Comparative Media Studies Graduate Students


Katie Arthur

Graduate Student, CMS, '17
Katie Arthur Studying English Literature and Politics at the University of Glasgow in (not so) sunny Scotland, Katie worked alongside her degree as part of the student-led initiative ‘GUEST’. The Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team, embedded in Estates and Buildings, aimed to lobby the University Court to commit to substantial environmental policies whilst also raising awareness and facilitating behavioural change within the university community. Starting as Events and Journalism Promoter, Katie became Coordinator of the team and strove to build a coherent brand identity and sustainable legacy for the team by integrating into the university infrastructure.

Working for GUEST inspired Katie to put her understanding of both literature and politics to good use and she hopes that MIT CMS will found her the knowledge and experience to construct innovative and effective communications strategies for third-sector groups - particularly those involved in the communication of environmentalism.

With an intellectual passion grounded in enthusiasm for real grassroots social change and consciousness-raising, Katie’s interests lie in empowerment through discourse and discursive strategies.
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 humanist 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 through those various humanist lenses. Thus she found the wonderful people of UW-Madison's Games + Learning + Society group and now finds herself in CMS at MIT, working at the MIT Game Lab and The Education Arcade.

Kyrie's academic interests lie in many directions and disciplines, but for the time being she has settled on the ways in which game design reflects, comments upon, simulates, and seeks to challenge or affirm broader cultural ideas and systems. She believes that both playfulness and emotionality have a distinct and rigorous place in scholarship and life in general, and in the spirit of that, she has published work on the parallels between mystical religious practices and video game play, love as a game mechanic (forthcoming), and a reflexive exploration of how one’s play history shapes one’s life (forthcoming).

Personally, Kyrie has been known to fence sabre and chase down frisbees, listen to much much music and wear fancy dresses, and (unsurprisingly) play all sorts of games. She has no doubt that she is where she is in large part because of her brilliant, driven, and supportive family and friends.
Josh Cowls

Graduate Student, CMS, '17
Josh Cowls Josh Cowls joins the CMS program at MIT having previously gained degrees from the universities of Exeter and Oxford. Most recently, Josh served as a Research Assistant at the Oxford Internet Institute, working on projects researching the impact of the rise of data in various forms - Big and small, Open and closed - on society, policy and academia. Though a native of the UK, Josh's treasonable preference for coffee over tea has led him to the US on numerous occasions: he has previously worked on presidential and senatorial races in New Hampshire, with a particular interest in how online tools and technologies are transforming modern election campaigns. Josh's work has appeared in journals such as FirstMonday and Policy & Internet, and he has frequently appeared on national and international radio discussing politics and technology. His wider interests include increasingly experimental cookery, sports such as rowing and running, and Oxford commas.
Sue Ding

Graduate Student, CMS, '17
Sue Ding Sue Ding is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia producer. She has worked on arts/culture and public affairs projects for media outlets including PBS, WGBH, Tumblr, and International Channel Shanghai. Her production credits also include several Emmy Award-winning programs for New York City's public television stations.

Sue graduated from Brown University with a double major in Visual Arts and International Relations, and has also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of Visual Arts, and the Université Paris-Sorbonne.

At MIT, Sue works at the Open Documentary Lab and explores new forms of nonfiction storytelling. Her research interests include emerging media technologies, identity construction, and visual culture. She is also passionate about pop culture, travel, art, social justice, and mythology and folklore.
Anika Gupta

Graduate Student, CMS, '16
Anika Gupta A former journalist and product manager, Anika has spent the past year doing her MIT graduate thesis on how news organizations can better leverage online comment communities. She's interested in how mainstream media organizations are succeeding or failing at addressing niche communities, and how successful community-building can be part of a news org's long-term strategy.

She graduated with 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. From 2009-2014 she worked abroad in New Delhi, first as a science and technology reporter and later as a product manager for collaborative news. She also started Hacks/Hackers New Delhi, a grassroots group of journalists & technologists.

Her articles have appeared in Smithsonian, Fortune, the Guardian, and elsewhere.
Evan Higgins

Graduate Student, CMS, '17
Evan Higgins A DC area native and SF/Fantasy fanboy, Evan Higgins earned a B.A. in English Literature and B.S. in Marketing from the University of Maryland. After interning at a rock radio station in college, he went on to work in the education department at PBS. Once there, Evan moved between the station relations, marketing and sales teams before settling onto the content/editorial team where he helped design educational resources and discovered his passion for content creation and refinement.

Evan's love of fictional worlds has led him to CMS at MIT to study the way in which new media formats inform authorial ownership of their creation. Focusing on the relationship between canonical and non-canonical pieces of media, he is interested in how collaborative storytelling can be used to tell fuller, more immersive narratives. He can usually be found replaying early aughts video games, searching out up-and-coming rappers, and trying foods he can't pronounce.
Chris Kerich

Graduate Student, CMS, '17
Chris Kerich Chris Kerich is a programmer, artist, and human being. He worries about forgetting the latter when focusing on the former. Chris has a bachelor's in Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University but likes to tell people that he very nearly minored in film. He has spent time in the trenches of professional software engineering and unprofessionally working with system-focused art (some of which is on his website

Chris' interests lie in what he calls critical systems studies, or, critically reading systems/algorithms as media & asking the important questions of For Whom, Why, and How. As praxis this can take many forms, but one of particular importance to him is pushing digital and non-digital systems to their absolute limits and seeing how this stress characterizes or fractures them. At MIT Chris hopes to flesh these ideas out further, do in-depth case studies, and make a lot of art.
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.
Nathan Saucier

Graduate Student, CMS, '17
Nathan Saucier Nathan Saucier is a filmmaker and educator. Returning from two years teaching English and media classes at a university in South Korea, he joins CMS to work with the Creative Communities Initiative while pursuing diverse interests in non­fiction media making and education.

Nathan is a graduate of Bard College’s film department, where he created documentaries and narrative shorts inspired by his time in Romania and the Balkans.

His background includes work in film production and video streaming in Los Angeles. These experiences helped shape his interest in the culture and capabilities of live streaming. He is further interested in the relationship between filmmaker and subject in the context of participatory documentaries.
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.
Yao Tong

Graduate Student, CMS, '17
Yao Tong Yao Tong graduated from the University of Michigan, double majoring in Communication Studies and Economics. Growing up in Beijing, Yao took a particular interest in the complex interplay between political, economic, and cultural contexts impacting new media in Asia. Most recently, she interned at China Central Television (CCTV) as a director assistant, where her tasks involved coming up with an effective propagation strategy in the face of the continuous mediocre television ratings. To delve deeper, Yao conducted an independent research project on microblogging services in China and revealed substantial insights on how cultural and social factors dictate the way Chinese people communicate online.

At MIT, Yao joins the Center for Civic Media and assists Professor Jing Wang’s NGO 2.0 project.

In her spare time, Yao is an ardent jazz music lover and an enthusiastic pianist in chamber music groups on campus. She swims every day to keep fit, and loves to go to BSO (Boston Symphony Orchestra) to admire her favorite musicians such as Evgeny Kissin and Anna Netrebko.
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 works with the Open Documentary Lab. His research interests include interactive archives of places and hybrid documentary forms.
George Tsiveriotis

Graduate Student, CMS, '17
George Tsiveriotis George moved to the San Francisco Bay Area six years ago after attending high school in Athens, Greece. At Stanford, he earned his B.S. in Symbolic Systems, an interdisciplinary program with coursework in computer science, psychology, philosophy, and linguistics. Upon graduation, he found himself in the awkward position of touting a concentration in "Decision Making & Rationality" with no concrete plans for the future.

After research positions in cognitive science and education labs and stints in healthcare and payments startups, George most recently spent a year in media relations at Facebook. While there, he collaborated with tech reporters from outlets such as WIRED and The Washington Post on stories about a wide range of topics including tech accessibility, the Silicon Valley gender gap, and the role of analog art in online communities.

At MIT, George hopes to explore real and imagined power structures in social and participatory media and their effects on identity representation, self expression, and civic engagement. He likes stand-up comedy and Björk.
Maya Wagoner

Graduate Student, CMS, '17
Maya Wagoner Maya M. Wagoner is an interaction designer and organizer born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles. Prior to MIT, she received her bachelor's degree in American Studies from UC Santa Cruz, and participated in the User Experience Design Immersive program at General Assembly, a small technology school in San Francisco. Most recently, she worked with the Engagement Lab at Emerson College to develop Boston Civic Media, a new consortium of schools and universities dedicated to civic media research and pedagogy, and to help design an educational game for the World Bank. While in the Bay Area, she was a core organizer of Code for San Francisco and worked as a usability researcher for Intel.

She is interested in interfaces and edges of all kinds, and would like to spend her time at MIT developing a design practice based around research justice and community participation in the creation of digital services.

In her spare time, she can be found wandering into spaces she’s never been to before, navigating the awkwardness of ethnic ambiguity, and participating in secret santas year-round.