Founder and Executive Director, Principal Investigator, and Professor
Eric Gordon is a scholar/designer working in the areas of digital civic engagement, public participation, and game-based learning. He's a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and he is a professor in the department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College. He is the co-author of Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Networked World (Blackwell Publishing, 2011) and the author of The Urban Spectator: American Concept Cities From Kodak to Google (Dartmouth, 2010). His newest edited volume (with Paul Mihailidis) is [Civic Media: Technology|Design|Practice] (https://mitpress.mit.edu/civic-media) (MIT Press, 2016).
Fellow, Principal Investigator, and Assistant Professor
Catherine is a researcher, artist and software developer. Her work focuses on data literacy, media innovation and civic art. She has co-developed a suite of tools for data literacy, developed custom software to geolocate news articles and designed an application, Terra Incognita, to promote global news discovery. She is currently working with the Public Laboratory for Technology and Science to explore the possibilities for journalistic storytelling with DIY environmental sensors. Her art and design projects have won awards from the Tanne Foundation, Turbulence.org, and the LEF Foundation. She is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab and a Research Affiliate at the MIT Center for Civic Media.
Graduate Program Director, Principal Investigator, and Associate Professor
Paul Mihailidis is an associate professor in the school of communication at Emerson College in Boston, MA, where he teaches media literacy, civic media, and community activism. He is founding program director of the MA in Media Design and a Principle Investigator and Faculty Director of the Engagement Lab at Emerson College. Mihailidis also directs the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. His research focuses on the nexus of media, education, and civic voices. His newest books, Civic Agency (Routledge 2018), Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice (2016, MIT Press, with Eric Gordon) and Media Literacy and the Emerging Citizen (Peter Lang, 2014), outlines effective practices for participatory citizenship and engagement in digital culture. Under his direction, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, a global media literacy incubator program, annually gathers 75 students and a dozen faculty to build networks for media innovation, civic voices and global change. Mihailidis has authored numerous books and papers exploring civic media, and traveled around the world speaking about media and engagement in digital culture. He co-edits the Journal of Media Literacy Education, and sits on the advisory board for iCivics. He earned his PhD from the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Fellow, Principal Investigator, and Associate Professor
Miranda is associate professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College. She is author of The Writers: A History of American Screenwriters and their Guild (Rutgers UP, 2015), co-editor of Production Studies: Cultural Studies of Media Industries (Routledge, 2009), and co-editor of Production Studies, The Sequel! (Rutgers UP, 2015). Her primary area of research is the American media industries, with a specific focus on creative labor and professionalization. At the lab, she is building a game to counter race and gender biases within professional and student media communities. She traveled to Uganda to implement The Boda-Boda Game for the American and Ugandan Red Cross. She has written for Television & New Media, Cinema Journal, Popular Communication, Cultural Studies, Flow, and the anthology Gender and Creative Labor. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Motion Picture Oral History Digital Archive and the Board of the international feminist media organization, Console-ing Passions.
Director Grants and Finance
Anne Cahill is the Grants and Financial Director of the Engagement Lab. Prior to starting at Emerson she worked at Lahey Health in Burlington as the Associate Director of Grants Management. She also brings to the lab over 18 years experience in higher education having previously worked at both Harvard University and MIT. She was raised in Oswego, NY and currently lives in Revere with her pets, Lulu and Bella.
Gabriel is a design researcher at IDEO and an affiliate faculty member at the Emerson College Engagement Lab. His research and practice focuses on the intersection of technology, media and community building.
Gabriel has a background in industry and academic research, as well as arts and activism. At Emerson he teaches courses on digital media and qualitative research. Prior to IDEO, Gabriel was a research associate at the Engagement Lab, conducting traditional scholarly research on civic media innovation in the United States, as well as applied research using augmented reality technology as a means for archiving and communicating local history in communities facing gentrification. He holds a Ph.D in Information Studies from Syracuse University, where his research focused on learning, collaboration, and governance on large scale online communities.
Gabriel is the founder of the Transformative Culture Project, a Boston based nonprofit that engages young people in telling stories about activists, artists, and educators in their community. With French 2D, he co-founded Place/Setting, a social art installation designed to host intimate dinner conversations made semi-transparent so as to communicate how ideas are shared within and amongst individuals, organizations, and experts in various contexts. From 2015-2017 Gabriel was a research affiliate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
Courtney Lord is the Lead Designer at the Engagement Lab. She has six years of professional experience in web and graphic design. Her design background includes a variety of multidisciplinary design experience including UI/UX, web, print, brand identity, and development. She is driven by user-centered design and a fondness for simplicity and detail. Courtney graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a BS in Computer Graphics & New Media currently lives in Boston.
Lina Maria Giraldo is a Colombian-born, Boston-based media artist focusing on Interactive Storytelling towards social change. She exhibits a diverse background ranging from digital educational tools, public art, and screen based, computer generated work. She holds a Master of Professional Studies on Interactive Telecommunications (ITP) from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she was the recipient of both the Paulette Godard and the Tisch School Scholarships. She was awarded the Tsongas Scholarship at Mass College of Art, where she majored in Studio of interrelated Media with Departmental Honors and Academic Distinction. Her work has been displayed in galleries and shows as well as public spaces throughout Boston, New York, and Colombia. The Boston Globe, ABC News, and WBGH have highlighted her. Giraldo was selected to be part of the John F. Kennedy Legacy Gallery in the category of the Arts and has received grants from the Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, the St. Botolph Foundation, and a Creative City grant from New England Foundation for the Arts. She is currently part of the Boston AIR 2.0 Residency for the City of Boston.
Dr. Adam Gamwell is a Design Anthropologist, or what he likes to call a Design-Centered Human, with international experience in ethnographic research, media production, cultural analysis, social strategy, and education. His practice mixes holistic, systems-level perspectives, participatory design, and grounded ethnography to collaboratively diagnose problems and craft solutions across culture, behavior, and environment. His PhD research centered on re-designing conservation services for quinoa and crop agrobiodiversity in southern Peru.
He is Host, Creative Lead and Executive Producer of the This Anthro Life Podcast, based in Boston, MA, and has over 15 years of audio production and sound engineering experience. Adam is also playing with the idea of being a Research Artist, a practitioner who infuses and transforms our experiences of academically-grounded, deep research with delight, spectacle, and provocation. His narrative media work blends science communication, public education, curiosity and wonder with rigorous research to help expand public consciousness, empathy and collective problem solving. He believes deeply that education is a fundamental human right, and that it should be enjoyable and engaging.
Selected Publications and Public Talks
“Consulting Podcasters: Prototyping a Democratic Tool for Multiple Voices, Storytelling and Solution Finding,” co-authored with Matt Artz. Presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, April 2018
“Crowdsourcing the Conversation: On the Future of Podcasting, Public Engagement, and Exercising the Anthropological Tool Kit”, co-authored with Ryan Collins, part of the invited panel Podcasts and Anthropology: Exploring Approaches to Multimodal Research and Communication. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, November 2017
“The Superfood Revolution will be Televised,” co-authored with Corinna Howland. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, November 2017
“Cooking Up an International Market for Quinoa” SAPIENS 16 Aug 2017
Conversations as Social Technology, This Anthro Life Podcast July 2017, Researched, Written, Hosted and Produced by Adam Gamwell, adapted from a Tech Talk at Pivotal Labs, Cambridge, MA
“Culinary Catalysts and Scientific Shifts: Peruvian Quinoa in the Age of Genetics and Gastronomy,” Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, Santa Fe, NM, March 2017
"Talking Anthropology: Podcasting for the Public" June 2016, University of Toronto Press Teaching Culture Blog.
Johnny is a veteran games, UI, and web engineer and consultant based in Boston, MA. Having worked on many sides and in every stage of the development pipeline, he specializes in creating world-class software and games, with an emphasis on tightly-controlled standards and obsessive code quality. Through his work he strives to empower colleagues and fellow stakeholders in every possible way, no matter what it takes. Johnny believes that fluid and transparent teamwork is vital to a final product of the highest quality. As an alumni of Emerson, Johnny is excited to be bringing his skills and experience back to campus and the Engagement Lab. On the side, he is also Director of Industry Outreach for The AbleGamers Foundation, and has given many talks and workshops on improving accessibility in games.
John Harlow is a postdoctoral scholar in the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance at Arizona State University's Center for Policy Informatics. His recent work includes the design of the prioritization workshop that produced the first draft of Phoenix's 2050 transportation plan. He was previously a researcher for Reinvent Phoenix, organizing public outreach to inform rezoning around Phoenix's light rail. His other work includes co-development and instruction of the Sustainability Science for Teachers hybrid course in the ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, and serving as Conference Director for the 2012 International Conference on Sustainability Science.
Mariam has a professional background in international patient advocacy, healthcare navigation, and project management. Working on behalf of patients taught her the importance of listening, empathy, and sharing. In this environment she discovered that her passion is working with communities and empowering those who are socially and economically vulnerable.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from The American University in Cairo. Harnessing the power of technology as a catalyst to community building and information sharing is the focus of her studies at the Engagement Lab.
Mariam Chahine is creating a cooperative, on-demand trash pick-up app called Zibal-T that will be a cost effective solid waste management solution to facilitate the removal of accumulated trash in the Middle East.
Rachel's research interests center on the ways civic media and online platforms influence sexual health education and how technology can aid in the creation of ethical romantic and sexual relationships. She holds a Master’s in Mind, Brain, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where she studied Political Science and Education Studies. Her work in interpersonal and gender violence prevention has led to collaborations with ABC’s Nightline, the creation of an online sex education platform, and collaborates with SitN Listen podcast on gender-specific recordings. Outside of academia, Rachel enjoys volunteering for TEDx Cambridge, hanging out at the Boston Harbor, and playing fetch with her cat, Bosnia.
Working to reduce campus sexual assault and increase healthy relationships, Rachel Hanebutt, co-founder of Confi, is partnering with Emerson College to create an in-person, online-facilitated peer program that utilizes school-specific student expectations and beliefs data to drive home the importance of sexual health, consent, and communication in relationships.
I grew up on the shores of southeastern Connecticut and have taken a round-about journey to Emerson. The short version: I have been a writer, a teacher, a small business owner, and a nonprofit director. Each of these experiences helped guide me to this place where I want to professionally harness whatever creativity and passion I have and use it to connect people and engage them on important social issues. I believe this is how I can best contribute to the creation of a slightly more tolerant, healthy, prosperous world, and sincerely look forward to working with and learning from everyone in the Engagement Lab.
In response to significant declines in civic knowledge and correlated declines in democratic participation, Jesse Fryburg is making an immersive film aimed at educators and parents in Greater Boston to raise awareness about the need for better civics education.
Riley is an Emerson Colloge alumnus who studied interactive media and screenwriting. He worked on "EEG AR (ElectroEncephelogram Augmented Reality): Things We've Lost"with artist and faculty John Craig Freeman. This inspired him to continue his new media education in the CMAP program. His past works include: mobile apps, text adventures and virtual reality art exhibits. Riley strives to prove that digital media can be beneficial to society and a means of artistic expression. His work often struggles with the ethical applications of new media, and he hopes to find answers in the CMAP program. He loves pretzels.
To help educate users on the causes of homelessness, Riley Hunt has created a variant of chess that explains the issues using narrative and game mechanics. Through the game, users will be encouraged to donate or volunteer to homeless shelters or other services that benefit individuals facing homelessness.
Allentza Michel is a policy advocate and an urban planner with a background in community organizing and program design and implementation. For the past 15 years she has diverse experience in the non-profit and public sectors at the local, national and international levels in:
Also an artist, Allentza likes to incorporate design thinking an cultural competency principles in planning and policy processes, which led her to start Powerful Pathways, a consulting collective which which assists public agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations design sustainable and equitable development plans and robust inclusive community engagement strategy. Ms. Michel received a Master's in Public Policy from Tufts University's Department of Urban and Environment Policy and Planning. She also holds a graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management from Boston University's Questrom School of Management and a BA in English and a BA in Social and Political Systems from Pine Manor College. she speaks Haitian Creole fluently.
Neil is a native New Yorker with a thirty-year career in media production. A three-time Grammy nominee, he spent ten years as a recording engineer, mixer and producer for some of the best known artists in the music industry. Since a 2003 move into visual media, he has lead the audio production/post production team at Scripps Networks Interactive in New York, creating sound design, music compositions and audio branding for Food Network, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel. At Scripps, he earned three Daytime Emmy nominations and has helped launch some of the most recognizable franchises on the network including the “Iron Chef” series, “Chopped,” and “Guy’s Big Bite”. In addition, he has also done extensive film work including co-writing the score for “Southern Belles” with Anna Faris and producing the soundtrack for Edward Burns’ “Purple Violets” with Selma Blair and Patrick Wilson. He was also Associate Producer of “We’re Not Blood,” winner of the Best Dramatic Feature Award at the 2015 Atlanta Docufest and “Home,” winner of a Jury Prize at the 2005 AFI/SilverDocs Festival.
In the Civic Media program, Neil is focused on creating filmed media interventions aimed squarely at social and political impact. He earned his bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Government at Harvard where he also studied public policy and legal studies.
Erica recently graduated with a major in Interactive Media from Emerson College, focusing on game and web design, and hopes to make games and media that are educational and community-oriented, helping people expand their minds and think about how the world functions as a whole. She loves to play simulation and world-building games when she’s not working on her own projects.
Gentrification, eviction, and displacement are on the rise in Boston; the city had the highest income inequality in the country in 2016. In order to increase citizen involvement in fighting these trends, Erica Salling is working with the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics to build a projected installation that prompts citizens to speak about their experiences within Boston’s changing communities.
Samantha is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Civic Media, Art & Practice at the Engagement Lab. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Film & New Media Studies at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts with an emphasis on African, African American & Diaspora studies, race, class and gender. As a New York City native, she has always been inspired by urban areas to ignite her creativity. Travel influenced her learning at a young age and she hopes to incorporate her experiences with travel in her artwork. During her time at Wheaton, Samantha studied abroad at the James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, taking courses in the Creative Media Arts Department. Samantha has worked in education, the non-profit sector, college access, early childhood development, and youth development. She hopes to leverage her past experiences to create better life outcomes for youth. Learning with the Engagement Lab, Samantha wants to create youth programming that uses media literacy education to examine the expansion and importance of literacy in a world where new digital technologies are constantly emerging. When Samantha is not working, she spends her time planning trips abroad, going on long runs, writing short screenplays, exploring new local eateries, and editing photos.
Samantha Viotty is partnering with the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library to produce a collective art piece with local teens using data about their community to show the necessity of building data literacy and its connection to civic life.
Jess' professional background is in strategic communications in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining CMAP, she was the Communications Director at Essential Partners, a nonprofit that promotes constructive dialogue across differences in identity and experience. Her expertise is content strategy, branding, and partnership-building. In Seattle, Washington, she worked in communications, outreach, and community engagement in the nonprofit and private sector. Prior to that position, she worked in a community engagement role in higher education, liaising between students, faculty, and nonprofit community partners. She is passionate about leveraging new media to enhance civic engagement, gender equity, and create new possibilities for how we talk about the defining issues for ourselves and our world.
Jessica Weaver is designing a game that will make the process of running for political office understandable, approachable, and fun for young women in partnership with IGNITE National, which trains high school and college women to run for office.
Research Programs Manager
Betsy Gardner is a researcher, facilitator, and educator specializing in conflict resolution, government transparency, and women's economic development. As both an adjunct professor and Assistant Director of Training at Northeastern University, she has facilitated for many diverse groups including Major League Baseball, the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Boston Police Department, and the New England Patriots. She has also practiced mediation and negotiation around the Boston area, most notably facilitating negotiation trainings for Boston’s Work Smart initiative, which aims to close the gender pay gap in Boston.
Betsy holds her MS in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern University, where she focused on gender equity and economic opportunity, and was a recipient of the Barry Bluestone “Think and Do Award” for evidence-based, policy-focused research influencing positive social change. Upon graduation, in spring 2017, she was selected to present that award-winning research on government spending at a roundtable hosted by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington DC.
An avid traveler, Betsy embarked on a seven-month trip through South America after graduation and upon returning, re-joined the Lincoln Institute as a Research Assistant. She is still currently researching and writing for a policy focus report on government spending and transparency, to be published in 2019.
Scott is an urban planner and civic technology specialist with a passion for making sure the city of the future is fun, fair and functional.
He earned his Master’s in City Planning at MIT, where he combined his interests in digital tools, urban design, and civic engagement. There, he built an app that transforms a social media feed into a live traffic map; designed an award-winning campus plan centered around public art and flexible open space; and drafted a radical zoning proposal that would turn Manhattan into a jungle of networked green roofs.
Prior to that, he honed his project management skills with YouthBuild USA, an organization founded on the principle that the nation’s young people are a brilliant resource rather than a needy burden. Before that, he was earning his undergraduate BS in Physics and BA in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.
Scott is at his best when inventing new tools and collaborating with diverse teammates on complex urban issues. When he’s not doing that, you can find him designing novel covers, trying out the latest recipe hacks, or biking the Minuteman trail with his wife.
Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and Associate Professor of the Pratice at MIT's Media Lab, where he heads research on Media Cloud, a system for quantitative analysis of agenda setting in digital media, and Promise Tracker, a platform that allows citizens to monitor powerful institutions using mobile and web technologies. He is the author of "Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection", published by W.W. Norton in June 2013. With Rebecca MacKinnon, Ethan co-founded international blogging community Global Voices. Global Voices showcases news and opinions from citizen media in over 150 nations and thirty languages. Ethan's research focuses on issues of internet freedom, civic engagement through digital tools and international connections through media. He blogs at http://ethanzuckerman.com/blog and lives in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.
Intisar A. Rabb is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program. She also holds an appointment as a Professor of History at Harvard University and as a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She previously served as an Associate Professor at NYU Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and at NYU Law School, and as an Assistant Professor at Boston College Law School; and teaches courses in criminal law, legislation and theories of statutory interpretation, and Islamic law. She also served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as a Temple Bar Fellow in London with the American Inns of Court, and as a 2010 Carnegie Scholar for her work on contemporary Islamic law reform. In 2015, she received awards from the Luce Foundation and the MacArthur Foundations for SHARIAsource – an online portal for content and context on Islamic law, designed to make available primary sources as well as informed scholarly commentary about them freely available. She has published on Islamic law in historical and modern contexts, including the monograph, Doubt in Islamic Law (Cambridge University Press 2015), an edited volume, Law and Tradition in Classical Islamic Thought (with Michael Cook et al., Palgrave 2013), and numerous articles on Islamic constitutionalism, Islamic legal maxims, and on the early history of the Qur'an text. She received a BA from Georgetown University, a JD from Yale Law School, and an MA and PhD from Princeton University. She has conducted research in Egypt, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere.
Jennifer manages UNDP’s Innovation portfolio for the Arab States region, covering 18 countries from the Gulf to the Maghreb. She manages regional activities to introduce new and alternative approaches to development, such as big data for development, games for social change, behavioural insights, and innovative forms of financing for development. She supports colleagues and partners in a continuous scanning of the horizon for fresh thinking to reframe development challenges, prototyping to quickly and inexpensively figure out what works and what does not, and “working out loud” to share successes and hard-won lessons learned. Prior to this position, Jennifer was an international development policy and programme advisor in UNDP Headquarters, with experience in capacity development and institutional effectiveness. Before joining the UN system, Jennifer worked for many years in the private sector as a management consultant with Accenture and Burson-Marsteller. Jennifer earned her Masters of Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) and her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University.
Matt Stempeck is excited to leverage Microsoft’s unique strengths to create social change and grow the civic technology ecosystem. As Microsoft’s Director of Civic Technology in New York City, Matt leads strategic outreach and develops creative engagement opportunities. Previously, Matt researched and designed technologies for civic impact at non-profits, startups, consultancies, and other technology companies. He has a Master's of Science from the MIT Media Lab, where he quantified global media attention to stories like Trayvon Martin, studied the emerging field of tech-driven peer-to-peer humanitarian aid, and built award-winning creative tools to fight misinformation online. Prior to MIT, Matt led online campaigns, communications, and tech trainings for the New Organizing Institute, Americans for Campaign Reform, and EchoDitto. Matt holds an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BA with honors from the University of Maryland College Park, where he wrote a thesis on the disruption blogs brought to mainstream journalism. He grew up outside of Boston (go Sox) and has also lived in London, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
Nigel Jacob is the Co-founder of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, a civic innovation incubator and R&D Lab within Boston’s City Hall. Nigel’s work is about making urban life better via innovative, people-oriented applications of technology and design. Prior to joining the City of Boston in 2006, Nigel worked in a series of technology start-ups in the Boston area.
He was also previously the Urban Technologist in Residence at Living Cities, a philanthropic collaboration of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, is currently a board member at organizations such as Code For America and the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, and is an Executive-in-Residence at Boston University.
Nigel’s work has been written about extensively in magazines such as Wired, MIT Technology Review, Fast Company and books including The Responsive City, by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford and Smart Cities by Anthony Townsend.
This ground breaking work has earned Nigel a number of awards including being named a Public Official of the year in 2011 by Governing Magazine, a Whitehouse Champion of Change and the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation award for 2012.
Paula Ellis retired last year from her position as vice president for strategic initiatives for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She was a member of the executive committee over national programs and new initiatives, responsible for developing and gauging the impact of the foundation’s overall strategy. She previously was vice president for operations at Knight Ridder, where she oversaw 15 newspapers and was a member of the Management Committee. Throughout her career as a news, corporate and civic leader, Ellis developed deep experience in national and community issues. From Washington, Ellis led Knight Ridder’s coverage of the end of the Cold War, the 1988 presidential elections and the Iran Contra Investigation. Later, as publisher of the The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, Ellis worked with local groups to foster civic leadership while drawing new readers to the paper. She named a Knight Ridder top performer three times. As an innovator in the journalism field, Ellis chaired Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board, was at the forefront of the coaching writers’ movement and helped found the National Writers Workshop. A Harvard Business School case study cited her work at The State in Columbia, S.C., where Ellis, then managing editor, led the transition to a digital newsroom. Ellis earned a bachelor’s degree in government and politics at the University of Maryland, where she was editor of the student daily. She graduated from Northwestern University with a master’s degree in journalism. She is married to Gary Galloway, a 30-year newspaper reporter, columnist and editor, now retired.
Sharon Amuguni is first year student in the Civic Media Art and Practice program. She is interested in the synthesis of art and media as a tool to revitalize communities, and initiate authentic dialogue and action around social issues. Sharon believes in the power of alternative creative production as a means of activism. Sharon is also a poet and is passionate about exploring conversations of emotional and mental health within communities of color. She thinks poetry can be a cathartic act of self care and resistance.
Jon grew up in Maryland, studied journalism and worked in the news industry for a few years before enrolling in Emerson’s CMAP program. He hopes to explore how media outlets can build stronger relationships with audiences and how news organizations can become more transparent, trustworthy and sustainable. He’s also interested in the therapeutic possibilities of civic participation and civic action grounded in spirituality. Jon’s dream is to one day manage a community space for civic discourse.
Jon loves playing guitar, doing crosswords, embarking on outdoor excursions and going to concerts. He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park, and has worked for POLITICO, Salzburg Global Seminar and the Montgomery Sentinel.
Aakanksha holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Having lived in three countries, she is intrigued by the ways in which media travel across different cultures, societies and histories. She is passionate about using media to convey narratives, especially ones that are often misrepresented. Music and film have really influenced her growth and self-expression. She is excited to learn how to use art and media technologies to help elevate the voices of marginalized communities and to work toward solving social issues. In her free time, Aakanksha writes and has her penchant for movie quotes, trivia and puns.
Lauren is a local government management professional seeking to learn about the role of new media in community engagement. Lauren started her career in journalism, where she worked as a storyteller, editor and designer for several news organizations, including the Chicago Tribune. Lauren received her bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Northern Illinois University and returned to NIU for a master's degree in public administration. Lauren has worked for nearly five years in the public sector throughout the suburbs of Chicago, where her experience has included strategic planning, labor relations, budget planning and community engagement. Lauren is also an active member of the nationwide organization Engaging Local Government Leaders. Through ELGL, she's helping to coordinate the creation of a database that displays race and gender data for local government management professionals throughout the United States. Lauren is eager to combine her previous professional experiences with her CMAP education, explore new methods for stakeholder engagement, and increase participation in democracy.
Anna Ladd is an artist who studied photography at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She uses image, installation, and sound to tell stories and create a dialog around social issues, and has helped to facilitate art projects between college and K-12 students. Her thesis work focuses on the power of participatory art and self-representation through visual media.
Becky hopes to combine her videography, photography, and graphic design skills with the power of the online community to evoke both positive individual growth and global change. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Film and Video Studies from George Mason University, with minors in Multimedia and Arts Management. Becky has worked within all aspects of the film production process, in marketing, and even at Walt Disney World, but by far her most rewarding work experience has been with the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) based in Washington, D.C. She has spent the past three years recounting students’ life-changing experiences at the NSLC through photos and short form videos. She has also had the opportunity to interview high profile guests who have come to speak at the conference, such as the President of the NAACP and the CEO of the American Psychological Association. Becky has also helped build and enhance social media platforms for multiple groups, ranging from elementary schools to documentary filmmakers. Being a photographer/videographer allows her to work with a variety of different people and organizations, which she loves because she’s always learning something new. In her free time, she loves to go on road trips, photograph abandoned places, and take naps with her cat. Becky is very excited to be pursuing her Master’s in CMAP and looks forward to spending a lot of time in the Engagement Lab!
For the last 8 years, I have served as Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS), a not-for-profit association I founded that advocates for digital media literacy and access. I am also owner and President of TimeScape Productions, a media content production company that focusses on increasing Canadians' awareness of their history and culture. My work has been exhibited on four continents, I have conducted workshops in community media around the world, and have won awards in drama, documentary, and news magazine programming in Canada and the US. I specialize in ways to engage audiences in storytelling to provoke social change.
Cathy's thesis project is to develop a transitional strategy for public-access TV stations that want to integrate new technologies including video games, AR and VR as tools of community expression and social change.
Justin Warren, between being a fire performer, chess instructor, game designer, musician, and filmmaker, has always found a way to keep the concept of play at the center of his life. He hopes to explore this passion and study how to harness play’s potential for social good as a Master of Arts student at the Engagement Lab. He's designing a digital game for civic participation as his thesis project, and is currently developing a podcast aimed at investigating play's role in society.
Melissa Teng is a Masters candidate in Civic Media at Emerson College. She is an interactive designer, developer, and artist. Her work is primarily concerned with data ownership, cultural imagination/memory, and creative placemaking. Previously she led the design of award-winning open data web platforms for governments in South and North America at a startup, Datawheel. Locally, she served as a gallery curator at EMW Bookstore, exhibiting artists from marginalized communities. She received her BA in Economics from Rice University.
Lindsy earned her BA from Merrimack College in Communication Arts and Sciences with a concentration in Mass Communication. During her time at Merrimack, she developed and co-founded WMCK, the college’s first ever student run radio station using experience she gained from WUML at the University of Massachusetts Lowell before landing at Merrimack. Following graduation, she was hired to manage and train the station’s new staff of over fifty student DJs, including many who had never had a radio show before. She is interested in how young people engage with mass media and how they can be encouraged to become involved in their communities using new media technologies that have become part of our daily lives. College radio helped her find her voice years ago and she seeks to help other people find their voices using mass media. Prior to entering the CMAP program, she worked in corporate security for a major US airline and spent time working at multiple Boston area radio stations. She also taught her two Australian Shepherds how to give high fives.
Stanley Dominique has been a long time organizer, artist, and community advocate in the city of Boston. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a B.A degree in Graphic Design, Mr. Dominique has dedicated a career in the non-profit sector working with a number of organizations on a variety of issues. Topics that he has worked on range from substance abuse, violence prevention, trauma response, HIV education, public safety, and youth development. He has joined CMAP to further explore the role of art and media technology and how it can be used as a tool to empower and engage communities. Through that lens, he hopes to bring back tools to provide a platform for the public to engage and inspire discussions with actions that help create social change that transfers into policy.
Social Media & Design Assistant
Alex is a technologist, cyberactivist, and graphic designer passionately working to make the open Web a better place. He is a senior at Emerson pursuing an independently-designed curriculum in Millennial Discourse & Digital Culture, which traces how organizations and individuals communicate, organize, and express themselves online.
Before joining the Lab, Alex worked with various nonprofit and corporate clients to create outstanding design and marketing materials. Today, you can find him managing the lab's social media profiles and assisting with various visual design projects.
Alex hopes to make the Internet more open, fair, and accessible, one post at a time.
Elisa H. Hamilton is a socially engaged multimedia artist whose practice focuses on the creation of inclusive artworks that emphasize shared spaces and the hopeful examination of our everyday places, objects, and experiences. She graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2007 with a BFA Painting. Since then, her work has been shown locally and nationally in solo and group exhibitions. In 2017 Hamilton was honored by the Improper Bostonian as Boston's Best Creative Catalyst. Her ongoing project "Dance Spot" has engaged with communities around Boston, as well as at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA and Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA.
She has been the recipient of four public art grants to create temporary public works in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood, and a Creative City grant from New England Foundation for the Arts. She has held artist residencies with Vermont Studio Center, Boston Center for the Arts, the Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts, and the Fenway Alliance. Projects include "Sound Lab," a special community sound project that was featured in "Listen Hear: The Art of Sound" at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, "Community Legacy," a participatory collaboration with the MIT List Visual Arts Center, and "Slideshow," an interactive installation co-presented by HUBweek and Now+There.
Vicki Rapti, PhD., is motivated by the concept of language in its endless modalities of play and this is what she passionately explores under many capacities: as a professor of comparative literature (English, French, Greek), author, poet, translator, editor, theater critic, cultural theorist and mentor. The author of several monographs, including "Ludics in Surrealist Theatre and Beyond" (Ashgate, 2013, Routledge, 2016; Francis & Taylor, 2017) and of several poetry collections and books of translation, she is co-founder and co-chair of the Ludics Seminar, Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University, and Director of the International Translation Committee of the multidisciplinary electronic journal "Levure Littéraire."
As a CMAP graduate student, she is looking forward to delving into the countless perceptible and imperceptible ways language “mediates” citizenship, especially in the frame of the initiative “Citizen TALES (Translators/Artists/Ludics Learners/Explorers/Storytellers) that she will run at the Engagement Lab during 2018-2019, an initiative revolving around a digital multilingual translation of Claudia Rankine’s "Citizen: An American Lyric" that will spearhead a series of research seminars and socially engaged art projects, all of which will be open to the public.
Manon Banta, Founder and Executive Director of the Mobile Film Classroom, is a graduate of Louisiana State University (BA), and American Conservatory Theatre (MFA), in San Francisco, where she performed with many Bay Area theater companies. After moving to Los Angeles, she directed the short documentaryProbable Odds on the world of thoroughbred horse racing, Probable Odds, filmed at Santa Anita Race Track. She has worked as a Field Producer for the Associated Press at the Sundance Film Festival, a Red Carpet Interviewer for the AFI Film Festival and Line Producer for several short films.
As Director of Educational Outreach of the Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education, Manon designed standards-based curriculum, connecting early cinema to modern filmmaking, to promote digital literacy among at-risk youth and is a founding member of the Los Angeles Digital Literacy Alliance (LADLA), a collaboration of youth arts program and technology access providers, education advocates and funders engaged in a community-wide plan for digital media/learning innovation for Los Angeles children ages 5-18. In 2013, Ms. Banta was one of 10 non-profit leaders chosen by Los Angeles Social Venture Partners to deliver a 3-minute fast pitch showcasing the innovative approach MFC uses to change the social fabric of under-resourced communities. Manon received a scholarship to Stanford University Graduate School of Business’ Executive Program for Non Profit Leadership in 201
Giles Bullen is a recent graduate of Tufts University, earning a dual degree in Media Studies and English. He has interned in an IDEAS Lab, working with children and teaching them various approaches to a STEAM education. Academically he has explored games and animation and their intersection with civics as tools of examination and critique as well as instruction. He hopes to continue exploring the ability of different media to engage children and young adults in the aspects of a solid civic education. Giles also served as president of the Tufts Tabletop Gaming Club.
Lea earned her BA from Merrimack College in Communication and Media Studies. Her interest in mass media sparked when she became involved at WMCK Merrimack College Radio. She spent her last two years at the station as the General Manager leading efforts in the development and expansion of the young station. Here she learned how impactful media is on our everyday lives. Through various service projects with Merrimack, she developed a passion for community activism through mass media. In April 2018 she presented research in mass media and diversity at the SSCA Conference in Nashville, TN.
Born in Worcester Massachusetts, Herman’s education has ranged from homeschooling, to Austrian boarding school, to his undergraduate degrees at Worcester State University. Majoring in Environmental Studies as well as Communication with a minor in Music, Herman developed a passion for documentary filmmaking during his time at WSU. He was also very involved on campus, taking part in groups such as Student Senate, as well as various honor societies. Herman’s biggest contribution during his undergraduate career was serving as Co-Chair of the non-profit Have a Heart Auction committee which raises funds for local charities.
Through such experiences he developed another strong passion for community-oriented involvement opportunities which led him to the Civic Media Art and Practice program here at Emerson. One of his main interests is learning how media is interpreted from various viewers and angles, and many of his artistic projects have played with such concepts. Some of Herman’s other interests include film, music, acting, travel, and playing sports such as basketball and soccer. He can be contacted through various social media platforms with the handle @hecklesthetiger.
Emily Baeza is a Los Angeles-born storyteller, photographer, designer, and activist. Emily earned her Bachelor of Arts in a self-designed program at Whittier College in 2013. Combining journalism and environmental advocacy, she investigated the ways one’s perceived natural world could be shaped by natural disasters and communicated through storytelling. Following undergrad, she worked professionally in the nonprofit sector, including two years as a mentor and role model with the AmeriCorps program City Year. It was with City Year that Emily’s passion for public service and civic engagement was ignited.
After her service, Emily transformed her creativity and love of digital storytelling into a communications career. For three years, she led communications efforts to amplify City Year Los Angeles’ mission to provide equitable education and close the opportunity gap for students. Emily’s award-winning awareness campaign efforts earned her recognition by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 2016. In her free time, Emily is a dedicated mentor with Las Fotos Project - a nonprofit that inspires teenage girls of color through photography, mentorship, and self-expression.
As a current Masters candidate in Civic Media at Emerson College, Emily is looking forward to deepening her understanding of the community in the digital age and hopes to make the world a better place for underserved youth and women of color.
Originally from Southern California, Isaiah is a recent graduate from Brown University where he received his dual B.A. in Literary Arts and English Nonfiction Writing. Having dedicated the majority of his undergraduate career to on-campus advocacy work for the first-generation college and low-income student communities at Brown, a first-gen and low-income student himself, Isaiah is particularly invested in the intersections of writing, social justice work, educational equity, and artistic activism.
Isaiah is also a poet and considers poetry to be a conduit for catharsis, closure, and resistance. His work in CMAP will strive to concretize these ideologies and intersections and create tangible and accessible initiatives geared toward artistic activism and social change.
Renée is a mover who finds her groove working with people to find a home in their bodies, in their creative selves, and in their local places and spaces. Together. And seeing what sort of choreography can be made with all of that to build momentum for good art and good change.
She has spent the past many years as a project manager at a community development organization growing an artist studio community and creating affordable housing. With a background in dance and an M.Ed. in Community Engagement, Renée approaches much of her community development work through the lens of movement dynamics: understanding what makes people move or be moved. She holds particular interest in how collaborative creative community-focused engagement can shift power dynamics of places and peoples, and the potential for advancing equity through intentional community processes.
Renée enjoys facilitating community arts workshops, bonding about the dreadfulness of attending city council meetings, teaching trauma-informed yoga and aerial fitness classes, and obsessing about her plants at her home in Lawrence.