The Past Fellows
BFA 2020 | IllustrationAs an illustrator engaging with design and communication, Sarah Alvarez approaches her practice with an understanding that a cultivated narrative can and should serve as the backbone to any work. This summer she will apply this perspective to her collaborative work with IntegrateNYC, a non-profit organization based in NYC that is primarily led by students in high schools throughout Manhattan and the Outer Boroughs. These student activists and their adult allies advocate for racial integration in NYC schools and in schools across the nation. Sarah will be acting as an artist/designer in residence for INYC, working in tandem with the student leaders and adult allies in order to develop a consistent narrative and aesthetic that will drive all future demonstrations and outreach, in addition to bringing design thinking to all legislative, educational and development work being done during those summer months.
BFA 2021 | ArchitectureBorn and raised in the outskirts of Milan, Italy, Enrico Giori is a candidate for a BFA and BARCH at the Rhode Island School of Design. Enrico seeks to use architecture as a tool to facilitate a wide array of human relationships, and therefore is a firm believer that the voices, opinions and visions of users –past, present and future– of a project are paramount to its success. During his Maharam Fellowship, Enrico will be working in Milan with ABCittà, a social cooperative made up of professionals with different skills and expertise in participatory planning. Enrico will focus on the development, facilitation and analysis of city planning workshop initiatives, helping architects, urban planners and city officials hear the voices of the residents of low-income social housing neighborhoods. Additionally, Enrico will assist with the development of new cultural initiatives in the Milan area, which hope to foster new forms of dialogue and collaboration between cultural institutions and people of all backgrounds.
MDes 2019 | Interior ArchitectureJoyce Kutty is an interdisciplinary artist, musician and designer from Rhode Island. As part of MDes Interior Architecture: Exhibitions and Narrative Environments department at RISD, her thesis is focused on the personal narrative, using hybridized methodologies of storytelling to bring contextualization of intangible cultural heritage to museums and other historically hegemonic institutions. Her work for the Maharam Fellowship will be a continuation of her thesis, investigating and learning more about public policy advocacy for domestic workers in Malaysia and other neighboring countries of Southeast Asia. She will be partnering with Malaysian NGO Tenaganita (“Women’s Force” in Malay), and will be working with women at their shelters and craftswomen from the Myanmar refugee community to create an exhibition exploring the oppressive nature of gendered labor, the rich traditions of womanhood, and all things outside and in between.
MLA 2020 | Landscape Architecture
Cornelia Overton came to RISD’s Landscape Architecture program with a background in cultural anthropology, environmental studies, carpentry, farming, and time spent volunteering with cycling and environmental groups. With landscape architecture, she hopes to promote beauty, health, and equitability in the world from an ecological perspective. Originally from Smithville and Nashville, Tennessee, Cornelia cares deeply about advocating for positive urban design in the Southeast. This summer at Walk Bike Nashville, Cornelia will work with activists, bureaucrats, and community members to develop a citizen’s guide to the politics and decision-making around their streets in order to empower Nashvillians to advocate for much-needed public space and transportation amenities in a rapidly growing, car-centric city. In addition, she looks forward to working with the organization as they prepare for community design workshops envisioning improved open space and active transport infrastructure.
BFA 2019 | PhotographyThis fall, Eden will be teaming up with Irene Wei to research the plant Tong Cao (tetrapanax) and its usage in making Pith Paper. Pith Papermaking is both a traditional craft important to Taiwanese culture and a more sustainable process than pulp papermaking. Most of the documentation regarding pith paper is written in Chinese, and the English literature that is available on the subject is written from a colonialist perspective. Eden and Irene will be the first known artists of Taiwanese descent writing about tetrapanax and Pith Paper in English, and they will produce educational resources which represent Taiwanese culture and the craft more respectfully than previous iterations. The team will be working with the Taiwan Tong Cao Association to learn about the harvesting and usage of Pith Paper. Irene, a skilled papermaker, will focus on learning and teaching while Eden will lead the production of a short, bilingual documentary.
BFA 2019 | Furniture DesignIrene Wei is completing her degree in Furniture Design with a concentration in Nature Culture Sustainability Studies. In addition to her studies at school, Irene is a dedicated papermaker who studies various traditional papermaking methods to investigate how they can be applied in sustainable and practical ways within her furniture practice. This summer, Irene will be partnering with Eden Tai to document and facilitate research on a plant called Tong Cao (tetrapanax) and its uses for the near defunct craft of Pith Papermaking. Since 1993, Pith Papermaking has hardly been practiced in Taiwan due to plastic’s rise to material predominance. The very little documentation about Tong Cao and Pith Papermaking offered in English are written from an orientalist lens that exoticizes Taiwanese culture. Using photography, videography and translational skills, they will archive knowledge about the methods of harvesting Tong Cao and making Pith Paper. They will partner with the Taiwan Tong Cao Association and the local Hwa Yuan tribe to revive this tradition and document it respectfully.
BFA 2019 | GlassYiyi Wei is an interdisciplinary artist interested in perceiving connections between entities—to find a poetic intermediate space, where interconnectivity and interactivity between lives is possible. As a Maharam Fellow, Yiyi will be travelling back to China to work with the Chang Tang branch of the U.S.-based conservation organization Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The Chang Tang plateau, located in the west of Tibet, has a special climate formation due to high elevation. Disruption as the result of climate change has led to the disappearance of wildlife, alterations in landscape, and conflicts between herdsman and wildlife. Working with WCS, Yiyi is researching and exploring water as a medium that interconnects the habitants of Chang Tang. Through observation, interviews and material investigations, Yiyi wants to find that intermediate space, where she can bear witness to the changing water, and to the entities that are interconnected because of this material. Yiyi hopes that with documentation of her experiences at Chang Tang, she can initiate conversation and education with a greater audience.
BFA 2019 | Graphic DesignRaina Wellman is an interdisciplinary artist and designer who works with public health, communication, and community engagement. Raina has worked at the Santa Fe New Mexican Newspaper, the American Museum of Natural History, MGMT Design, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. During this summer’s Maharam Fellowship, she will be working with Volunteers in Medicine and the New York Health Department to study health service practices in the U.S. as a response to healthcare coverage issues and community health needs. Using her experience in brand identity creation, writing, and public engagement, she will work to collaboratively create scalable, user-friendly, and playful design outreach that fits the needs of both organizations. Through exposure and hands on involvement, she hopes to develop an artistic practice that responds to public health advocacy and outreach, and elevates design’s changing roles in healthcare promotion. She will also create a publicly accessible archive relating to material gathered on healthcare inequity, design solution making, and grassroots approaches toward providing better healthcare.
BFA 2021 | ArchitectureJisu Yang is a designer who explores intersections between social engagement and gardening practices. As 2019 Maharam Fellow, Jisu is working with the Parks Department from the City Government of Providence. With The Parks Department, she will be engaged in creating a platform that increases accessibility and communicability of public gardening and farming for immigrant families in the city. As urban agriculture in Providence was initiated by refugees, cultural diversity in the city is manifested by the practice of gardening by different communities. The essence of the project is to map existing gardens to enhance public awareness and allow the city to better advocate for community engagement in urban agriculture. By implementing way-finding systems and organizizing events for cross-cultural interaction, Jisu aspires that this design can increase the interaction among different communities in Providence.
MID 2019 | Industrial DesignAdam Chuong is a designer and organizer whose work explores the intersections of designed objects, storytelling, and personal narrative. This summer, they will be partnering with Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), a Providence-based community organization that mobilizes low-income families in communities of color for social, economic and political justice, to combat gentrification and the displacement of low-income communities of color. DARE is currently pushing a for a ballot initiative that would mitigate Providence’s housing crisis, save tenants money, promote community stability, incentivize the creation of affordable rental housing units and investment in the city’s low-income communities of color, and improve landlord-tenant relations. Adam will work with DARE to develop tools and strategies to document and promote community member narratives of a sustainable and equitable future for Providence, with the overall goal of supporting DARE’s ballot initiative.
BFA 2019 | Industrial DesignMicah is an advocate for equity in sustainable transportation and a self-labelled bike geek. He will be working this summer with the City of Providence in the Department of Planning and Development. With experience as a freelance graphic and web designer, a passion for the relationship between equity and sustainable transportation, and a penchant for local action, he will help to design and implement two new sustainable transportation projects: a bicycle/pedestrian corridor called the Providence City Walk, and an e-bike share program. Micah will be using human-centered design concepts and techniques to make city planning, a discipline with a reputation for opacity and bureaucracy, more accessible and equitable to the diversity of citizens living in and moving through Providence. By working on projects with a variety of timelines at a variety of scales, Micah hopes to create designs ranging from education and advocacy to permanent signage and infrastructure.
MDes 2018 | Interior ArchitectureStraight out of Milwaukee, WI, Nakeia Medcalf has always been driven to fulfill her personal civic responsibility– engage with the community and find new ways through design to do so. Upon completion of her Master of Design in Interior Studies, Nakeia aims to continue her analysis of existing architectural conditions as they relate to economy, race and history to empower communities through a design practice that speaks to an audience of people of African heritage and beyond. Working with the African Alliance of Rhode Island, Nakeia will facilitate workshops in Afrofuturism and how this concept can be implemented to provide social solutions for a local site on the Lower South Side of Providence. Through participatory interviews, conversations and workshops, the community of the African Alliance of Rhode Island will explore ideas of self-design, self-build, self-surveillance and self-governance through a hands-on approach.
MArch 2019 | Architecture
Sara aims to apply the methodologies and practices often embedded in architectural practice to social work. She believes in the universality of the discipline of architecture and sees opportunity for the architectural skill set to be applied in areas where it is often needed. In response to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, Sara will deploy her skills as an architect to provide opportunities for Syrian refugee children to achieve their goals and strive towards brighter futures. Over the summer, Sara will intern with Karam Foundation, a non-profit organization whose aim is to restore dignity and quality of life for people affected by conflict by eliminating barriers to success through innovative education, entrepreneurial development, and community-driven aid. Sara’s internship will begin in Lebanon where she will document and analyze the effects of a playground built in the refugee camps of Bekaa. She will then travel to Turkey and continue her work at Karam House, a community workspace that helps provide education for refugee kids in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. She will apply her thinking methods and background to influence the children by personal mentorship and group workshops.
BFA 2018 | SculptureBorn and raised in Indonesia, William Samosir is an interdisciplinary artist and experimental technologist who is excited about alternative affordances in the realm of computation. As a concentrator in Computation, Technology, and Culture in RISD, he has created multiple experimental technological tool-objects that honor spatial and bodily knowledge, therefore paving ways for computational systems to be worn, performed, and embodied. This summer, William will be working with the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY as an artist-in-residence to build further upon this line of inquiry. He will be conducting hands-on research with the museum’s play artifacts and the collection owned by its sub-department—the International Center for the History of Electronic Games. Together with the museum’s various departments, he will venture into developing an alternative, object-based educational language that teaches computational literacy through spatial thinking and collaborative play—a model which he hopes can be eventually disseminated and recontextualized in different educational institutions. Ultimately through this internship, William is hoping to contribute towards shaping and reorganizing computational language beyond the strictly logical and mathematical, therefore expanding the medium’s creative access and inclusiveness.
MFA 2018 | PrintmakingK. Sarrantonio is an artist and activist from the Hudson Valley, NY. They will receive an M.F.A. in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design in 2018. K. studied printmaking at SUNY New Paltz, Mount Holyoke College and UMASS Amherst, and received their undergraduate degree in Art from Hampshire College in 2007. K. has been a member of the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Studio, The Lower East Side Printshop and The Printmaking Center of New Jersey. As a Maharam Fellow this summer, K. will be working at Make the Road NY, a member led organization that works to build the power of immigrant and working class communities. At Make the Road, K. will be engaging in a silkscreen printing project with the Youth Power Program. The process of building printmaking facilities and learning to design images for print aims to empower the youth to create their own messaging for posters and signs that will impact the greater community.
BFA 2019 | PhotographyJohn Shen is a photographer and painter from New Zealand interested in the future of how our society is changing and evolving. As a RISD Maharam Fellow, John will be travelling back to his homeland to work with the New Zealand based non-profit, Age Concern. By collaborating with this nationwide organisation, John plans to document and photograph some of the rapidly growing number of citizens who are over 65 and approaching their twilight years. As increasing life spans globally push the percentage of our population over 65 ever higher it is important to think of this issue not simply in a quantitative manner but to also add a human face and perspective into the discussion. By interviewing and documenting the realities of their lives as seniors, John hopes to explore the issue of the aging population in a more qualitative way as well as investigating the intrinsic challenges and problems faced by these senior individuals.
MFA 2020 | Graphic DesignBobby Joe is a Black and Native designer from the Hunkpapa and Oohenumpa Lakota tribes. Raised in North Dakota and Minnesota, he ventured to Vermont after high school to earn a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Middlebury College. After a number of years working in public policy, consulting, photography, computer programming, and advertising, he decided to merge his multi-disciplinary background and passion for creating by earning a post-baccalaureate degree in Graphic Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He used this foundation in design to take a deeper dive into the discipline by pursuing his masters in Graphic Design at RISD. Bobby Joe loves designing systems and using design thinking to solve big problems with diverse groups of people. Thanks to the Maharam Fellowship he will be able to engage in both this summer in Chicago with the SaveMoneySaveLife (SMSL) Foundation designing a visual identity for the organization as well as conducting workshops with members of the community to develop SMSL programs.
BFA 2021 | Graphic DesignJavier is currently studying Graphic Design at RISD and Chemistry at Brown University, and is invested in developing and finding relationships between the two fields of STEM and Art & Design. Javier will be a part of the Stanford-Brown-RISD iGEM 2018 Team that will be focusing on building a synthetic cell at the NASA Ames Research Center. By conducting this research, the team is aiming to understand the basis of evolution of life on earth, or even alternative pathways in evolution, and may continually research its implications. Some questions that arise are – what is the difference between a protocell and life naturally occuring on earth? Is it possible to produce protocells that do not undergo evolution? Additionally, Javier will be creating all necessary designs for the team that will be essential to their success in the International iGEM 2018 Competition. Javier is excited to extrapolate his design skills to a completely new realm. He is thrilled to see how designing around complex scientific ideas will change his process and lead to innovative outcomes.
BFA 2018 | PaintingKalina is a 2018 graduate from RISD’s painting department. She uses flatness as a metaphor to show the idea that women and other marginalized people are powerful despite the confinements they have to navigate around. She creates 2D vs 3D works, both pictorially depicted and physically executed in sculpture. The protagonists she creates are just a sliver of space yet packed with information, depth and care- a concept reflected in the paper itself. She will be teaming up this summer with Women’s Campaign International (WCI) in Philadelphia to create an art exhibition for the local community. WCI is an organization dedicated to transforming communities for the better by inclusion and support of women. She hopes to do the same for the arts community and to raise awareness for this NGO. Kalina wants to provide a platform for women to show their work and steer conversations. It will also hopefully lead to lasting engagement with the arts for everyone involved.
MLA 2018 | Landscape ArchitectureGavin Zeitz came to landscape architecture from a diverse background in cultural geography, ecological economics, and community design. He seeks to position landscape architecture as a critical tool for understanding our messy global systems and as a common language for connecting people to their everyday environments. Originally from Maine, Gavin has long been interested in northern geographies and for the past two years has focused his research on the dynamic changes currently reshaping the Arctic. This summer Gavin will work in Reykjavik, Iceland with the Journal of the North Atlantic and Arctic (JONAA), a multifaceted media platform providing regional and global stakeholders with information and insight into the current events of the broadly defined Arctic. Gavin will be helping JONAA map the network of Arctic agencies and stakeholders to produce a communal tool to understand the interconnected web of Arctic knowledge, promote collaboration across disciplines, and ultimately work towards a unified and resilient North. He looks forward to traveling around Iceland to observe the relationship between the experience of cultural landscapes and spatial characteristics of infrastructure.
MFA 2018 | Graphic DesignLauren 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.
BArch 2020 | ArchitectureSophie 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.
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.
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.
BFA 2017 | FurnitureAna 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.
BFA 2018 | PhotographyZenzele 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.
MFA 2018 | Graphic DesignMarie 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.
MA 2017 | Art EducationMudita 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.
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.
BFA 2018 | SculptureLee 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.
BFA 2016 | SculptureBorn and raised in Miami, Florida, Natalia is concluding the final year of her BFA in Sculpture. She will be collaborating with her long time friend and colleague, Nicholas Fernandez, to aid Fundación Amistad and the World Monuments Fund in their efforts to better communicate and develop sustainable and financially feasible approaches to the preservation and revitalization of two endangered historical sites, El Vedado and the National Art School. Her photo documentation and research will serve to advocate for communities within Havana that lack adequate funding and resources to preserve these sites. She will gain experience collaborating with urban planners, conservators, economists, activists, entrepreneurs, and locals working to shape Cuba’s future while preserving its history and voice. Together, Natalia and Nicholas will also be working on a publication that archives the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Cuban people through bricolage objects and their unusual beauty. Natalia believes that artists play a vital role in the observation, dissemination, and creation of culture and their perspectives remain integral to missions like that of Fundación Amistad and the World Monuments Fund.
BFA 2017 | TextilesAs an artist and designer, Callie thrives on listening, observing and seeking understanding. She strongly believes in interdisciplinary collaboration as a pathway for sustainable innovation and educational opportunities. Based on her belief in the integral relationship between art and design and science, this summer Callie will collaborate with Genspace, a community biolab in Brooklyn, New York, to investigate the importance of public access to biotechnology education and consequent changes in biotechnology regulatory policy. Through research and involvement in Genspace’s biotech classes and community, she will explore how public access to science education empowers individuals to pursue scientific innovation, how governance structures deal with fast-paced technologies and information access interactions between the government, media and citizens. Callie hopes to initiate more conversations about the societal and ethical implications and human-centered design opportunities biotechnology offers. Currently, Callie is on the planning committee for the annual A Better World by Design conference and is a project leader for the Brown and RISD BioSTEAM organization. She is an avid environmentalist with a love for carrots and spontaneity.
MA 2016 | Art Education While developing a project for a social enterprise in Nepal, Chris discovered the power of Fine Art and Design skills as problem solving and community building tools. Chrisʼ time at RISD allowed him to research Design Thinking for creative community development. As a RISD Maharam Fellow, Chris will be building an Empathic Design-centered leadership program for US Marines and high school students stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Participants will learn creative processes emphasizing empathy, collaboration, conflict resolution, and problem solving through researching, designing, and manufacturing stand up paddle boards. The curriculum developed during this program will be available as a leadership tool and adapted for use by organizations working with underserved communities around the world.
BFA 2017 | Apparel Design
As a proud feminist artist, Lucille is studying Apparel Design with a concentration in Gender, Sexuality, and Race to explore how art and design can be used to address social justice issues. She is taking advantage of her time at RISD to influence campus change alongside her peers as president of the RISD Global Initiative and co-founder of RISD SHARE (Sexual Health and Relationship Educators). The skills she has learned through her campus activism led to the Maharam Fellowship with Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, a Providence-based organization that works with refugees and immigrants to aid the transition into a new home. Through the use of art “empowerment” sessions, this project will allow DIIRI to address the emotional needs of their clients and introduce arts programming as part of their wide array of services. Lucille will also take advantage of these sessions to conduct research on the role social entrepreneurship and community partnerships can play in successful resettlement, and will use this research to complement DIIRI’s services and inform her Apparel Thesis Collection.
MFA 2017 | Digital MediaOriginally a painter, Evan Daniel has incorporated robotics and programming as an integral part of his artistic practice over the past several years. A driving force for this research has been complex tensions inherent in robotics such as interaction, authorship, and knowledge. It was with this in mind that Evan contacted the Dynamic Robotics Laboratory (DRL) at Oregon State University. The DRL is a site of cutting edge robotics development — a place where dilemmas arising from new technologies can be analyzed before they become part of our daily lives. Evan’s work will address the ethical, social, and political dilemmas arising from the research at this site. His approach will address both public policy (think of the complex issues brought about by self-driving vehicles) as well as the nature of the laboratory’s research.
BFA 2016 | Painting + Science And Society (RISD/Brown)Josephine will work with California farmers impacted by drought to create maps, drawings and writings that explore their experience of groundwater use. Between trips to farms scattered across the state, Josephine will return to the Oakland headquarters of the California Institute for Water Resources where she will assemble multimedia features about each farmer. The Institute will publish these visual stories of identity and adaptation on their news blog The Confluence. She hopes that adding images from farmers’ perspectives to existing maps and models will contribute to a greater understanding of the social dimension of groundwater use. Josephine grew up in the Central Valley, surrounded by some of the nation’s most productive farmland. She looks forward to reporting on how farmers conceive of the underground aquifers that kept her aboveground childhood green.
BFA 2016 | SculptureNicholas Fernandez is a first generation Cuban American completing his BFA in Sculpture. He will be collaborating with colleague and companion, Natalia Blanco, to contribute to the preservation and documentation of Cuban culture during this time of significant political and social change. Through this fellowship, he will be a part of Fundación Amistad and the World Monuments Fund’s mission to raise international awareness of two endangered historical sites, El Vedado and the National Art School. The long-term goal is to develop technical and financial aid for their preservation. Along with his partner, he will be responsible for gathering research and case studies relevant to each urban project, photo and video documentation of the sites, as well as event planning and programming for the Watch Day in Havana. He hopes to understand how a non-governmental organization develops hands-on strategies for tackling issues pertinent to international relations. Together, Natalia and Nicholas will also be working on a publication that documents local bricolage objects and reflects the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Cuban people.
BFA 2017 | ArchitectureAs a senior architecture student at RISD, Qi is well aware of the great potential and responsibility of the profession he chooses. He believes an architect should also be an active social participator in order to maximize his/her value and contribution to the society. Inspired by the previous winter travelling experience in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka with Professor Lili Hermann, Qi, this summer, will go back to the district and cooperate with students and teachers from St John’s Vocational Training Centre (SJVTC). Together, they will explore the possibilities of the future housing in local community. Their exploration will include the experiments with unconventional building materials and techniques as well as the discussion and imagination of the ideal future living space. Qi holds the strong belief of the significant role of design education plays in retrieving the underprivileged regions in the world. Through the interaction with students, he wants to sparkle the student’s creativity and bring the design thinking he developed at RISD to SJVTC.
MFA 2017 | Graphic DesignBo-Won Keum is a storyteller currently pursuing her MFA in Graphic Design. This summer, she will partner with Books to Prisoners in Seattle, WA, a non-profit that receives and responds to letters from prison inmates across the US who ask for books. There, she will help develop a global archiving strategy for keeping records, restriction lists, and reading materials in order, traveling to various other prison book donation programs in the US in the process. She will also design a resource guide designed to be distributed inside the prison system, along with a personal document that holds interviews that she will conduct with volunteers and designers that considers the politics of what it means to give a book to someone.
BFA 2017 | IllustrationBorn and bred in Nutley, New Jersey, Yuko Okabe has always possessed a great connection to narrative and how she can create emotive work that reaches out to people. This Summer, she will collaborate with Boston Children’s Hospital and its Psychiatry Department’s start-up, Neuro’motion, to research and interact with staff to help create mobile therapy games for children struggling with mental health illnesses and disabilities. She has proposed this project as a response to both the growing attention needed for better mental healthcare as well as her personal connections and history. As an illustrator, she wants to learn how these analyzations can help create suitable storytelling and relatable characters that will stimulate patient motivation and development of coping skills. By interacting with health scholars and children at in-patient and out-patient facilities, this project will help her better understand the sensitivities surrounding mental health. Yuko has always loved working with children: she has volunteered as a TA and instructor for local Providence schools and organizations. On a final note, she likes hedgehogs, curry, and collecting postcards.
MFA 2016 | Printmaking Growing up on the Colorado Plateau and working as a river guide, artist, and environmental educator for the past seven years, Kate Aitchison has used her variety of experiences to make connections between her art and her environment. For Aitchison, it is a desire to further the conservation dialogue and engage communities in protecting the environment that inspires her to explore how environmental science can inspire her work. This summer, Aitchison will work with the United States Geologic Survey in Flagstaff, AZ to develop imagery describing the ecological systems along the Colorado River corridor for scientific and creative work. She will also work in conjunction with USGS and partner organization Grand Canyon Youth, to reintroduce art into developed science programs for youth river trips on the San Juan and Colorado Rivers.
BFA 2016 | Textiles As an emerging artist, Lyza believes that textile design can empower communities, create solutions for environmental concerns, and drive economic development. This summer, Lyza is partnering with fellow Textile Design major Emilie Jehng, to investigate whether or not natural dye processes can be both environmentally sustainable and economically viable. They will be traveling to Bohol, Philippines to collaborate with Class Act and Tubigon Multipurpose Weaving Cooperative to identify indigenous dye plants and incorporate natural dye processes into the weaver’s textiles. She hopes that this initiative will inspire communities to reevaluate and commune with their natural land resources in a respectful and resourceful way. In 2014 Lyza joined DESINE-Lab and helped compile research for a sustainable textile initiative for war widows from the civil war stricken region of Sri Lanka. She is also co-founder of Floating Garden, a public textile installation fostering community engagement and highlight the importance of green space in Central Falls, a city recovering from bankruptcy. Lyza was born and raised in Rhode Island. She has a deep love and respect for nature, cozy sweaters, and fortune cookies.
BFA 2016 | Sculpture Raised in Wisconsin, Joseph Fellows is concluding his Junior year of his Sculpture BFA. During the past two summers he has spent August driving through the continental U.S. taking photographs and experiencing the American Landscape. Twice he found himself in Southern Colorado in the San Luis Valley taking pictures in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Since then he has searched for a means to contribute to the monumental task of preserving the natural spaces that we have left. In the summer of 2015 Joseph will be returning to the Dunes to demonstrate the capabilities 3D scanning has to offer the National Parks, as well as other natural spaces, in order to help record and preserve the fragile resources within their boundaries. He will be working to create a scanned archive of both natural and cultural objects both digitally and physically through 3D printing. These archives will enable him to investigate how this technology can be a tool for both artists and naturalists to reconsider how the natural world can find it’s way into places like studios and classrooms.
BFA 2016 | Furniture
Harini is interested in using design towards socio economic change. Through this fellowship, she will be promoting public transportation as a strong direction towards decreasing traffic accidents, as an increased level of safety in a society, further profits an economy. In her home country, India, she will be researching the current safety measures established in the transportation sector in India, to evaluate the cause of an increasing number of transit based accidents. She will be working with SaveLife Foundation; a non-governmental organisation based in Delhi, that is a strong force working towards road safety both by training the police force and volunteers in post-accident response and helping draft laws to be presented in the parliament towards the same cause. This will help her develop a strong foundation and knowledge of the intricacies involved in influencing public policy in a country with diverse interests- and a strong participatory democracy, which she will use in the future to create an increased awareness of the importance of design in the transportation industry.
BFA 2016 | Textiles
This summer Emilie Jehng, in partnership with fellow Textiles major and friend, Lyza Baum, will be researching the economic and environmental feasibility of the natural dye process in Bohol, Philippines. Working with Class Act, Emilie and Lyza will explore dye plants indigenous to the island, and collaborate with the Tubigon Loomweavers Multi-Purpose Cooperative to develop avenues for naturally dyed fibers within the Co-Op’s woven fabrics. She hopes that their project sparks initiative for the community to commune with available land resources, and further promotes the revitalization of local cottage industries in Bohol. Emilie firmly believes in the ability of textiles to empower communities, create sustainable solutions spearheading environmental concerns, and to stimulate economic development. Originally from San Jose, California, Emilie Jehng is fond of indigo vats, seventy-degree weather, and popcorn.
MFA 2015 | Photography
Drew Ludwig is a regionalist, artist, activist, and mountain guide. He has worked as a Creative Consultant for Patagonia, a Videography/Photography Assistant at National Geographic, and as a muralist specializing in large scale, ecologically-minded installations. After completing his MFA in Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, Drew will return to his hometown of Telluride, Colorado, to address a local housing crisis through the development of a quarterly newspaper, The Dumbsaint. Utilizing art and design as methods of creative problem solving, the paper will provide Telluride with an alternative media voice, introducing political concerns through an absurdist visual sensibility while examining creative place-making and community ethos. The Dumbsaint will engage Telluride locals in a generative public discourse with an aim to examine and improve the housing and cultural needs of the community.
Emily Winter | Envision Unlimited MFA 2015 | Textiles Emily will spend the summer in Chicago working with Envision Unlimited, a social services agency that serves adults with developmental disabilities. She will focus on the revitalization of a small, currently defunct, weaving mill owned by Envision. She will work with Envision’s clients to create a textile skill building curriculum which focuses on developing the skills needed to pursue individual creative projects and to earn income working for the weaving workshop. She will also scale up her weaving knowledge and learn how to run the industrial weaving equipment. The long-term goal is to develop a unique workshop model which fosters collaboration between artists, designers, and craftsmen regardless of markers of ability and disability. The Maharam STEAM Fellowship is supporting the first chapter of what will be an ongoing project centered on advocacy, community integration, and innovative incorporation of art and design into the social services.
BArch 2015 | Architecture Adria is interested in the human aspects of architecture: how design can improve the spaces and structures that we interact with each day. This summer Adria will be working in Boston, in Massport’s Department of Capital Programs & Environmental Affairs, studying the role of design in resilience. Resilience is an emerging field. Its development indicates a transition between a defensive approach to emergency management and an offensive approach. These two strategies mark the difference between waiting for a disaster to strike and recovering afterward, versus preparing for a disaster preemptively. As a Maharam Fellow, Adria will study Massport’s infrastructure and potential vulnerabilities, compile a taxonomy of design approaches to resilience, and draft design guidelines based on her findings. By developing resilience recommendations for future disaster scenarios, Adria hopes to encourage a creative role within this critical field.
BFA 2015 | Industrial Design Patchi loves talking, listening and connecting. She feels that design can be used as a means of action and communication. This past January, Patchi worked with RISD’s DESINE-Lab to bring opportunities to Sri Lanka’s war torn north. She was also on the planning committee for the annual A Better World by Design conference and continues to be involved in collaboration efforts between Brown and RISD. She feels strongly that successful design is about synthesizing many aspects of one’s environment and applying a variety of disciplines toward problem-solving. This summer, she will be joining Porvir in Sao Paulo, where she is originally from, to compile a resource for education media accessible to all. The objective of her project is to create a document that wills serve as a guiding resource for Brazilians interested in education policy and news from around the world. With the upcoming Brazilian presidential elections, Porvir is working to provide the best coverage of each candidate’s education platforms. Patchi is thrilled to work in this dynamic environment, and will keep you posted with regular updates!
BFA 2016 | Illustration Gabriela is passionate about environmental issues and how art can be used to influence social change and spark progressive legislation. This summer she will be conducting research with Three Mile Island Alert, a Harrisburg-based non-profit organization, to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. The research will include interviewing members of the community affected by the accident and visiting several nuclear facilities including TMI, Susquehanna & Peach Bottom station. The research will be used to create a graphic interpretation of these people’s stories to be released as a web-comic series, and later published for distribution by TMIA, in an effort to spread awareness of nuclear power to younger generations. As a Harrisburg native who grew up in the shadow of TMI’s cooling towers, Gabriela hopes to provide her generation with a humanistic window to the accident and nuclear energy, which will hopefully sow the seeds of empathy and prudence in the nation’s future energy policy-makers.
MFA 2014 | Sculpture
Originally from New Hampshire, Blake is currently concluding his MFA degree in Sculpture. After graduating from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2008, Hiltunen worked for artist Marguerite Kahrl in the north of Italy before returning to New England where he operated the custom powder coating shop Colortec in Portland, ME. It was here he was introduced to Master Bee Keeper Erin MacGregor-Forbes. This summer Blake will be working with Ms. MacGregor-Forbes on the design, construction and presentation of a mobile observation honeybee hive. The hive’s intent is not only to support and display a living colony of bees but also to draw public attention to the relationship honeybee health has to biodiversity and sustainable food sources. Accompanying the hive will be a series of prints distributed to the public with images and information about simple, inexpensive ways to support the honeybee.
BFA 2014 | Printmaking and International Relations (RISD/Brown)
Hannah Koenig is motivated by a desire for positive social impact and a curiosity about systems and processes of communication. Beginning this summer, Hannah will continue her career in public service as the Designer in Residence at the Collaboratory, a new public diplomacy initiative in the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Collaboratory seeks to integrate virtual technologies into ECA’s cultural exchange programs, develop new pilot programs, and connect the State Department with technology companies and public intellectuals. In addition to advocating for design thinking in government, Hannah is passionate about athletic endeavors, high-top sneakers, and printed ephemera, especially banknotes.
MFA 2015 | Painting
Whitney Oldenburg is interested in how the fine arts are applicable to scientific and medical fields. With the launch of the Affordable Care Act, and the recent focus on individual health care, she sees this as pivotal time to focus on what health care really means. This summer she will conduct a research project in the Pain Rehabilitation Center at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville to see if critical art making can produce biological improvements in patients suffering from chronic pain. Through this research, Whitney not only hopes to substantiate the impact critical art making has on medical fields, but she hopes that her pilot study will help enrich the dialogue surrounding health insurance, patient satisfaction, and hospital budgeting. Whitney also feels that it is important for artists to look not just to other artists and art history, but have a more encompassing approach to art making. Whitney’s upcoming project in Mayo Clinic Jacksonville is a testament to that.
MID 2015 | Industrial Design An amateur Lego enthusiast and avid people-watcher, Mariya is interested in all things 3D. She came to RISD after receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering to expand on her technical foundations with human-centered product design. Her work at RISD investigates 3D printing applications both through experimenting with its technical capabilities and exploring its societal implications. This summer, Mariya will be working with educators at the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian X 3D (SIx3D) initiative. Her role will focus on designing learning modules for K-12 students to interactively engage with digital versions of historical artifacts by bringing them into the physical realm through technologies like 3D printing.
BFA 2015 | Industrial Design and Urban Studies (RISD/Brown) As a Brown/RISD Dual Degree student, Allison believes in the potential for interdisciplinary collaborations to create meaningful and sustainable impact. This summer, she will be bringing her passion for community-driven design and persuasive storytelling to the emerging field of legal design, exploring how user-centered design strategies can improve the delivery of legal services and increase access to justice. She will be working with the NuLawLab – Northeastern University School of Law’s innovation laboratory – to investigate unmet legal needs in Rhode Island with a design approach. This work will support the current efforts of the law firm DeLuca & Weizenbaum in cooperation with Roger Williams University School of Law to launch a public interest law center in the state. When she’s not in class, Allison can be found running the RISD/Brown Design for America studio, thinking about models of university/community partnership at the TRI-Lab, and looking for pugs to play with.
BFA 2013 Industrial Design Ayodhya will focus on the creation of visual storytelling techniques, which can take complex topics in science and health and make them understandable, engaging and accessible to the public. Ayodhya is an artist, writer and designer, focusing on social entrepreneurship – using design principles to address complex social and environmental problems. Science and nature are his obsessions, and illustration and photography are his tools for storytelling.
MID 2012 Industrial Design Olivia’s project will focus on international and domestic development efforts, using strategic design thinking to effect sustainable, positive change in the way we make, produce and consume. STAR-TIDES (Sharing To Accelerate Research-Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support) is a research effort that promotes sustainable support to stressed populations. Olivia earned an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts (with a focus on New Media studies) from the Evergreen State College and is interested in how new forms of participatory engagement can help guide and inform the design process. Olivia was raised in Fargo, ND and issues relating to changing relationships between farmer, food and environment are of special interest to her. Her master’s thesis borrowed techniques from the disciplines of foresight, performance art and critical design to speculate about the future of trash, food and farming as it relates to the maintenance of soil health.
MArch 2014 ArchitectureAs a Maharam Fellow, Giles is working with the city of Providence, RI to find effective methodologies to engage residents in creative problem solving. As a student Giles organized A Better World by Design, an annual three-day conference focused on the power of design to positively affect our built and social systems. While working at Sasaki Associates last summer Giles designed an open platform for city level policy makers to publish and receive feedback from residents as they work through policy decisions. Giles’ interest in the Maharam STEAM Fellowship stems from an unrealized level of constructive engagement with existing inquiry generated by RISD and Brown to affect policy decisions for Providence, RI.
BFA 2013 Industrial DesignJoe and his team at RISD’s 2nd Life (an art supply and materials recycling source) meet with key leaders in the public and private sectors to determine creative ways that upcycling (the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality / higher environmental value) can be integrated into the community. The goals are to empower youth and reduce landfill waste. Born and raised in Southern California (a westcoaster at heart), Joe has a twin and is the youngest of five children. Every summer he reads the Calvin and Hobbes anthology, enjoys cooking and loves eating.
BFA 2013 IllustrationSamantha will use this unique opportunity with the world’s only imbedded design group to function within a live clinical setting to participate in a learning process where designers and doctors work together to create ideas and products that are neither art nor medicine. Samantha is a rising senior in illustration and the daughter of two engineers in Massachusetts. She studies healthcare at Brown University in addition to her studio courses at RISD and believes that the best ideas come through collaboration. Samantha is always on the lookout for the gray areas where art and science combine and once designed a card game based on early Victorian germ theory. Her favorite microorganisms are daphnia.
BFA 2013 Film/Animation/Video Andreas will collect and communicate the incredible stories that embody the change that the GlobeMed network promotes. GlobeMed is a network of university students that partners with grassroots organizations around the world to improve the health of people living in poverty. Through their involvement today, students commit to a life of leadership in global health and social justice. Andreas believes in the power of stories and that artists and designers are uniquely positioned to tell these stories in ways that are beautiful and accessible to wide audiences. As the son of two architects, design has been an intrinsic part of his life since birth. Through a small documentary that he produced with Paul Farmer on Partners in Health’s new hospital in Haiti, his involvement with GlobeMed, and his studies of and visits to Haiti, he has come to realize that health is not simply a medical issue but a human factor that allows people to live well. His goal is to use film and design to convey this idea by evaluating the root causes of issues through ethnographic filmmaking, including these stories as an integrated piece of the data that aid organizations use to evaluate where they place their funding and ultimately adding a humanistic layer to information that is so often simplified and pared down.