collective global stakes in an inclusively designed future.

"New America is a unique place to think through the issues of my book. I'll be in the company of a dozen other thinkers on issues like criminal justice reform, refugee and immigration politics, the history of school desegregation, the women of ISIS, and more,” said Hendren. “I'm thrilled to have my subject of disability put into conversation with other urgent issues of both policy and culture."

The Fellows Program selected just 13 New America National Fellows out of more than 500 applications this year. Over the course of their fellowships, the participants will undertake projects in a wide range of policy areas, including military and veterans’ affairs, criminal justice reform, and school integration, among others.

Hendren is a designer- and researcher-in-residence at Olin College where she runs the Adaptation + Ability group, a lab for creative technology and the body; she also teaches human-centered design and disability studies for engineering students. Her work, which includes artifacts, graphics, and social design projects, has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States and abroad and is held in the permanent collection at MoMA (NYC). This year, Hendren is also the recipient of a Public Scholar grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The full roster of 2018 National Fellows can be found here.