Comparative Media Studies Graduate Students


Liam Andrew

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Liam Andrew Liam grew up in Iowa and Connecticut, where he made a racket with various musical instruments. In college he discovered he could study noises too; his senior thesis at Yale University explored the phonograph and the influence of recorded sound on literature and music. Since graduating, hats worn have included translator, book indexer, archivist, English teacher abroad, and most recently, software developer for Delve, a news reader and aggregator that helps organizations find and share important reads.

Liam's research interests range from the history of information, hypertext, and reference, to the verbal and visual representation of aural phenomena. He still makes noises as a sound designer and member of Dinowalrus.
Chelsea Barabas

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Chelsea Barabas In 2009 Chelsea graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in Sociology and minors in Arabic and Feminist Studies. Over the last four years, she has worked with an international development start-up called Nuru International. With Nuru, Chelsea headed up the development of co-learning and design opportunities between Western development practitioners and local social entrepreneurs.

Chelsea hopes to build from this experience during her time at MIT by exploring ways online platforms may be leveraged to foster communities of learning and practice, particularly in cross-cultural contexts. She is also interested in understanding how emerging technologies can be wielded to create stronger bridges between education and civic engagement by expanding learning from the classroom to other node’s of a learner’s life.

As a thin-blooded Texas native, Chelsea hopes to thrive in her studies by hiding from the cold weather (a.k.a. anything below 80 degrees) in the library and labs on campus. Her desk will be the one with the vitamin D sun lamp nearby.
Beyza Boyacioglu

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Beyza Boyacioglu Beyza Boyacioglu is a documentary filmmaker, video artist and curator. She directed the short 'Toñita's', a documentary portrait of the last Puerto Rican social club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Toñita's was produced during Beyza's fellowship at UnionDocs in 2013. The film premiered at MoMA Documentary Fortnight and has been exhibited in many venues including Morelia International Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Brooklyn Museum and Creative Time Summit. Toñita's was awarded Brooklyn Spirit Award at Brooklyn Film Festival and Audience Award at Boston Turkish Documentary Festival. Beyza's work as a video artist has been exhibited in many venues including MoMA (New York), The Invisible Dog Art Center (Brooklyn), NoteOn (Berlin), and Sakip Sabanci Museum (Istanbul).
Lily Bui

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Lily Bui Lily Bui holds dual bachelor's degrees in International Studies and Spanish from the University of California Irvine. Before joining MIT CMS, she worked at Public Radio Exchange (PRX), where she helped generate and distribute science public radio; and SciStarter, where she helped find and tell stories about citizen science. In other past lives, she has worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; served in AmeriCorps in Montgomery County, Maryland; worked for a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter; and performed across the U.S. as a touring musician.

At MIT, her masters research focuses on using sensors to support journalistic inquiry and how to communicate sensor-based data to the public. She is also a researcher at WRAP (Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communications), where she has helped evaluate and design MITx online modules for communication in materials science and chemical engineering at the undergraduate level.

In her spare time, she builds gadgets and thinks of cheesy puns. Like many graduate students, she is interested in anything and everything.
Kyrie Eleison Caldwell

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Kyrie Eleison Caldwell Kyrie E. H. Caldwell earned her B.A. in Art History and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a return to her Midwestern hometown after a good while spent in Conyers, Georgia. During that while, Kyrie played many video games, steeping herself especially in the rich worlds and stories of the Final Fantasy series. Since then, she thought about those video games through various humanistic lenses, from literature to folklore to Japanese studies to her undergraduate majors, until she realized that she could cut to the chase and directly study video games using those various humanistic lenses. Thus she found the wonderful people of UW-Madison's Games + Learning + Society group and now finds herself in CMS at MIT.

Kyrie's academic interests lie in transcendental experiences, particularly but not limited to those of mystical religious practices and play. Personally, she has been known to fence sabre and chase down frisbees, write wine auction catalogues and bake desserts, listen to much much music and wear fancy floral dresses. She suspects that her personal and academic interests are inseparably intertwined, thanks in large part to being raised by academics on a university campus. She is constantly inspired by her brother Piers, who is a musician and producer based in Berlin, Germany.
Heather Craig

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Heather Craig Heather Craig focuses her work on the connections between interactive media and community engagement. Prior to MIT, she ran a non-profit community media organization and worked for production and communication companies on media for broadcast, interactive exhibitions, and online distribution. At the MIT Center for Civic Media she works on projects related to civic data collection, interactive storytelling, and environmental engagement, and she co-organizes the DataLore Hackathon.

When she's not working on community-based technology projects, Heather enjoys climbing mountains and working on small-scale carpentry projects.
Suruchi Dumpawar

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Suruchi Dumpawar Suruchi Dumpawar was born and raised in central India, where she graduated with a B.Tech in Electronics and Communications Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Nagpur. She worked at Oracle SSI, Bangalore as a part of the Interfaces & Conversions team developing interfaces across various modules of Oracle applications. After receiving her photography education at the National Institute Of Design, Ahmedabad, she co-founded Lucida—an art, research and education driven photographers’ collective. Her photography work exploits the idiom of documentary photography to wheedle out visual narratives by revealing subtle details, making connections apparent and informing insights into her subjects.

Suruchi hopes to utilize her background in visual communication and information technology to explore the notion of experientiality through multiple media platforms. A self-proclaimed film buff and a fledgling filmmaker, Suruchi has a keen interest in digital storytelling. She loves to travel, derives great pleasure from poring over books and is continually fascinated by language, light & the human brain.
Sean Flynn

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Sean Flynn Sean Flynn is a documentary producer, cinematographer, and festival programmer. He is the Director of the Points North Documentary Forum at Camden International Film Festival and a co-founder of the DocYard screening series in Cambridge, MA. Sean began his filmmaking career at Boston-based Principle Pictures as the Associate Producer and Co-Director of Photography on the feature documentary Beyond Belief, which premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Sundance Channel. As a cinematographer, Sean has worked in 15 countries – including conflict zones like Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, and the West Bank. As a producer, he has helped garner support for numerous social issue film projects from many of the nation’s leading documentary funders, including ITVS, NEH, Cinereach, Fledgling Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and the Tribeca Film Institute. Most recently, he was a producer on The List, which premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.

Much of Sean's documentary film work involves investigating the points of contact between societies widely separated by conflict or inequality. In 2012, he spent four months researching the emergence of slum tourism in Mumbai while on a Fulbright fellowship. Sean's research interests include exploring the ways that new media technologies can be leveraged to disrupt the traditional relationships between filmmaker, subject and audience, creating new forms of nonfiction storytelling.

Sean received a B.A. from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.
Desi Gonzalez

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Desi Gonzalez A researcher, writer, educator, and media maker, Desi Gonzalez studies the potential of digital media to encourage meaningful engagement with the arts. Her current research investigates how change and innovation occur in cultural institutions, specifically focusing on an emerging wave of initiatives in art museums that invite visitors and artists to create with new technologies. At MIT's HyperStudio, she works on the design and evaluation of tools dedicated to supporting research and learning in the humanities, including an art discovery mobile app and a collaborative annotation platform. Before coming to MIT, Desi spent a year as a Kress Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art developing educational materials such as wall texts, audio tours, games, websites, and the interactive learning space MoMA Art Lab: Movement. Prior to that, she managed and wrote texts for the Whitney Museum of American Art's website for young artists, For Kids.

Puerto Rico-born and Maryland-raised, Desi graduated from Emory University with majors in art history and linguistics. She writes for various culture publications about art, language, feminism, and occasionally the intersection of all three. In her spare time, she’s probably eating dessert.
Anika Gupta

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Anika Gupta Anika grew up near Washington, DC, where she wrote her first poem at the age of 6. A passion for all things dramatic and literary led her to become co-president of her high school's Shakespeare Club, and later to a degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School. After graduating, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine, where her favorite subjects included invasive lionfish and disappearing Indian forts. In 2009, she moved to New Delhi, India, and started working as a national science correspondent, covering nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and climate change, among other subjects.

In 2012, she started the New Delhi chapter of Hacks/Hackers, a collaborative group of journalists and technologists who meet to brainstorm the future of news. A little after that, she joined the TV channel CNN IBN to head CJ Online - a digital storytelling project focused on user-generated content and collaborative news. She has been invited to speak on media panels about creating stakeholders in online journalism, and at entrepreneurship conferences about participatory and new media. Her articles have appeared in Smithsonian, Fortune, the Guardian, and elsewhere.
Lilia Kilburn

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Lilia Kilburn Lilia is curious about interactions between the voice and technology--everything from invasive vocal surgeries to Auto-Tune. In her work, she seeks to get at the ways in which writers can speak to the subtleties of the human voice through techniques drawn from ethnography, creative nonfiction, and audio documentary.

Lilia has alternately lived near and far from her birthplace, Boston. She graduated from Amherst College and has worked as a graphic designer, a jukebox refurbisher, and a researcher in Cameroon and South Africa. Lately she's been at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics studying public discourse on autism, which dovetails with her broader interest in understanding how minority groups the world over contend with popular conceptions of their lives. She likes reading fiction aloud and really good mustard.
Lacey Lord

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Lacey Lord Lacey Lord was born and raised in Southern Indiana. She earned a B.A. in English with a concentration in Literature and minors in Digital Media and Peace and Conflict Resolution from Ball State University. Lacey is most interested in the ways in which digital media are affecting how we consume, construct, and participate within fictional and nonfictional stories. Her most recent projects include an extensive exhibit on the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut for the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library and two transmedia projects for the Indiana State Museum, Transmedia Indiana and Transmedia Star Wars. She was also a design editor at The Broken Plate, Ball State’s national literary magazine, and published a short memoir as a member of The Invictus Writers in 2013.
Gordon Mangum

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Gordon Mangum Gordon Mangum joins MIT's CMS department having worked in radio and media development for the last decade. He was previously Country Director of Internews Sudan, which built a network of six community radio stations in South Sudan and border areas of Sudan. While there he directed the training of local journalists in the run-up to the vote for independence in 2011. He has also consulted with radio projects in Somalia, Uganda and Cambodia. He was most recently Chief Engineer of WERS in Boston, where he helped students learn about radio broadcasting and analyzed digital strategies, and has previously work at Maine Public Radio and ESPN Radio Boston. His interests include developing and improving information systems, participatory civics, and music. Gordon holds a dual B.A. from the University of Virginia in Philosophy and Religious Studies.
Jesse Sell

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Jesse Sell Jesse Sell’s thesis work focuses on broadcasting and spectating in the realm of professional video gaming. He currently works as a research assistant in the Education Arcade, where he designs educational video games. In the summer of 2014, Jesse spent time in Cologne, Germany working on the public relations team for Turtle Entertainment, the largest professional video gaming broadcasting/management company in the world. Coming from fields as varied as anthropology, finance, and game design, During his time with Turtle Entertainment, he acquired skills in managing press rooms for large events, writing press releases, pitching to potential investors, and creating media/press kits. While working as a mortgage consultant in Philadelphia, he became familiar with client relations and compliance. His time with the MIT Education arcade has helped him develop a deep understanding of the iterative process required for design projects. Jesse received a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012.
Erik Stayton

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Erik Stayton Erik Stayton is a writer, designer, and programmer interested in the cultural and social effects of new technologies and new modes of technological work. His current project investigates the prospective social and cultural effects of widespread adoption of autonomous algorithmic technologies in everyday life--specifically, driverless vehicles. The main questions of the project are how citizens should understand the capabilities and roles of these new technologies, how those understandings are being formed through the statements of engineers, marketing teams, and legal scholars, and what effects those understandings will have for our senses of self and our relationships to each other. Erik has also investigated the effects of the affordances of different programming languages on the work that gets done within the IT industry, issues of copyright, patent, and privacy law, and the history of what constitutes scientific knowledge.

Erik received an Sc.B. in a physics and English dual concentration at Brown University in 2011. He currently works as a research assistant in the Trope Tank at MIT, a creative computing laboratory. He also co-runs Cinnamon Bird, a programming partnership building tools for distributed knowledge production. He plays guitar, and enjoys mountain biking, archery, iaido, and swing dance.
Andy Stuhl

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Andy Stuhl Andy's work centers on the technologies and social infrastructures behind creative labor. He's particularly interested in understanding how people make music and what it can tell us about digital mediation. At Stanford, he majored in Science, Technology, and Society—an interdisciplinary program that let him piece together coursework in media studies, computer science and music technology—and minored in Creative Writing. His undergraduate thesis examined reactions to the cultural status of analog tools in sound recording communities.

Andy grew up in St. Louis but lately keeps coming back toward his birthplace near Boston; he's worked as a developer on an audio software team at Avid and, most recently, spent a year helping to design and develop interactive pieces at Small Design Firm. He likes to cook, mess with machines and explore resonant spaces for positive expression.
Ainsley Sutherland

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Ainsley Sutherland Ainsley graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Economics. Her studies have focused on economics, visual art history, cybernetics and media culture, and interactive narrative.

Ainsley has worked variously as an illustrator, game designer, curriculum designer, and most recently as a research specialist at Game Changer Chicago, where she co-designed transmedia games and stories to promote healthy behaviors alongside youth. She is interested in how real-time feedback causes users to modify their behavior, within social arenas and especially within narrative arenas.

Ainsley hails originally from Baltimore and also likes her dog Kodiak, speculative fiction, other people's poetry, cyclocross, and big ships.
Deniz Tortum

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Deniz Tortum After growing up in Istanbul, Deniz Tortum moved to the US to study film at Bard College. As his graduation film, he shot his first feature film, Zayiat, which has been selected for SxSW and !F Istanbul Film Festivals. Until recently, Deniz had been based in New York, working on several documentary projects. He has also been a board member of New York Film and Video Council, the longest running non-profit organization in New York. At MIT, Deniz will be joining the Open Documentary Lab. His research interests include interactive archives of places and hybrid documentary forms.
Wang Yu

Graduate Student, CMS, '15
Wang Yu Wang Yu spent his years empowering Chinese grass root NGOs with technology. As a member of NGO 2.0 China project, He participated in building the Philanthropy Map, which is designed to help Chinese NGOs and corporations find each other's needs. He also attended Web 2.0 workshops for Chinese NGOs as an instructor, to train them how to utilize social media to achieve their goal.

As a graduate student at University of Science and Technology of China, Wang is interested in software developing and engineering, science communication, online education, data analysis, mining and visualization. He believes that the well-being of society resides in collaborative solving social issues and sharing delight about knowledge, life, and the world.