Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Introducing the 2023 EPIC Equity Program Chairs


Meet the leaders working to advance equity and diversity through a new EPIC program!

In May 2023 we will welcome the first cohort of participants in our new program, Becoming EPIC: Building Equity. Initiated by the EPIC Equity Council, this program is being developed and chaired in 2023 by four leaders in our community: Eric Atkinson, Etienne Fang, Chelsea Mauldin, and María Vidart-Delgado. They are joined by the talented researcher and strategist ToTran Nguyen, who as Program Manager is central to moving this initiative forward. We’re so grateful for their leadership and expertise. We hope you’ll get to know them, learn more about the program, and make your own contribution to equity in our field.

eric atkinson Eric Atkinson (he/him) is a human-centered designer and researcher with 20+ years of experience creating digital products and services. Eric’s passion for equity began with leading inclusive design and accessibility at Virginia’s state government, delivering digital access to critical social services for millions of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. He currently serves as Director of User Experience at 10up, an agency that makes the web better for brands and content creators. Previously, Eric led teams in consulting, e-commerce, consumer electronics, healthcare, and technology. He’s passionate about helping companies accelerate innovation by leveraging inclusive teams to build design and research maturity. Outside of work, Eric consults with anti-racist organizations A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth and Black Star Rising. He serves on the board of Valley & Mountain, a Seattle, WA faith-based organization rooted in liberation theology. Eric studied Design at Hampton University, an HBCU, and Human-Computer Interaction at DePaul University.

What equity means to Eric:

“Equity in action looks like institutions, practices, services, experiences, and outcomes created and led by those most marginalized and negatively impacted by inequality.”

Etienne FangEtienne Fang is a human-centered research strategist passionate about inclusive product experiences for all. She started her journey to equity serving as a teacher in NYC’s public schools. Currently, Etienne is a principal research strategist at Amazon, focused on inclusive research in Alexa, and previously in the Shopping and Search organizations. Etienne led the Insights Platform team at Uber, has founded consumer strategy practices at Method Products, and led Innovation Design at The Clorox Company. Outside of work, Etienne serves as the DEI liaison on the national board of Playworks, interviews women around the world about ambition, and cheers on her greatest inspirations: her bilingual poet father poet and her basketball obsessed sons. Etienne is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Parsons School of Design.

What equity means to Etienne:

“Humanity-centered insights when used equitably inform experiences that create opportunities and access for underrepresented users.”

Chelsea MauldinChelsea Mauldin is a social scientist and designer with a focus on government innovation. She directs the Public Policy Lab, a nonprofit organization that designs better public policy with low-income and marginalized Americans. Chelsea is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs and a frequent keynote speaker and panelist. Previously, she consulted to municipal and federal agencies, directed a community-development organization, led government partnerships at a public-space advocacy nonprofit, and served as an editor for publishing, arts, and digital media organizations. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Economics.

What equity means to Chelsea:

“An equitable system is one that respects human value and dignity.”

Maria Vidart-DelgadoMaría Vidart-Delgado (she/her) is a mission-driven UX researcher who works untangling gnarly balls of yarn and making complex data systems more accessible and equitable. Trained as an anthropologist, Maria uses ethnographic theory and methods to understand how systems work and the impacts they have on people’s lives. Her interest in equity dates back to the beginning of her professional career in her native Colombia where she worked implementing cultural policies to promote “peaceful coexistence” and inclusion in a country ravaged by war. After getting her PhD in 2013, she has continued her interest in equity work and ethnographic research in a variety of settings. She has worked with artists to research and design equitable cultural policy in Boston; consulted for US government agencies designing digital systems that are accessible to the public; and currently works at Reddit conducting research to keep communities safe.

What equity means to María:

“Equity means centering the needs of the most vulnerable and who suffer the most harm when designing institutions, policies, or systems that mediate people’s access to resources.”

ToTran NguygenToTran Nguyen (she/her) has spent half her career in strategy and operations consulting and the other half in qualitative social science research, obtaining her MBA at the Darden School of Business and her PhD in Business Economics at KU Leuven. Her doctoral research examined how cross-sector collaboration and partnerships unfold and why initiatives may fall short of expectations despite stakeholders’ good intentions, investments, and best practices. Underpinning all her work is a keen interest in uncovering relational dynamics, deepening socio-cultural understanding, and navigating systemic issues, to move toward a more ethical and sustainable world. She is an advocate of bringing the human sciences and collaborative approaches to business decision-making and society’s ‘wicked problems’. The creative arts are her sources of inspiration and pleasure.

What equity means to ToTran:

“An equitable space is one where people can be seen and accepted on their own terms—not simply defined or judged by the norm/ideal—with the opportunities and support to fully participate and thrive.”

We’re proud to recognize more than 50 individual donors and our Equity Partners, Catalyst Constellations, Multilingual Connections and Generation Focus, who have contributed to the Equity Fund and made this work possible. If you would like to help make EPIC events and resources more accessible to all, please consider making a donation in any amount.