Announcing Our Spring 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellows

26 Dec, 2018

Announcing Our Spring 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellows

Each year, the Berkeley Center for New Media pairs undergraduates with a graduate student mentor, offering them the chance to complete real, graduate level research while at Cal. We are thrilled to announce this year's Fellows.

Camryn Bell

Camryn Bell is a senior pursuing a major in history and a minor in Portuguese, in addition to the certificate in New Media. In her studies, she focuses on 20th-century U.S. history, with particular emphasis on cultural history, the history of information and library history. Her senior thesis will be an analysis of the role of the Bay Area’s library systems in the social movements of the 1960s, looking at how public and informal libraries served as spaces of knowledge-sharing and as conduits for the exchange of radical ideas. Outside of academics, Camryn also serves as a staff writer and head archivist for the Daily Californian, managing the paper’s online digitization efforts.

She will be working with Geography Ph.D. candidate Will Payne on "Algorithmic Gentrification: Locating Value in Urban Information Systems since 1980." This project forms part of Will's larger dissertation on the development of digital location-based services (LBS) like Yelp, Foursquare, Google Local, and TripAdvisor, and their role in shaping urban consumption spaces and neighborhood trajectories over time. Will examines evolving informational networks, from paper guidebooks to mobile applications, and their interaction with broader trends in urban development and sociospatial segmentation, as well as their reliance on what Tiziana Terranova calls "free labor" from power users. Will plans to publish a freely accessible online map of the results. The map will consist of a variety of data layers, showing the underlying restaurant data along a time slider, along with demographic and other local data for comparison. The undergraduate research assistant will be involved in all phases of data collection, cleaning, analysis, and visualization, giving them a hands-on opportunity to contribute to an ongoing research project.

Arianna Ninh

Arianna Ninh is a junior cognitive science major interested in exploring human computer interaction and human-centered design. Using digital fabrication tools, she aims to create interactive systems and physical devices that lie at the intersection of art and technology.

Arianna Ninh will work with Molly Nicholas, a Ph.D. in Computer Science, to develop novel interfaces that augment self-expression and creativity, while critically examining the existing landscape of interactive technologies. Currently, Arianna is assisting Molly in developing batteryless wearable displays that can be quickly customized and updated to support dynamic self-expression.

This is part of an ongoing research program related to Cosmetic Computing. In the spring, she will write software to create a custom visual effects library for display personalization, developing and designing the user interface of an Android app for quickly updating the displays, helping with conducting the user study, and integrating the wearable into a variety of form factors for a longitudinal user study.

Stephanie Tang

Stephanie is a senior studying Architecture. As an architecture student, she is interested in the built environment and how it is influenced by data collection in the smart city. During her study abroad experience in Copenhagen, Stephanie toured and studied urban parks and courtyards that incorporated design elements such as trampolines, benches, play structures, and bike obstacles, influencing her interest in public space design. As a part of the design team for a start-up called Replate, she has also had the opportunity to help with interior design projects for office spaces, which has involved fabrication in the wood shop, screen printing, and DIY projects for wall art in the space.

Stephanie will be working with Noura Howell, a Ph.D. candidate in Information, on “Speculating the Smart City with the Heart Sounds Bench: Détourning Data and Surveillance in Public Space.” This project seeks to critically re-imagine the future of smart cities. Instead of focusing on productivity, security, and computationally models and predictions for the world, this project is inspired by visionary urban scholar Jane Jacobs' call to celebrate "a great and exuberant richness of differences and possibilities, many of these differences unique and unpredictable and all the more valuable because they are". Part art, part architecture, and part engineering, this project seeks to embed biosensing technology in a traditional public bench in ways that embrace the essence of benchy-ness. Benches invite us to rest and do nothing (for free!) and share space with others in public. How can biosensing technology be used in the smart city in ways contest surveillance and affirm our humanity?