Lisa Villamil joined the School of Media and Journalism in 2014. She teaches a broad range of visual communication and storytelling courses including UX design, data visualization, information graphics, social innovation and environmental storytelling. She is faculty adviser for Design for America, a national student idea incubator that teaches design thinking, collaboration, leadership and creativity.

Her creative scholarship explores the intersection of environmentalism, social sustainability and cultural identity in rural and Native American communities in Appalachia and the American Southeast. Major projects include Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Bright Spots and Disparities, a 13-state, multi-part research study for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Appalachian Regional Commission, the Ohio Water Project, a public clearinghouse for the Appalachian Ohio Valley, and UX and data product design for remote water quality monitoring technology being innovated by a team of environmental scientists and engineers. Currently, she is working with the Coharie Tribe of North Carolina helping to explore entrepreneurial possibilities for kayaking and recreation along the Great Coharie River.

Prior to joining UNC, she taught in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University and worked in the design industry in architecture, advertising, publications and product development for global brands and projects in the United States, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. She also served as a research editor for several years at Cannes Lions International Creativity Festival in Cannes, France.



  • M.A.E., Virginia Commonwealth University
  • B.A. and B.F.A., University of Missouri