New IDer: Marilee Bowles Carey

by New Idiom


Marilee is a first year MDes/MBA, first-semester new IDer that you might have seen running around these walls. I managed to stop her for a few minutes to tell us a little about herself.

Please quickly introduce yourself in a quick sentence.

I live in Evanston, I was born in Detroit the year before JFK was elected president, my major was graphic design, I went to the University of Michigan, and I graduated the year Ronald Reagan became president.


Yes, for ten years. My husband owns an unusually creative construction company located in West Town. He works in the Gold Coast, Hyde Park, Wicker Park, Bucktown and the north shore.


Yes, two from a previous marriage, both in college. I love having almost-adult children.


I am the only Republican in Evanston who does not reside in an assisted living facility. You should know that my husband comes from a loooooong line of Massachusetts Democrats.


Roman Catholic. I’m probably more active in my faith community than most people here. My husband and I worship at the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University. It is an amazing place of great spirituality and intellectual curiosity.

How did you end up at ID? What were your motivations for coming? Where were you before?

I was a design manager at Scott Foresman, an educational publishing company owned by Pearson PLC. I led the design effort on the core product development team for preK-6 reading curriculum.

I knew about ID because I had spent a lot of time looking around for resources to mentor junior colleagues. I am lucky that I have been able to do work that is personally meaningful and socially valuable. I felt it was time to acquire new skills to help me do that at a higher level. I just knew the dual program would be the right thing.

What are your first impressions about ID?

Open. Smart. Challenging. Wonderfully diverse. Energetic. Imaginative. A true creative community.

What do you think you could bring to the people here at ID? (culturally, socially, etc.)

If someone wants to know about hot rod culture in L.A. during the 80s, I’m your man, metaphorically speaking.

Is there anything from your home that you think people should not miss?

The Evanston 4th of July parade. Seriously. It IS Evanston.

Which designers/thinkers have impressed you the most lately or you are following now?

The mid-century modern titans.
I love Corbu’s Modulor.
Bruce Mau. John Maeda.
Richard P. Feynman, one of the physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project and went on to win the Nobel prize in 1965. Someone should make a movie of his life. His hobby was safecracking.

Tell us quickly about a project that you’re working on now that you’re really excited about.

The Grand Rapids Public Schools project, for the Strategic Design Research Workshop. It combines a context I have professional knowledge of—public education—with two activities that are very important to me—learning new ways to understand the world, and making positive change.

What are the websites you could not live without?,, google.

What kinds of activities are you planning to do in your free time (in case you have any) while at ID?

Are you kidding?