Black in Design Mentorship

A 10-week academic and professional mentorship program for Boston area Black high school students interested in design. In partnership with the Boston design firm Perkins&Will, this program links high school participants with current GSD students and a professional designer to support design education and to unfold possible career paths in design.


The Black in Design Mentorship Program (BiD Mentorship) is a 10 week academic and professional mentorship program that invites Boston area Black high school students to learn about what design involves and how guidance and collaboration are essential to the act of design.  This program, a partnership between Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) and the Boston design firm Perkins&Will, promotes greater representation of Black talent in the design fields by linking high school participants with current GSD graduate students who provide academic instruction and Perkins & Will designers who offer professional mentorship to both.  The program aims to expand the ecosystem of engagement among Black designers by building these mentorship trios to extend support into participants’ future pursuit of design, beyond the program. 

Successful participants receive an academic certificate and the opportunity to be considered for a set of design prizes for work produced over the course of assignments in the program.

Program Summary

  • 10 week program, alternating between virtual learning sessions and in person events in Boston area
  • Black high school students from Boston area
  • Instruction and mentorship by Harvard GSD students and Perkins&Will design professionals
Applications to join us for our spring 2023 Black in Design (BiD) Mentorship Program are now open! Apply here by December 15, 2022!
BiD Mentorship

Who Attends

This program is for Black sophomore to senior Boston area high school students interested in learning more about design and the processes of collaboration that produce the built environment.

Learning Format

This program uses a hybrid format for instruction and mentorship. Over the 10-week program, meeting sessions alternate between group synchronous meetings online with the mentees, GSD student and Perkins&Will mentors, and program faculty and in-person meetings to attend public events at either Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Gund Hall or Perkins&Will’s Boston office.


Group afternoon learning sessions and afternoon and evening program events occur weekly during this 10-week program. In addition to class meeting times, mentees schedule mentorship and work review sessions with GSD student and Perkins&Will mentors as schedules permit. Thoughtfully completing the assignments of the program also requires time outside of meetings with faculty and mentors as participants’ schedules permit.

Evaluation + Certificate

Evaluation of performance throughout the program is based on evidence of the participant’s consideration of assignments and meeting session discussions, their creativity and care with articulating their own observations in relation to design assignments, and the degree to which feedback provided is incorporated into the work in evolution. Successful participants will receive a program certificate, inclusion in press and presentations on the program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and Perkins&Will. All participants are eligible for consideration for a number of program prizes.

Tuition + Financial Aid

This program is free to participants each annual cycle. The program works with Boston area high schools on a rotating annual basis and hosts students from a school each year. If you’d like your school to be included in this program, please contact us at [email protected].

Program Partners

Harvard GSD

Harvard GSD

Harvard GSD

Harvard GSD / Perkins&Will



Photo of a female looking at the camera and smiling

Megan Panzano

Senior Director of Early Design EducationLecturer in ArchitectureView Profile

Headshot of an African American male looking at at the camera

Shaka Dendy

Program Coordinator, Early Design EducationView Profile

Tosin Odugbemi

GSD MArch I 2024

Rania Karamallah

GSD MUP 2023

Perkins&Will, Boston

Headshot photograph of Brooke Trivas, Design Principal at Perkins&Will.

Brooke Trivas

Principal, K-12 Education

Perkins&Will, Boston

Mirelle Botros

Perkins&Will, Boston

Contact Us

Please be in touch with us at [email protected] to share your interest in this program and request more information.

Bid press + social media

Black in Design Mentorship Program Engagement Ecosystem Diagram. Existing interest groups to multi-directional mentorship and relationship building to applied learning to career success.

I really believe in the importance of exposing Black youth to the planning and design fields so they know these fields exist, that planning and design careers are accessible to them, and that they have the power to shape the built environment of their communities.

Whytne Stevens, Harvard GSD student and organizing member of the mentorship program

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