Hello. I'm Rafe. My professional mission is to help people co-create the world in which they and others want to live. How? By helping create experiences and communities that foster moral courage, collaboration, design thinking, empathy, compassion, effectuation, creativity, abductive reasoning, kindness, humble iconoclasm, mindfulness, communication, self-care, relationship-building, introspection, reflexive thinking, and generosity -- all things I've been learning as well alongside the students, colleagues, and community partners with whom I'm grateful to work!
What are your responsibilities at the Keller Center?
I started as the founding Program Manager of the Tiger Challenge. I'm also a Lecturer, teaching some sections of ENT200-Creativity, Innovation, and Design.
What attracted you to the Keller Center?
When I graduated from Princeton in 2007, there were two classes on entrepreneurship, no supporting programs, and only 12 students in the E-Club. When I returned in 2015, I was impressed at the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, driven largely by the Keller Center and the E-Club! But there was just one class, and no programs or student groups, in design thinking in 2015. I was excited at the opportunity to help foster the growth of the design thinking ecosystem, alongside colleagues who had learned how to grow the entrepreneurial one.
What advice would you have for students about getting involved at the Keller Center?
Commit to the practice. Design thinking and entrepreneurship are both complex activities, which means they are best learned through experience. You could read every book there is on design or entrepreneurship, and talk to every great designer or entrepreneur who's ever lived, and you'd be only marginally more equipped to do either. To learn: you gotta do it, and then reflect on it, and do it again, and reflect on it again. Related advice: keep a journal.
How have you beneﬁted from your involvement with the Keller Center?
Keller Center and Princeton have revealed to me what I value most in my professional life: collaborative relationships of mutual learning, admiration, and impact. Since joining Keller, I've worked with over 200 students and over 100 partners from community and across the university. Far more important than the scale, however, is the depth of many of these relationships. There are so many people in my orbit here from whom I have learned, and for whom I have expansive admiration. I also learned that I derive a foundational kind of joy and self-worth from hearing that people I admire, and from whom I learn, also admire and learn from me. That we get to have these relationships in the context of trying to design more equitable and joyful communities makes it all the more fulfilling!
What will students be able to take away from your classes?
Students and partners should expect to develop more refined abilities to bring about the changes in the world and in themselves which they desire ... and to have a surprisingly large amount of fun doing so!