Megan Schmidgal was appointed Director of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design in January 2011. In this role, Megan manages communications for PennDesign, working in close collaboration with Dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor, departmental Chairman, the School's program and center directors, and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
Her duties include planning, developing, and implementation of marketing, advertising, and communication strategies to promote faculty research and publications, student projects, development and alumni activities and school initiatives, including viaPublications; overseeing web content for www.design.upenn.edu and affiliate sites; managing PennDesign social media outlets; and coordinating the School's lecture series, which features a range of award-winning architects, urban planners, theorists, designers and artists including Kengo Kuma, Stefan Sagmeister, Bill Moggridge, Karim Rashid, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Rahul Mehrotra, Teddy Cruz and Theaster Gates and symposia including Making Space.
Megan also serves as communications strategist and board liaison for Slought, a small Philadelphia-based institution whose programs focus on histories of cultural experimentation and political advocacy and on the creation of social practice, one that is positioned in relation to the changing status of public culture and the public sphere. Megan recently worked with the Slought staff and advisory board to develop a new identity and communications platform to articulate and make legible the organization's modes of activity and perform its mission beyond the individual projects, including Architecture on Display, a two-part research initiative and publication series exploring architecture's vexed relationship with its publics.
As a Slought Curatorial and Research Fellow 2008-2010, Megan supported funding and communication aspects of projects such as the Perpetual Peace Project, an initiative with the European Union National Institutes of Culture in partnership with the United Nations University; and Into the Open the 2008 United States representation at La Biennale di Venezia, and later at the National Constitution Center and Parsons The New School for Design, which highlighted practices evidencing a renewed spirit of community activism and inclusiveness across the country, among others.
Megan is interested in big think, or how to draw ideas from fields outside your own that may be applied toward larger questions and challenges. She completed a Master of Science at the University of Pennsylvania in Organizational Dynamics and her B.A. in English and Communications from Grove City College.
Prior to joining PennDesign, Megan worked with the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, a $14 million, statewide consortium of eighteen, university-based centers that provides management consulting and education to 35,000 entrepreneurs annually. Joining as marketing coordinator in 2005, Megan supported ways to develop and strengthen relationships with policy makers and agencies at the local and national level, managing all aspects of the strategic marketing and communications activities, including web and image development, media relations, branding, events, internal communications, and print production.
Prior to moving to Philadelphia, Megan managed communications for the community development organization Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. and was a project manager at a design firm in Pittsburgh.