2023 Rising Star: Malaika Carpenter

Design supervisor for the United States Digital Corps, General Services Administration

Courtesy: GSA

Malaika Carpenter works as a design supervisor for the U.S. Digital Corps, an early career fellowship program within the General Services Administration.

Having already worked in industry for years, Carpenter first learned about the role of user experience designers in government via her time at 18F, where she worked with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division on their digital innovation. 

During that time, Carpenter says that “I found that I was often mentoring and coaching many of the lawyers and staff that would be creating this content and was already creating this content.”

“I started to realize that this is a direction that I want to continue in in my career,” she told Nextgov/FCW. “Coaching, mentoring, training and advising people and helping them to be not only stronger communicators, more empathetic communicators, but also to really understand the importance of design thinking in all of their work.”

Since joining the U.S. Digital Corps last fall to supervise the learning and development curriculum both across the fellows at large and for her design track fellows specifically — as well as providing them with mentorship — Carpenter has pursued just that.

Carpenter says that she uses her design background to understand the needs of the fellows and create a structure to meet those needs, even co-designing training with fellows themselves.

“Something that was so impressive about Malika to me, as one of her supervisees, [is] how much she cared about her work and the people around her,” said Nolan Harrington, one of her mentees and a product designer in the Digital Corps.  

“It's definitely one of those places where you feel like you can bring your whole self to work,” he continued. “And that's what has made this whole experience so amazing.”

As for Carpenter, she said she is “most proud of seeing my design fellows win… [by] demonstrating their talents.”

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