Three of the covers for the Making It Through Hive Instagram series.
Three of the covers for the Making It Through Hive Instagram series.

As we all made the move to locking down and practicing physical distancing, many of us were left feeling disconnected. The Hive started its #MakingItThrough series to highlight what Hivers are making to make it through this time. This can be something that we’re cooking, drawing, sewing, or singing! It can be anything. See our first three collections of the #MakingItThrough series below. We’ll continue posting collections of what people have been making to make it through this tumultuous time, so make sure to follow us on Instagram at @hive_5c. We hope that seeing these snapshots of how people are channeling their creativity will inspire and bring some cheer to your days!

On Tuesday, April 14th, 2020, The Hive hosted a virtual panel with three professionals who use Human-Centered Design in their work. The panel, titled Creative Careers in Design, was facilitated by our very own Director of Design & Creativity, Kareem Collie, and featured three friends of the Hive: Gail Gallaher, Victor Saad, and Timothy Moore. They discussed their varied experiences in the field of design, as well as some specific topics we asked them to discuss: what design looks for like them in these changing times, how they practice design outside of their work life, and how a student might approach a career in design. 

Read below for more information on the panelists!

Victor Saad, founder of the Experience Institute, got his start by designing his own Master’s by completing 12 projects in 12 months with organizations around the world. After completing his degree, he started an organization that helps students and professionals learn through experience. He now leads innovative education programs at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and companies around the world. His favorite place to be is on a bicycle. Once he learned about the Hive and connected with the team, he was hooked. He’s now a fan and friend.

Gail Gallaher (PO ’17) is a public educator dedicated to making education more empowering, equitable, and effective for all learners. While a student at Pomona, she was profoundly transformed by being part of the original Hive design team, serving on the Hive staff and Steering Committee, and taking the inaugural Human-Centered Design course. These experiences launched her toward her current role as a founding 10th grade Environmental Sustainability Science Advisor at Odyssey STEM Academy. Through her first years in the classroom, she has navigated the highs and lows of creative confidence on a steep learning curve, while also nurturing creative, collaborative, and resilient mindsets in the young people she works with.

Timothy O’Brien Moore works to uncover the hidden potential of people and their organizations by designing learning experiences that bring out behaviors of fearlessness, curiosity, and connectedness. He oversees all public-facing programming as an associate strategist at The Design Gym in New York City and is on the Teaching and Learning Studio teaching team at Stanford University’s Prior to working for The Design Gym, he practiced learning experience design at the Hive from 2016 to 2018. Initially brought onto the team as a post-baccalaureate associate, he later moved into a more focused role, where he took the lead in evolving the Hive’s curriculum and teaching human-centered design. 

By Reina Hernandez


Curious about the people and projects you might find at the Hive? In the spring 2018 semester, our Storytelling Team started a multimedia project called Voices of the Hive. Inspired by the colorful moments we share with people who come to the Hive, this project offers glimpses into the voices, creations, and experiences that shape and are shaped in this space.

For our first avenue of explorative storytelling, Voices of the Hive takes the form of a mini-podcast series (see our first episode below). Tune into these brief podcasts, to be released every Friday this month (November 2018), to hear about the meaning and creations of the Hive community, from faculty to students.



The Story Behind Voices of the Hive:

When we, the Storytelling Team at the Hive, first thought of this project, it was supposed to be a short article for this blog. Podcasts, videos, visual essays, and other means of storytelling weren’t originally part of the picture. Voices of the Hive started off as a blog post driven by this idea of highlighting Hive happenings in the fall semester to inspire more shared experiences with the fresh start of the spring semester. In our initial stages of writing the post, the Storytelling Team asked the rest of the Hive staff a question: What was your favorite Fall 2017 moment at the Hive?

This question brought out a variety of funny, heartwarming, memorable, and downright cool moments. As these mini-interviews came along, I was inspired by what people shared. Each shared memory was so different from the other, yet connected by the space the Hive creates for The Claremont Colleges community and beyond. By the end of the interviewing stage, we had a collection of glimpses into the experiences people have at the Hive, or because of the Hive. Some of my personal favorites are when Rhiannon (SC ‘20) roller-skated around the Hive and befriended a visiting young girl, and when Maya (PO ‘18) taught a creative coding workshop that got her friend to fall in love with computer coding. Another favorite is the time Linda (Operations Czar and Hive Historian) participated in a meditative practice in the Vault led by Shaheen Plunier (CGU, Drucker School of Management, who is trained in meditation practice), or when Akotowaa (PO ‘20) attended a deeply moving event from Pomona College’s Know Your History Event Series surrounding being immigrants in the US.


Call it emotional attachment to my work, but I felt that simply writing a story about these people’s favorite moments wouldn’t capture or do justice to the magic of the moment. A blog post as the medium to share these experiences didn’t seem to reflect the multifaceted nature of these stories and personalities. These brief vignettes alone have a complexity to them, an entire experience that cannot be simplified to just a few sentences.

What did feel right, however, was to highlight these experiences in the way they were shared with me. In this case, it was through oral storytelling –their voices. DD (PO ‘18), one of our team members, proposed the idea of making a podcast, and boom! The idea of Voices of the Hive as a mini-podcast series emerged.

As we grew more excited for this project, we saw this story’s potential to go beyond the Hive staff, as many more perspectives exist at the Hive. A variety of workshops take place in this space, classes are held here, and many students love to create and hang out. Why not ask them about their favorite memories and offer a platform to share their thoughts and creative processes, as well?




What Voices of the Hive was becoming felt like an interesting way to personalize the Hive and show what opportunities exist here (i.e., the opportunity of taking a class at the Hive). It also allows those who use the space for exploring creative ways of doing, learning, and teaching classes to tell their story about why they use the Hive.

Voices of the Hive, like many things at the Hive, is a prototype. It has potential as an easy and accessible storytelling tool for Hive users. This prototype has room for further development in different directions, experimentation, and possible failure. Permission to fail allows the project to take risks and hopefully grow into an exploration. Part of this exploration can manifest itself in trying out storytelling in different mediums (visual essays, photos, installations, and other ways of storytelling). Hopefully, this will reflect the prototyping and supportive culture of the Hive.

We hope to reflect different possibilities through these mediums, and to show that we too are susceptible to failure when exploring, and that can many times be a good thing.

Listen to the first episode of our podcast here with Professor Sharon Stranford (Pomona Biology). Check back each Friday this month for new episodes!


By Laura Zhang and Shannon Randolph


Do you ever wonder how human-centered design (HCD) might be applied in the world? This summer, the Hive went abroad to Vietnam to pilot a Hive and EnviroLab Asia design research and internship program. A team of three students -Laura Zhang (PO ’19), Lena Tran (PI ’18), and Kim Ha (PI ’18) – and the Hive’s Director of Community and Global Engagement applied HCD to reframe an environmental-health issue and test out behavior change campaigns for bear bile reduction. Read more below and watch our homemade video about the process here!

The plan was to continue the last project Shannon had been working on with her postdoc at the San Diego Zoo and the animal welfare organization, Animals Asia (AA). AA focuses on on shifting consumer demand away from bear bile and ending the inhumane farming of moon bear bile. With support from EnviroLab Asia, the Pomona College Dean’s Office International Initiatives, and the Pomona College Internship funds, in June 2018, our team set off for Hanoi, Vietnam!

The primary reason that moon bears are captured from the wild and kept in small cages on bear farms is for their bile. Bear farmers extract the bile from the bears’ gallbladders (a painful process). They later sell the bile to people who use bear bile as traditional medicine to treat inflammation and liver and gall bladder conditions. There are now many readily available herbal and synthetic alternatives with the same medicinal properties. While it is currently illegal to extract bear bile in Vietnam, it is not illegal to keep the bears in captivity in small metal cages. Bears can only be rescued if the bear farmers voluntarily give up the bears or they are caught in the act of bile extraction (which rarely ever happens).

One way that AA has tried to advance the rescue of these bears is through their Health Day interventions. These interventions are targeted toward the villages around Hanoi that still keep bears and have residents who use bear bile. At these Health Days, AA brings in official traditional medical practitioners (TMPs) from the Hanoi Traditional Medicine Association (TMA). The TMPs offer free walk-in consultations to any residents in the village and prescribe herbal alternative medicines for conditions that patients may use bear bile to treat. Patients are educated about different herbal plants that they can grow in their garden, and they are given a small bottle of an herbal alternative medicine to bear bile.

AA’s hope is that through these Health Days, people will find replacements for bear bile or other animal-sourced products to maintain their health and stop using bear bile altogether. This would reduce the demand for bear bile, and hopefully make bear farmers more willing to give the bears up. Once rescued, the bears live out the rest of their lives in AA’s beautiful Tam Dao sanctuary, where they are cared for by an amazing international veterinary and caretaking team.

As conservation is a slow progressing field, we knew we couldn’t help AA solve the problem in just one month. Our goal was to implement the HCD process and identify key ways that the Health Day interventions were working or not and where AA needed to focus their outreach efforts with target populations in the community.


How does HCD fit into this?


 We used HCD combined with additional social science methods (surveying and rapid ethnographic qualitative analysis) as our approach to assess this issue and identify points of intervention. HCD is a framework for creative thinking and out-of-the-box problem solving. HCD has five stages: empathy, define, ideate, prototype, and test. In the empathy stage, we conducted surveys and interviews with our target population to engage them and understand their deeper motivations for preferring bear bile among other medical choices. Using this quantitative and qualitative data, we drew insights that helped us define (or reframe) personas for our target audiences (also called users) and unexpected insights about user needs around which to frame this behavior change campaign. In the ideation stage, we used structured prompts, such as “How might we … (make herbal alternatives more accessible)?”, to brainstorm as many realistic or unrealistic ideas (100+) as possible. Then, with AA staff input, we selected the ones we thought were most feasible, most exciting, and most groundbreaking human-centered strategies to reduce bear bile demand to prototype. In the prototyping stage, we used very basic materials (post-its, cardboard, colored paper, simulations) to create prototyped experiences of our ideas, and then tested these prototyped experiences with original users to gain their candid feedback. Based on their candid feedback, we could determine whether our idea was something that our users would actually use, or whether the prototype needed more modifications or needed to be scrapped completely. In the times where our ideas were completely off, we needed to go back to the define stage, and reassess our user and our framing of their need-insight statement.

This process encourages one to fail early, and to keep the human aspect of problem-solving in the forefront – hence the name, “human-centered.” No matter what solution you personally think will work best, if the user doesn’t use it, then it doesn’t work. AA found this process to fit very well with their environmental non-profit work. In these spheres, trying to convince people to change something familiar to something unfamiliar is often the goal. In the conservation realm, solutions – or behavior change approaches – are also often presented from culturally-skewed perspectives. Without gaining a deep sense of empathy and understanding of the target audiences’ needs, organizations’ work can regress rather than move forward. However, a behavior change idea that fits the daily routines and implicit needs of the target audience (illuminated through in-depth observation and interviews) is much more likely to lead to a successful behavior change solution or campaign strategy.


Sample results from Design Process


Through the HCD process, we identified three key personas to engage, who were influential and had extreme (i.e. amplified) experiences and opinions about health decision-making regarding bear bile. These were: “respected male elder,” “granny,” and “reputable traditional medical doctors.” One example persona from our work – the “respected male elder” – was a respected patriarch of the family, who had suffered from long-term health issues without resolve and would only accept advice from a man of similar status (doctor or peer of same age group). He felt the need to maintain a masculine front in order to save face. He often reported being in fairly good health, but from time to time, would open up about his health accomplishments (e.g. overcoming a condition, regaining strength). These victory stories played a huge role in influencing how his peers – especially his male peers of the same status and age – perceived him. His stories informed how other men make their own health decisions.

Because his reputation of being a strong leader was very important to him, he didn’t want to waste time using medication that appeared mediocre, weak, or gentle. Herbal medicine was often perceived as gentle, weak, or slow to affect change, whereas bear bile and pharmaceutical medicine were viewed as strong and fast-acting. Thus, men who had had experiences using herbal medicine long-term and seeing lasting effects could speak to this being gentle in an effective, long-lasting way. They had shifted their opinions through personal experience about the necessity to have fast-acting, strong medicine, to desiring slower-acting but effective medicine.

Our prototype intervention idea was to identify and support respected men in the community who are already sharing health advice with one another to share their stories more widely, either through personal gatherings or through radio shows for men. AA could build upon this system of social hierarchy to identify reputable men in the community who want to grow their social capital by helping disseminate health knowledge.


Reflection on the process


AA found the HCD process, paired with evaluation surveys, quite useful for finding nuanced approaches to engage target audiences in the community. We were surprised to discover that the most important tools for shifting behavior already existed within the social fabric of the communities we engaged, in both the rural far North and in the peri-urban North around Hanoi. Older, high status men and women engage in their gendered, age-stratified groups in particular ways, sharing and exchanging health insights and knowledge. A conservation organization, such as AA, can amplify and support these existing messaging pathways or create similar ways of passing along health knowledge to more effectively achieve their desired conservation outcomes.

Contact Laura ( and Shannon ( if you want to learn more about these kinds of opportunities.