Equity in Design Mentorship

A 10-week academic and professional mentorship program for diverse Boston area high school students who are 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 Equity in Design Mentorship Program (EiD Mentorship) is a 10-week academic and professional mentorship program for Boston area high school students that aims to invite diverse and underrepresented voices to design. This program provides a comprehensive understanding of design and emphasizes the importance of including underrepresented voices while fostering collaboration across the design fields.  

This program, a partnership between Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) and the Boston design firm Perkins&Will, aims to promote a more inclusive design culture by linking high school participants with current GSD graduate students who provide academic design instruction and Perkins & Will designers who offer professional mentorship to both.  

The program aims to expand the ecosystem of engagement among designers by building these mentorship trios to extend support into participants’ future pursuits of design.  Successful participants receive an academic certificate.

Program Summary

  • 10 week program, alternating between virtual learning sessions and in person events in Boston area
  • Diverse high school students from Boston area
  • Instruction and mentorship by Harvard GSD students and Perkins&Will design professionals
EiD Mentorship

Who Attends

This program is for diverse 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.

Image of the program participants touring the Harvard Graduate School of Design's fabrication laboratory.  A 3D cast model is held up in front of the full group of students and mentors standing in the school.
Image of Mpho Matsipa presenting her work foregrounding black designers to the 2023 program online.


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.

Another image of the program participants touring the Harvard Graduate School of Design's fabrication laboratory.

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.

An image of the program touring the Boston office of the design firm, Perkins&Will.  One of the staff designers is presenting images of a recently-begun tower project in downtown Boston.
image that tiles the logos of the program partners together, Harvard GSD and Perkins&Will

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


Perkins&Will / Harvard GSD


Photo of a female looking at the camera and smiling

Megan Panzano

Senior Director of Early Design EducationLecturer in ArchitectureView Profile

Shaka Dendy

Program Coordinator, Early Design EducationView Profile
Headshot photograph of Brooke Trivas, Design Principal at Perkins&Will.

Brooke Trivas

Principal, K-12 Education

Perkins&Will, Boston

Rania Karamallah

GSD MUP 2023

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.

Eid 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 underrepresented 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

Equity in Design

Read more about the history of this program and its partnership between Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and the Boston office of Perkins&Will here

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