Graduate Students: Comparative Media Studies


Iago Bojczuk
Graduate Student, CMS, '20
Iago Bojczuk Iago Bojczuk is a journalist and global media researcher from Brazil. His research deals with the global flow of media cultures and technologies and their creative appropriations by underserved communities in the Global South. Iago earned a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies from the University of Oregon, where he graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. His honors thesis addressed the relations between young Brazilian’s use of Internet memes and their engagement with the public discourse during the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.

With interdisciplinary interests, Iago's experiences span from technology to human rights and from education to youth activism. As an undergraduate student, he served as a delegate during the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. As a youth delegate, he also engaged with various global leadership programs in the United States, Brazil, and Jordan. In 2017, Iago was appointed as an Oxford Consortium Human Rights Fellow and completed a seminar at the University of Oxford.

At MIT, Iago works as a research assistant at Global Media Technologies & Cultures Lab with Dr. Lisa Parks, with whom he recently co-led with other CMS graduate students a J-WEL funded workshop titled SITS (Social IT Solutions) for Computer Science students at the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) in Tanzania, East Africa. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Jorge Paulo Lemann Fellowship, whose goal is to support graduate students dedicated to creating social impact in Brazil. Apart from academia, Iago enjoys spending time exploring new cultures, learning about art, and listening to Brazilian music.
Elizabeth Borneman
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '20
Elizabeth Borneman Elizabeth is a designer, writer, and researcher interested in how art, computation, and communication can combine to strengthen community structures, and enhance learning across learner backgrounds. A Florida native, Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology from Georgetown University. There she led a research team in the Culture and Emotions Lab investigating the campus climate for patterns in students’ belonging and social engagement across university locations and situational contexts. She also spent a semester in Cape Town, South Africa as a field researcher studying plant systems and animals’ optimal foraging, ideal free distribution, and territorial defense behaviors.

She most recently worked as a designer and programmer artist in Xaq Pitkow’s Computational Neuroscience lab, where she designed and prototyped interactive graphics and games for teaching and communicating concepts in computational neuroscience and in color vision grounded in visual perception. She’s excited about the power of info-visualization. At MIT, Elizabeth works in the Teaching Systems Lab designing multi-media practice spaces and curriculum for equitable teaching in Computer Science and STEM. Outside of study, Elizabeth likes to go dancing, spend time on the water, and explore outdoors.
Diego Cerna Aragon
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '21
Diego Cerna Aragon Diego Cerna Aragon is a technology and media researcher from Peru. His work focuses on discourse analysis, expert knowledge, and the uses of new technologies. He earned a bachelor's degree in Communication from the University of Lima.

In Peru, Diego worked as a communications official and researcher at the Institute of Peruvian Studies, one of the most long-standing think tanks in the country. During this experience, he explored how bureaucrats employed different new technologies, such as digital platforms for technical cooperation and algorithmic systems for socioeconomic classification.

Diego has also been involved in political transparency initiatives from civil society. He was part of Open Parliament, a project dedicated to gather, store and publish data from official activities of members of the Peruvian Congress.

At MIT, Diego works as a research assistant at the Global Media Technology and Cultures Lab. For his master's thesis, he plans to explore the representation of economic expertise in Peruvian media.
Anna Chung
Graduate Student, CMS, '20
Anna Chung Anna Woorim Chung is a digital media researcher and designer. She explores ways of representing spaces and information through mediums like VR, 360 video, and data visualization.

Born and raised in southeast Michigan, Anna first made her way out west to attend Pomona College, where she studied Media Studies and Computer Science. Along the way, she worked on VR research at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies and published a paper on Computer Science education.

Anna’s current projects aim to engage people in understandings of gentrification and civic engagement. At MIT, she joins the Center for Civic Media, where she hopes to continue working on projects and tools that critically examine digital and physical spaces and make them more inclusive.

After school, Anna loves exploring cities, playing basketball, improving her Korean, and napping.
Will Freudenheim
Graduate Student, CMS, '21
Will Freudenheim Will Freudenheim is a researcher and game designer. His work is focused on investigating how people read and ascribe meaning to their environments through emerging media platforms, and considering new applications of contextual media in the development of educational tools.

Will graduated from Wesleyan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Science in Society. His honors thesis presented a theoretical framework called the “embodied interface” to study the unique facets of augmented reality, examining the relationships between graphical interfaces, locative media, human environmental perception, and networks of human and algorithmic actors in the production of experiences of space. Recently, Will worked as a game designer and resident at NYU’s Game Center Incubator, where he co-led the development of a puzzle and exploration game called Crosshatch. At MIT, Will joins the Education Arcade, where he hopes to participate in creating games and systems to invite students to develop new understandings of their environments.

In his free time, Will likes to compose music and sound design for independent animators.
Tomás Guarna
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '22
Tomás Guarna Tomás Guarna is a social scientist and media practitioner from Argentina. He is interested in critical infrastructure studies, data privacy, and the geopolitics of Internet access. At CMS, he looks forward to answering questions like: how do citizens in the Global South experience the possibilities of the Internet, and how does this change compared to users in the North? How can Internet access be democratized?

Tomás graduated in 2018 from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella with a B.A. in Social Sciences, focusing on Latin American history. Following that, he worked for the Presidency of Argentina’s Digital Communications Team, collaborating on the Presidency’s digital strategy and creating content for its social media accounts.

In addition to his work in technology and politics, Tomás has created several public digital media projects. Among them, the most notable ones are Un Amor de Verano, an email exchange project that gathered more than 2.000 participants, and, a newsletter for cultural events in Buenos Aires that has more than 7.000 active subscribers.
Judy Heflin
Graduate Student, CMS, '20
Judy Heflin Judy Heflin is a writer, programmer, and researcher focusing on computational narrative intelligence and the literary aspects of new media. She graduated from Yonsei University in South Korea with a BA in Comparative Literature and Cultures and a certificate in creative writing. Judy has since created content for media companies across the globe, ranging from editorial content at various print publications to virtual and augmented reality livestreams at some of the largest competitive gaming events in the world. At MIT, Judy works at the Trope Tank assisting with interactive fiction systems and computational narrative models.
Elon Justice
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '21
Elon Justice Elon is a videographer and writer with an interest in digital media platforms and co-creative storytelling. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2017 with a B.A. in TV/Film Production and a minor in Creative Writing, and most recently worked as a commercial producer for a local television station in Bowling Green, KY.

An Eastern Kentucky native, Elon has long been acutely aware of media portrayals of underrepresented populations that are often one-dimensional, stereotypical, or altogether inaccurate. She aims to combat this phenomenon by working alongside these populations to co-create media that allows for more varied and truthful representations of their regions.

In her free time, Elon enjoys traveling, over-analyzing her favorite music and TV shows, and teaching others how to correctly pronounce her name (Hint: It’s not like Elon Musk).
Srushti Kamat
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '22
Srushti Kamat Srushti Kamat is a writer/producer examining the intersection of filmmaking, emerging technology and civic participation. Born in Mumbai, India, she was raised in Singapore and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Hon.) in History and Journalism from the University of Oregon.

During her undergraduate years, she co-founded and co-directed Majesty Digital, an initiative to bring women of color both behind and in front of the camera. Her thesis examined the role of Instagram’s features in crafting space for South Asian micro-influencers of the diaspora utilizing the hashtag #unfairandlovely to create and challenge their own hyphenated identities. She realizes that was a long sentence and thanks you for sticking around. At MIT, she is keen to expand upon virtual space-creation and the tools it can provide for impending and ongoing global issues within health, education and activism.

While she has produced films internationally, from Sri Lanka and Vietnam to Washington state and England, the guiding inquiry at the center of this work has remained focused on counter-perceptions of place, identity and home. She joins class of ’22 after working as a producer at Blue Chalk Media in Portland, Oregon, Telescope Studios, Singapore and on projects for Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Andrea Kim
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '21
Andrea Kim Andrea Kim is a documentarian and media-maker interested in how media technologies and storytelling practices build social narratives. In undergrad, Andrea drew from feminist and decolonial theories of embodiment to understand immersive media by how it organizes the perceptual modes of the material body. This interest in the body has led her to her work at the Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies at Duke, where she investigated how the design of medical technologies influences access to cervical health in low-resourced settings. To this end, she is developing The (In)visible Organ, a documentary film and digital storytelling initiative to destigmatize reproductive health.

At heart, Andrea is interested in participatory learning and socio-cultural exchange in the context of an increasingly globalized world. In the past, she worked in schools in Durham, NC and Arusha, Tanzania to incorporate visual learning to education curriculum. Recently, Andrea worked with Moroccan youth in Agadir with the goal to creatively engage future leaders through activities like building a flashlight circuit and co-creating portraits with their peers. At MIT, Andrea is working with the Open Documentary Lab to explore collaborative and immersive storytelling methods.
G. R. Marvez
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '22
G. R. Marvez G. R. Marvez is an education technology researcher and designer interested in classroom conversations. As a researcher, their work focuses on helping teachers prepare to facilitate difficult classroom discussions through digital conversation simulators with the Teaching Systems Lab at MIT. Marvez aims to prime all teachers for leading engaging discussions with their students.

During their undergrad, Marvez taught in Russia with Global Teaching Labs and in Cambridge public and charter schools as a part of MIT’s teacher education program. As a student teacher, they have worked in 12th grade English and 8th grade science classes. Marvez has earned a Bachelor of Science in Brain and Cognitive Sciences with a Concentration in Education from MIT.

Outside of academia and the classroom, Marvez enjoys interactive fiction, creating puzzles, and designing haunted houses.
Sam Mendez
Graduate Student, CMS, '20
Sam Mendez Sam is a researcher and animated filmmaker. His films focus on cities and experimental documentary techniques; his research focuses on health equity.

Sam wants to use collaborative methods and documentary techniques to improve research partnerships. How do we align people in partnership between universities and community groups? How do we center underserved communities in this work? Sam aims to find answers by working with MIT’s Open Doc Lab and public health researchers.

Sam did his undergrad at Harvard, where his thesis was an animated documentary about a bodega. His inspiration came from community-based participatory research at Harvard's Viswanath Lab. In his time there, Sam worked on public health communication research. After graduation, he focused on video projects. This included a wheelchair travel series he directed in Ho Chi Minh City.

More recently, he worked on public health research at Northwestern's Simon Lab. There, he focused on community engagement for a collaborative U54 grant. He also led the user-centered design process for a web resource about clinical trials.

In his free time, Sam likes to learn more about web accessibility and performance art.
Roya Moussapour
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '21
Roya Moussapour Roya Moussapour is a researcher and designer passionate about increasing educational equity and access for diverse populations of students. She is interested in the use of educational technology in the K-12 system, and hopes to study how design of educational tools is expanding from a narrow focus on numerical evaluation towards a broader inclusion of multiple intelligences, such as creativity and collaboration.

Roya holds a Bachelor of Arts in Physics with a minor in Education from Bowdoin College. At Bowdoin, she conducted research in both experimental physics and education and spent time working with students in Maine public schools. Prior to attending MIT, Roya worked at Compass Lexecon, an economic consulting firm in Boston, providing data analysis and research for litigation and labor matters in the aviation and energy industries.

At MIT, Roya works in the Teaching Systems Lab, exploring and developing unique methods for teacher learning. Outside of her academic pursuits, Roya serves as concertmaster of the Boston chapter of the Me2/Orchestra, an ensemble with a mission to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness through performance and outreach.
JJ Otto
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '21
JJ Otto JJ Otto (pronouns they/he) is a writer, researcher, and gamer most recently from Minneapolis, MN. In writing, JJ explores unique ways to present stories, and spends a lot of time world-building for TTRPGs. As a researcher, JJ’s interests center on games and storytelling in general as versatile mediums to incite social change and promote personal growth. Particularly, JJ is interested in tabletop games as platforms to teach creative writing and social skills, and assist in the safe exploration of one’s identity. Through novel narrative structures, cooperative play, and thoughtful representation, JJ aims to help bring new players and experiences to game culture and make it more accessible to diverse groups.

JJ graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in Psychology and a BS in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. While in college, they worked as a research assistant for various psychology labs and conducted an independent study on the game This War of Mine to learn more about how games influence our empathy and social consciousness. In Denmark, JJ studied the development of the asexual community in Copenhagen, and learned a lot about identity development, exposure to diverse identities, and the importance of representation for those in marginalized communities. The winter before graduating JJ worked with an indie game team at GLITCH to create a puzzle game in just 24 hours, and they took the game to a couple conventions for playtesting. After graduating, JJ continued to attend game events at GLITCH, and worked for Pearson Clinical Assessment as a field research coordinator.​​
Ámbar Reyes
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '22
Ámbar Reyes Ámbar Reyes is a filmmaker and media researcher from Mexico. She has a deep interest in the documentary as a way to explore, represent and engage with the world. Her work revolves around questions of memory, migration, and identity. Ámbar believes that co-creation and storytelling through a multiplicity of voices is a powerful way to delve into unspoken and underappreciated perspectives of social phenomena.

She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey with a BA in Digital Arts and Animation. She has used audiovisuals to document and disseminate projects within the realms of academia, technology, and science. At MIT, she aims to push the boundaries of documentaries, and to ignite conversations and research which may act as vehicles for social change.

Outside of academia, Ámbar can usually be found biking along the Charles. She enjoys dancing (salsa, anyone?) and exploring outdoors. You can check her work at
Ben Silverman
Graduate Student, CMS, '20
Ben Silverman Ben Silverman is an electronic musician, multimedia artist, software developer, and humanities researcher interested in participatory culture, archives, fandom studies, queer online subcultures, and the ethnographic study of virtual worlds. More generally, his research concerns the ways that groups of people organize and behave socially online, and the affective aspects of human-computer interaction.

Before attending MIT, Ben earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Brown University with a concentration in computer music. Towards this undergraduate degree, he produced an honors thesis in ethnomusicology regarding fandom and labor in an online music file-sharing community. In addition, Ben received the Buxtehude Premium and Brand Musical Premium departmental awards during his studies at Brown.

At MIT, Ben works with the HyperStudio Laboratory for Digital Humanities. He is interested in the ways in which software and interfaces can be leveraged within the context of multimedia archives, pedagogy, and humanities research.

In his free time, Ben enjoys composing music, making videos, cooking with his partner, drawing, and watching cute animal videos.
Han Su
Graduate Student, CMS, '20
Han Su Han Su (苏汉) is an interactive media artist, full stack developer, and media researcher focusing on HCI, politics of code, and technology at large.

Prior to CMS, Han earned his bachelor’s degree with double-major in Computer Science and Interactive Media Arts at New York University Shanghai―the third degree-granting campus in the NYU global network, during which he has studied in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Buenos Aires―where he picked up some basic Spanish and Arabic.

Han is born and raised in China and has received education in both Chinese and western countries. Han loves reading about politics, economics, and history. At MIT, he works at the Global Media Technology & Cultures Lab. Han is enthusiastic about emerging technologies and interested in tech companies in emerging markets.

Apart from academia, Han is keen on sports and music―he has received endorsements for his ping-pong and basketball skills, while bad reviews of his singing.
Michael Sugarman
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '21
Michael Sugarman Mike Sugarman is a writer, musician, and organizer in underground music interested in the technologic and interpersonal means that communities use to build and maintain themselves. He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Film Studies and has spent the time since enmeshed in experimental and dance music scenes in New York and Chicago, fascinated by their ad hoc infrastructure and working to bolster community within them by way of running publications, booking shows, and exploring means for musicians and partiers alike to act as crucial members of both their music community and broader urban or social communities.

Spurred by the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland in 2016, Mike started the Groove Café project in Chicago to develop and disseminate safety protocols for DIY events. The project quickly expanded to build other resources that could support the structures and people participating in the wider underground, ranging from publishing mental health resources and releasing fundraiser albums on a digital record label to disseminating literature that could help music venues make their bathrooms accessible, pleasant spaces.

Mike hopes to further pursue community-strengthening media practices during his graduate research in CMS and work in the Center for Civic Media.
Kelly Wagman
Graduate Student, Comparative Media Studies, '21
Kelly Wagman Kelly Wagman is a researcher, technologist, and designer. She is interested in understanding how we can design and build inclusive and ethical sociotechnical systems. In previous work she has examined the effects of disconnecting from Facebook and looked at public perceptions of digital assistants through memes and search queries. While at MIT she is excited to be working with the Global Media Technology & Cultures Lab.

Prior to MIT, Kelly worked as a research assistant at Microsoft Research where she collaborated with the Economics group and the Social Media Collective on quantitative and qualitative social science research projects. Previously, she worked as a software engineer at Microsoft in Office 365, and at Facebook.

Kelly graduated from Brown University with a double major in Computer Science and Economics. She enjoys yoga, rock climbing, matcha lattes, electronic music, sewing, and exploring new places.
Annie Wang
Graduate Student, CMS, '20
Annie Wang Annie Wang is a researcher and designer fascinated by intercultural exchange, game design, and the power of new media technologies in disrupting and reshaping social science and STEM education inside and outside of the classroom. Originally from Alpharetta, Georgia, she graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in both Media Arts and Sciences (2D Design plus Computer Science) and History. Before joining the CMS program, she was cross-registered and later worked at the MIT Education Arcade and the Game Lab, where she worked to help design both touchscreen and virtual reality-based games for student learning. As a graduate student at MIT, she hopes to further her understanding of the power of media in shaping beliefs and preconceptions and the potential of emerging media in helping both student and adult learners traverse and bridge sociocultural divides.

Outside of academia, she can usually be found researching and testing new recipes, getting hopelessly lost in history museums, collecting pictures of dogs and seals, or debating the intricacies of video game lore.