The Past Fellows
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.