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The Current Fellows

The 2017 Maharam STEAM Fellows are working in arenas not typically associated with art and design students and have the opportunity to effect real change in policy and practice in local and global organizations and communities. As part of the program, fellows blog about their experiences throughout the summer and make a final report to Maharam about what they discovered through their internships.
Lauren Campbell | Lowtech Magazine
MFA 2018 | Graphic Design
Lauren is a graphic designer passionate about the intersection of design, art and social change. Previously, she has worked with arts and community organizing nonprofits in the US and Chiapas, Mexico. Together with Marie Otsuka, she will be working with Lowtech Magazine to investigate alternatives to rapid technological advancements and how these may be implemented into public policy. Based out of the Netherlands and Spain, Lowtech Magazine questions the current role of technology and studies its social and environmental implications, drawing on historical and contemporary techniques and practices to propose solutions. She will work with Marie to synthesize the research as an accessible resource, resulting in a content-organization system, a new physical and digital publication platform, and an expanded audience for the magazine.
Sophie Chien | Providence City Hall
BArch 2020 | Architecture
Sophie is an intrinsically community driven person, exploring how to create “overlap” spaces where community can be created through architecture. She is interested in researching specific intersections of global policy, geography, ethnography and institutional equity in the context of civic design. Given the current political climate, Sophie believes there is an undeniably urgent need to strengthen trust in civic institutions by reaffirming the responsive and accessible capability of local government. This summer Sophie will be working in Providence City Hall, in the Mayor’s Center for City Services, to apply design thinking to the bureaucratic structure of municipal government. By infiltrating the “you gotta know a guy” culture and redefining internal silos, Sophie hopes to make city hall more approachable through data visualization and transparency.
Anne Keating | FABSCRAP
BFA 2017 | Textiles

A lover of strange materials and complex structures, Annie is working to complete her BFA in Textile art and design.  Her practice is informed by an acute awareness of the environmental and humanitarian issues that exist within the current system of textile production.  She believes that designers are responsible for taking an active role in re-envisioning the ways we make and dispose of our clothing.  After working last summer for a small run knitwear manufacturing facility focused on supporting sustainable and ethical apparel design, Annie received unique insight into the many barriers that face the industry in becoming more ecological and socially responsible.  This summer, she will partner with FABSCRAP, a nonprofit in New York City working to reuse and recycle pre-consumer textile waste.  Annie is excited to be a part of this emerging industry, and is looking forward to better understanding the ways that nonprofits can not only increase awareness by educating designers and citizens, but also take an active role in shifting systems of waste.  She is looking forward to researching new technologies in fiber engineering and recycling as well as connecting with designers and students with the shared goal of building a more responsive and responsible industry.  Annie enjoys dresses with pockets, likes knitting tiny turtles for her friends and loves hearing passionate people talk about their work.

Molly Millette | Age Friendly DC, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services
BFA 2018 | Industrial Design
As a student of Industrial Design concentrating in Global Processes, Molly is excited by participatory design and design’s place in public policy. As a RISD Maharam Fellow this summer, Molly will travel to Washington DC to work with the city’s Age Friendly DC initiative through the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services’ Office. In a collaboration between other city-wide initiatives and the DC Office of Planning with the the Age Friendly DC initiative, Molly hopes to explore how universal design principles and other user-centered design theories can be applied to social structures. Through her work with Age Friendly DC, Molly will help the initiative work towards meeting the World Health Organization’s requirements for an Age Friendly City and address how information about available resources and opportunities can be more successfully distributed to residents. By using her user-based research skills to propose tangible solutions under a variety of constraints, Molly hopes the experience will aid her in becoming a designer who straddles lines of public policy and urbanism.

Ana Mosseri | Southside Community Land Trust
BFA 2017 | Furniture
Ana Mosseri is a graduating senior studying furniture design. This summer she will be working with the youth employment team at Southside Community Land Trust in Providence, Rhode Island to explore ways that design can change the way we learn about food systems. Using her spatial design skills and practice of learning through making, she will work with high school students at the Somerset Hayward Youth Enterprise Farm to culminate what they’ve learned through their program. Ana will assist both the full time staff and the youth staff to explore ways that we can internalize knowledge about food systems and change behavior using design. As global and social climates continue to shift, it is important that we all work together to think critically about our everyday interactions with food systems and how they are connected to our economy, social issues, the environment, and health.

Zenzele Ojore | Big Beyond
BFA 2018 | Photography
Zenzele Ojore is a photo and film student finishing her junior year in photo at RISD. This summer, she will be interning at the nonprofit organization Big Beyond, an organization in the Kisoro district of Uganda that aims to integrate the conservation of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with sustainable development of the local Batwa Pygmy communities that border it. Her goal is to work collaboratively with a small nonprofit organization while learning how they navigate humanitarian and conversation initiatives in a remote location. She will apply her skills in media creation to inspire creative development within the organization for future outreach initiatives. Her unique method of interpreting the world around her and presenting it visually has been able to reach people from around the world. The opportunity to support Big Beyond in the development of their current outreach program is an amazing opportunity to merge art with global, social, and environmental impact. She plans for this partnership to inform her future creative projects and influence her outlook on art’s ability to evoke social and environmental change.
Marie Otsuka | Lowtech Magazine
MFA 2018 | Graphic Design
Marie Otsuka comes from an interdisciplinary background — having worked for a sustainability non-profit, a design consultancy, and IT organization. Together with Lauren Campbell, she will be partnering with Low-Tech Magazine to investigate sustainable alternatives to technological advancements and how these may be implemented into public policy. Based out of Amsterdam and Barcelona, Low-Tech Magazine questions the current role of technology and studies its social and environmental implications, drawing on historical practices to propose solutions. She will work with Lauren to document and synthesize their research into an accessible resource: the outcomes of the collaboration will include a content organizational system, a new physical and digital publication platform, and an expanded audience for the magazine.
Mudita Pasari | Help Earth
MA 2017 | Art Education
Mudita Pasari is a Spatial and Narrative Designer, who works with creating accessible and long term impact design strategies. Over the past few years, her work has been exploring the possibilities of using powerful narratives to generate awareness about social and environmental concerns. She will be spending the summer in her childhood town in north-eastern India, creating strategies for documenting urban biodiversity with school children. The pressing concern of urban biodiversity and the ecological balance due to human activities disturbs her. She believes that getting students excited about researching and documenting biodiversity could help address this concern in the long term. She wants to create a scalable system and will be developing activity based learning programs for the students. She will also be developing a documentation system so that all the urban biodiversity information gathered can be used for more balanced urban development projects in the future.
Anthony “Ute” Petit II | Akoaki, O.N.E Mile Project
BFA 2018 | Textiles & Industrial Design

Utē has been seeking ways to address municipal issues through performative, temporal and spatial interventions. Being from the Detroit area, he is interested in the ways racial and class constructed divisions continue to shape urban America. This summer, he will join a diverse community of urban activists, residents, and planners, on the O.N.E. Mile Project in Detroit’s North End, working to sustain the cultural vibrancy and ensure equitable redevelopment in the neighborhood. He intends to learn experimental strategies of community engagement, and modes of interfacing with city government. By the end of the summer, the group intends to have a phased master plan submitted to the city of Detroit, produced with input from residents and project partners. Utē is a proud member and leader of RISD’s Black Artists and Designers (BAAD), and the Brown/RISD club: Space in Prisons for Arts and Creative Expression (SPACE). He also co-organized the “Not Your Token” protest and teach-in alongside Olivia Stephens (IL ’17) and Chantal Feitosa-Desouza (FAV ’18) demanding issues of systemic racism and institutional access be addressed here at RISD. He also loves airplanes.

Lee Pivnik | BioSphere 2
BFA 2018 | Sculpture
Lee Pivnik is a visual artist from Miami, Florida. He is currently obtaining a BFA in Sculpture at RISD with a concentration in Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies. He rejects bleak forecasts with a humorous, colorful and queer aesthetic that manifests itself through inventive and organic forms. Working predominantly in sculpture, photography, and video he is focused on deconstructing our perception of nature as “exotic, pristine and other.” He will be working this summer in Oracle, Arizona at Biosphere 2.  Biosphere 2 is an iconic living laboratory built to model the planet’s interconnected ecology with 5 simulated biomes. Complete with a rainforest, an ocean, mangrove wetlands, savannah grasslands and a desert, the facility becomes metaphor for the planet itself, and the experimental work done here can be scaled up and implemented to solve global issues. Lee will serving as the Artist In Residence for Biosphere 2, and will also be constructing an artist engagement program for the institute so that Biosphere can implement a program that brings in new artists annually to advance the institute’s mission of science-communication. While his interest began with reflecting on the same ideas of containment, utopia, and artifice that built the foundation of Biosphere 2, Lee is mainly invested in this project now because (more than ever) we need improved environmental science education, and art must play a vital role in that development.
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. George Baum
    Jul 25 2015

    Great projects, great students

  2. Ellen Winsor
    Aug 10 2015

    Congratulations on your endeavors. I write from the island of Jamestown, RI and am interested in your projects for multiple reasons, so please be in touch via my email address used to register for commenting here. Also, I have a job posting at RISD’s ArtWorks involving our butterfly-shaped house (landmark house in architectural history, 1897, the original being in England). The ArtWorks listing is entitled, “Architectural update private residence; green energy, some Interior Design and some Landscape Architecture.” A fifth year RISD student (Architecture) designed the house with his professor signing off on the plans at the time. I welcome hearing from you and will explain more why. Best wishes! Wonderful humanitarian efforts you have conceived.


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