2017 Design Competition

National High School Design Competition Judges and Winner

The 2017 Design Challenge

What would you design to improve a community’s access to healthy, fresh foods?

Nearly 30 million Americans nationwide are affected by the lack of access to affordable, fresh foods.* Problems with the availability of food are not specific to one group; they occur in both rural and urban communities and pose challenges to people of all ages, races, and household structures. Unavailability can be physical or economic, and is unique to each community, while potential solutions can benefit farmers, families, and local economies alike.

Cooper Hewitt’s second annual National High School Design Competition: Good For All challenged students to be inspired by the exhibition By the People: Designing a Better America, and be ambitious, innovative, and bold in their design ideas.

*According to a 2012 USDA report

The Selection Process

In Stage One, designs could take many forms: a product, a campaign, a space, an experience, or even a system. Students submitted a sketch of their idea and described how the design addressed the challenge. Cooper Hewitt selected three finalists to proceed to Stage Two of the Design Competition through an anonymous judging based on the criteria of innovation, impact, and relevance.

During Stage Two, the three finalists furthered their designs using the Stage Two Brief document, and participated in a mentor phone call during April 2017 for initial feedback. Finalists then traveled to Boston to attend a Mentor Day on May 13, 2017, where they took a deeper dive into the design process, learned more about solving global challenges, explored innovations in food systems, and worked on their presentations for Judging Day. Finalists traveled to New York City to present their designs in person to the judges on June 4, 2017.

Competition Teacher Resources

Interested in using the 2017 challenge in your classroom? Explore these resources:

Design skills aren’t just for designers! To find new ways to incorporate design into your classroom, visit our free online Educator Resource Center (ERC). The ERC hosts over 400 design-based lesson plans written by teachers like you.

Get Information on the current Design Competition here!

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The 2017 Judges

A diverse panel of creative experts met with the finalists in New York City to review and discuss their designs, and select the winner on June 4, 2017.

2017 judges were:

  • Caroline Baumann, Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Katherine Darnstadt, Founder and Principal Architect, Latent Design
  • Siggi Hilmarsson, Founder, siggi’s yogurt
  • Sam Kass, Founder, TROVE; Partner, Acre Venture Partners
  • Jason Mayden, Founder and CEO, Super Heroic; Designer and Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Accel Partners
  • Martha Stewart, Founder, Martha Stewart Omnimedia
  • Todd Waterbury, Chief Creative Officer, Target
  • Alice Waters, Founder and Owner, Chez Panisse; Founder, Edible Schoolyard Project

The 2017 Mentors


The finalists attended Mentor Day at the studio of National Design Award Winner Design that Matters. 2017 mentors were:

  • Timothy Prestero, Founder and CEO, Design that Matters
  • Hildreth England, Assistant Director, Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab

The 2017 Competition Winner

Congratulations to Tova Kleiner for being named the winner of the 2017 National High School Design Competition!

The winning design was featured at Cooper Hewitt during National Design Week (October 14–22, 2017), and at Target stores in New York City. The winner had the opportunity to learn more about design through inspiring mentoring opportunities:

  • Trip to New York City during National Design Week to attend Cooper Hewitt’s Teen Design Fair.
  • Trip to visit Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis in summer 2017.

The 2017 Finalists

The finalists were announced online on April 7, 2017. The finalists are: Anne Jang, of Irvine, California; Tova Kleiner, of New York City; and Rostam Reifschneider, of Rancho Santa Fe, California. Congratulations!