Welcome to Our Fall 2017 Graduate Cohort

20 Nov, 2017

Welcome to Our Fall 2017 Graduate Cohort

We are excited to welcome students from the departments of Music and Art Practice, as well as the College of Environmental Design and the School of Information to our graduate program! They come to us with extensive new media practice already and we are thrilled to have them join our community.

Designated Emphasis

Nour El-Rayes

Nour holds a B.A. in the Liberal Arts, from Sarah Lawrence College, and an MA in Ethnomusicology from UC Berkeley’s department of Music, where she is currently pursuing her PhD. Her dissertation project—“Radical Ethnography of the Popular: Alternative Music in Lebanon”—examines constructions of the "alternative" in music in Lebanon in order to understand its role in the creation and articulation of alternative social, political, and economic futures. She is interested in the ways that recent shifts towards digital modes of production and circulation have enabled new practices and politics, and altered the role of audiences or consumers in relation to dominant industries. In addition to her academic work, Nour studies Middle Eastern percussion, and performs Arabic classical music with the Aswat ensemble, and Berkeley’s Disoriental.


Chrystia Cabral

Chrystia Cabral is pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts in the Department of Art Practice. She comes to the Center for New Media to further her interest in the relationships between technology and the performing body. Chrystia's current work explores the possible dimensions of spiritual connection. Her coursework with BCNM faculty member Asma Kazmi has inspired her newest project series, titled Devoted Presence, which explores the physical limitations of bodies devoted to codes of faith through multichannel sound and video projection. Chrystia received her BA in English from UC Berkeley. She has been exhibited at the Luggage Store Gallery, Vrava Theater, Rickshaw Shop, and Impact Hub, among others in San Francisco.

Joyce Lee

Joyce is a student in the Master of Information Management Systems program, with a focus on human-computer interaction. She completed her undergraduate studies in behavioral economics and visual studies at the University of Pennsylvania. For 5 years, she wrote for online and print publications such as Quartz, Designboom, and COLORS Magazine; she's also been involved in the self-publishing ("zine") community since 2014. Her new media interests center on communication and accessibility, including topics ranging from emojis to voice user interfaces.

Zhekun Luo

Zhekun Luo holds a particular interest in the potential revolution that new media will bring to the architecture discipline through means of influencing the way people perceive space. New media technology will redefine the concept of built environment and urban context and expand them to a virtual would that he finds fascinating. Zhekun has a background in urban planning at an undergraduate level, and is currently undertaking a master in architecture at college of environmental design. He plans to connect his graduate study in architecture with design innovation research in the field of new media. Through interdisciplinary studies and research between the two areas, he hopes to explore what architectural perception in the future will be, and how it would incubate a new architectural design methodology.

Nisha Pathak

Nisha is a second-year graduate student at Berkeley’s School of Information where she is focusing on product development and design. The combination of her studies from the School of Information and Berkeley’s Center for New Media has provided her with the foundational skills and the educational breadth to confidently join her peers in the workforce to create a better future.

For Nisha, new media is the output derived from the cross-section of communication methods and our newest digital tools. This form of media, with its roots originating from media forms like film, television, and advertising, has undeniably changed our world. She believes that we can combine the best aspects of these media styles to responsibly design products which benefit and better our society.

Qian Yu

Qian Yu is in the Master of Information Management and Systems program at the School of Information. Qian focuses on user experience and user interface design with the aim of assisting those who suffer from language and cultural barriers as well as digital divides. As a research assistant at the Audience Research Institute of Communication University of China, Qian led a study examining how different demographic groups use social media under the project Audience Research in the Digital Era. Qian has been published in Mobile Media & Communication for research focusing on the use of mobile instant messaging to manage and maintain parent-child relationships in the Chiense translocal context.

Jie Zhou

Jie Zhou is a graduate student of landscape architecture in the College of Environmental Design. Jie worked as an urban designer and landscape architect before coming to Berkeley. Fascinated by nature, urbanism and technology, Jie is excited to explore developments in Smart Cities, VR/AR, Data Science and Human Computer Interaction.