Alumni Spotlight: Quizayra Gonzalez

Published on: November 21st, 2016


Quizayra Gonzalez graduated from the MA Design studies program in the spring of 2016, after completing her thesis “Bodegas: Praxis, Imagery, Concept,” which explores the material culture and networks that shape bodegas and, in turn, positions bodegas as critical forces in shaping neighborhoods. This fall, she joined Parsons Advising staff as a Graduate Student Advisor. Read about Quizayra’s new position, and where life has taken her in the short time since graduating, here:

What has life been like since graduating from MA Design Studies?

Life has been pretty interesting after graduation. I was awarded a curatorial fellowship with the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design in Asheville, North Carolina, and I’m designing an exhibition on the intersecting experiences of Indigenous and immigrant people in the U.S. alongside my co-curator Cass Gardiner. The exhibition opens in September 2017, so I’ve been pretty busy with studio visits and exhibition planning.

You are also working as a Graduate Student Advisor. How did you end up back at Parsons?

I saw a post for an open position and remember thinking, “I can totally do this.” I was very involved in different initiatives within Parsons and the New School during my studies, so I had the experience of working with students and peers at various levels. In particular, the opportunity I had working with the Sex-E Collective through the Wellness and Health Promotion division of Student Health Services at the New School gave me the tools to advocate and organize with fellow students. I’m sure these experiences will come in handy as an advisor.

What did you do before advising, and how has your background and education shaped the way you approach your professional life?

 Most of my employment history has been a mixture of art, design, and research. I’ve had the opportunity to work for small studios, museums, and tour companies that required a blend of traditional and more out-of-the-box research methods. Aside from that, the MA Design Studies program gave me an opportunity to consider design outside the confines of the studio. I practice this way of seeing in every project I am a part of. As an independent curator, I am constantly researching and making arguments for exhibition proposals that challenge audiences to consider a new perspective on old narratives.

How do you see yourself applying your knowledge of Design Studies to advising?

 Design Studies is one of the programs I advise so it helps to have a deeper understand of the curriculum. The program validated my thoughts about design and its role in education and social movements. It also helped me articulate these thoughts to the world. I have made connections with many students and professors throughout the New School, and these relationships have served as catalysts for future endeavors. I think The New School is an extraordinary place of possibilities and Design Studies gave me the freedom to explore them. I hope to my role as an advisor continues to encourage others to investigate new possibilities too.

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Program Contact

Caroline Dionne, Program Director

Program Update

Parsons is not currently admitting new students to this master’s degree program. Parsons is now offering a Graduate Minor in Design Studies that is designed to complement the MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies and other graduate programs across the university in design, liberal arts, and social research.