Meet Team DesignX

We take great pride in our teachers and assistants that love to share their creativity and enthusiasm with the younger generation

 
 durga kalavagunta, designx, los altos, silicon valley, design thinking program

Durga Kalavagunta

Founder, Director

+ Who inspires you?

Many people and events from all walks of life inspire me and the quaility that inspires me the most is 'authenticity.' Its no surprise that this is what we attempt at bringing out in our students through their designs.

 nicole ruccolo, marketing, dx, los altos

Nicole Ruccolo

Marketing Director

+ What is your professional background?

After college, I worked in merchandising in NYC for brands like French Connection, Max Studio and David Bitton. I later became a Merchandise Manager at Bloomingdales. I moved to marketing after relocating to the Bay Area and earning my MBA. Working in the fashion industry has made me keen in understanding consumer needs and how they liked to be marketed too!

+ What is your favorite part about the DesignX programs?

The programs really let kids explore and embrace each step of the design thinking process.

+ Who inspires you?

My 10 year old niece, Lauren, inspires me. Spending 15 minutes with her can remove any creativity block.

 
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Paul Gallo

Fashion Illustration Instructor

   Alycia Perris  , desingx, los altos, fashion design

Alycia Perris

Fashion Design I Instructor

+ Where are you from?

I was born and raised in the bay area where I attended schools in Los Altos. I am very much a local.

+ What is your favorite item to design with the kids?

This will be my 7th year teaching this camp and I truly love helping the kids come up with their skirt design, and then turn that into a reality.

+ What is your professional background?

I have an AA in child development, a bachelor's in psychology and a minor in education. I love teaching and have always had a passion for design, art, sewing, and ceramics.

  Whitney bulmer, fashion design instructor, designx, los altos

Whitney Bulmer

Fashion Design II Instructor

+ How did you first fall in love with design?

When I was six, I found my love for design when my Dad helped me sew together a tutu so that I could dance around the house and pretend to be a princess.

+ What inspires you?

I get my inspiration mostly from my dreams which is also how I empower my students.

+ Why choose DesignX?

Anything you want to make is possible. DesignX is an amazing program because it lets kids have the freedom to create, make choices and work with others.

 designx, los altos, design thinking program

Julia Lichtenstein

Fashion Illustration Instructor

+ How did you first fall in love with design?

Creativity to me is being able to express ideas you have within yourself. I first fell in love with design when I started attending a sewing camp in 2nd grade and have been sewing and designing every since.

+ Where are you from?

I grew up in Eugene Oregon and moved to New York City to go to Fashion Design school.

+ What is your professional background?

After spending 16 years in NYC designing for some well known fashion companies and everything from women's couture to activewear to menswear, I made my way back to the west coast. Most recently I designed pet accessories and toys!

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Bethani Semple

Fashion Design III and Prototyping Instructor

+ What is your favorite part about the DesignX programs?

I love that at DesignX we are teaching students creative project management skills. Over the course of one week, we work with students to complete all the steps of a project; from brainstorming an original design to a completed product.

+ How do you empower the students?

I empower students by helping them complete a project on their own. I teach them how to design and sew their own projects, and if they run into a problem, I brainstorm ways to fix it with them. The projects are truly student designed and made. At the end of the week they can proudly say, "I made this myself."

+ What is your professional background?

During the school year, I am a teacher for the Los Altos School District. This will be my 5th summer teaching at DesignX. I have been sewing and crafting since elementary school, and in high school I made prom outfits for me and my friends. I also enjoy quilting and making costumes. My favorite projects are the ones where I need to use creativity to solve a design challenge.

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Atreyee Ghosh

Toy Design I Instructor

+ Where are you from?

I grew up in India and moved to the Bay Area in 2012 and currently reside in San Mateo.

+ How do you empower the students?

I empower students by helping them complete a project on their own. I teach them how to design and sew their own projects, and if they run into a problem, I brainstorm ways to fix it with them. The projects are truly student designed and made. At the end of the week they can proudly say, "I made this myself."

+ What is your professional background?

I am a designer, creative writer and art teacher, with strong roots in handmade art. I have a Master’s Degree in Critical, Conceptual and Curatorial Practices in Architecture from Columbia University in New York. I have taught children of all ages and abilities in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose and Campbell since 2015.