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 research 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. While there he explored how bureaucrats employed different new technologies: from digital platforms for technical cooperation to algorithmic systems for socio-economic classification.

He also has experience in political transparency initiatives due to his participation in Open Parliament, a civil society project dedicated to gather, register and store data from the official activities of members of the Peruvian Congress.

At MIT, Diego works at the Global Media Technology & Cultures Lab as a research assistant. For his master's thesis, he plans to research the discourse surrounding the digital economy in Peru.
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.
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.
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.
Annis Sands
Graduate Student, CMS, '19
Annis Sands Annis Sands is interested in visual media (TV/film), Caribbean history and culture, and streaming technology. She grew up in Elmont, NY, and graduated from Dartmouth College where she studied History. She wrote her senior honors thesis on the Afro-Caribbean community in post-World War II London. At MIT, she's excited to continue her research interests in the Caribbean Diaspora and studying questions related to how visual media can provide new opportunities for people in the Caribbean region.
Sultan Sharrief
Graduate Student, CMS, '19
Sultan Sharrief Sultan Sharrief is a trans-media activist, filmmaker, educator and social entrepreneur. His interest lies at the intersection of art, business, and community impact. He graduated with honors with a B.A. in Film/Video from the University of Michigan. His senior project was the design of a new filmmaking model, Student EFEX, which partnered metro Detroit youth with University of Michigan students and working professionals to create a three-tiered mentorship program while simultaneously making a film and doing a large scale community impact activation.

The film they made together, his directorial debut, Bilal's Stand, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 in the inaugural program of the NEXT category.

He was a two-year fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity to further develop his youth program and study ways media impacted access to high education. He led three separate eight month research projects at University of Michigan studying new media, viral culture, and potential business models for creating new media.

He has produced two other feature films, Moozlum, in 2011 with Danny Glover, Nia Long, and Evan Ross, and Destined in 2016 with Hill Harper, Cory Hardrict, Jesse Metcalfe, and Lala Anthony.

In 2015 he was accepted as one of eight national finalists to the National Black Programming Consortium NBPC360 incubator and, upon winning, had his youth reality show for PBS national funded. The show, Street Cred, features Detroit youth learning entertainment-producing skills.

He is a guest instructor at the University of Michigan and a curator for the Citnetopia International Film Festival. He recently shifted interest to Virtual Reality and attended the Sundance Virtual Reality lab and the Oculus LaunchPad program and was accepted to a fellowship with the Detroit Narrative agency developing an interactive Virtual Reality short film.
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.
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.