Congratulating our 2019 Graduates

19 May, 2019

Congratulating our 2019 Graduates

We are sad to bid farewell to these amazing graduate students who have been so integral to BCNM life. But we are excited to share just a few of their new media accomplishments at Cal, and to wish them well in their rich future scholarly lives.

Designated Emphasis

Grace Gipson is graduating with Ph.D. in African American Studies with a Designated Emphasis in New Media. Recently, she has served as a Visiting Professor in African American Studies at Georgia State University Her area of research interest centers on black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books & graphic novels, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. Her dissertation project interrogates the formation of a Black female superhero identity within comics and graphic novels through such topics as: African queer love, disability as empowering, coloring utopias/dystopias, promoting Black Girl Magic in STEM, and creating a new media legacy for Black female voices. Grace’s work has been featured in various publications and book chapters in such outlets as Huffington Post,, Black Perspectives, FCH Annals and most recently #Identity: Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sexuality and Nationalism. Outside of the academy, you can find Grace participating in one fourth of the #BlackComicsChat twitter podcast crew and regular contributor for the website Black Girl Nerds. At BCNM, Grace received the prestigious Lyman Fellowship to support a program that seeks to use new media platforms that construct new methods of reimagining blackness, black nerdom, and womenhood that combines digital technology and comic book culture. She also received several summer research awards to examine how black cosplayers make their performances of media characters of all races widely visible on internet platforms, and to attend the Black Europe Summer Institute to interrogate the Black European experience and its engagement with comics, Afrofuturism, and social justice. She was also the recipient of several conference grant fellowships to share her work at the National Council of Black Studies, the African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities Conference, and the Michigan State University Forum among others. Follow her on Twitter @GBreezy20.

Adam Hutz received a Ph.D. in Rhetoric with a Designated Emphasis in New Media. His work tackles historical new media studies, as he investigates the turn of the 20th century as a site of new visual intensity, rampant technophobic resistance, and the birthplace of the postmodern subject, using digital humanities methodologies. While at BCNM, Adam served for several years as a GSI for Critical Making and Critical Practices, two of our popular studio-based courses on technologies of making for the social good. He also acted as a Super User at the CITRIS Invention Lab and has been involved in creating several exciting new devices through EnableTech group through Technology for Social Good Lab. Previously, Adam was awarded a BCNM summer research grant to build a rhetorical device finder that takes particular words as inputs, locates them in a large database of texts, and contextualizes and visualizes them. He worked closely with Asma Kazmi to build out the virtual reality exhibition Deep Dive Or the Limits of Immersion, which explored the possibilities and challenges of AR/VR to shape, integrate, and confuse aspects of reality. He was one of the Fan Data team, led by Abigail De Kosnik, that published “Watching, creating, and arching: Observations on the quantity and temporality of fannish productivity in online fan fiction archives” in Convergence.

César Torres graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer Science and a Designated Emphasis in New Media. He accepted a position at the University of Texas Arlington, where he will join the faculty as an Assistant Professor in Computer Science & Engineering and Art & Art History. At Berkeley, César joined Eric Paulos' Hybrid Ecologies Lab, which explores scientific research, design, and art through the innovation, development, deployment, and evaluation of novel physical devices and interactive systems that advance our computing culture, encourage broad participation by non-experts within science and engineering, improve human health and well-being, and provoke critical debate and inquiry concerning our existing and emerging technological society. As a researcher, César specializes in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) with interests in computational design, physical computing, digital fabrication, creativity support tools, and human-centered design. His thesis work explores how digital fabrication technologies can constrain, guide, or disrupt how we creatively work with physical and computational materials. César was a recipient of the Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and the Adobe GEM Fellowhip. At BCNM, he received several conference grants to present his work on hybrid materials at Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction, where he also served as a demo co-chair. He has presented his work at the major conferences, including CHI, DIS, UIST, and TEI, at which he has on several occasions won Best Paper Awards.


Evan Burch received a Master's in Architecture in the College of Environmental Design. He holds an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Virginia, but his journey to the BCNM includes design ranging in scope from branding and graphics to industrial design to 200,000sf office spaces. He believes that great design should do more than balance form and function — it should delight the user. Evan's new media interests include interface aesthetics, user interface and experience design, and virtual / augmented reality, among many topics.

Jen Coluccio B.A. Philosophy, English Literature, UCLA; M.A. Theater, California State University, Los Angeles; and now M.A. in Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, UC Berkeley. Jen is a writer and scholar with an interest in the intersections of affect, social cognition, and the performance of psychopathology. She is concerned with the implications of the poststructural-empirical binary as it relates to the biological, social, and political transmission of affective dis-ease. In particular, Jen is looking to explore affective transmission through popular theatrical-television performances and digital audience forums. She is a 2018 Koshland Fellow and her collaborative media work won an Eisner Award last spring.

Fang Fang received a Master's in Architecture in the College of Environmental Design. She is interested in combining new technologies such as human-computer interaction and virtual reality with design. As an architect, her sense of design and logical thinking is shaped by her studies between form and function. Fang's knowledge extends to human psychology and somatology, as well as creating renderings and diagrams to express a product. Fang previously worked at the Advanced Architecture Lab in China and has participated in projects ranging from designing the Mulan Mountain Resort Hotel in Hubei to designing tree houses with the Wuhan Nature Children Association.

Chengcheng Huang graduated with an M.A. in Architecture from the College of Environmental Design. “BCNM really opens my eyes towards different design industries. I enjoy all the courses I took at BCNM and I'm glad it helped me find my passion in product design area.” At Berkeley, Chengcheng took a range of new media classes, and was part of the team that created Farm to Label, featured in Made at Berkeley here.

Mathieu Iniesta is receiving an M.A. in Architecture from the College of Environmental Design. He draws on theories and methodologies from across a disciplinary spectrum to offer a critical understanding of the nature and implications of society.

Joyce Lee received an M.A. from the Berkeley School of Information, with a focus on human computer interaction. After graduating, Joyce will study bathing practices in Japan for a month. She will join Atlassian as a user experience researcher in July. At Berkeley, Joyce received a fellowship from the Center for Technology, Society, and Policy, and the Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity Working Group. She was also a research grant recipient from the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity and was a Unicode Technical Standard Cover Design Winner for the Unicode Consortium. BCNM was glad to support her sharing her research on “Making Life Tangible: “Life in a Minute,” which facilitates playful interactions to encourage people to reconsider their personal time allocation, in the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC).

Yang Liu received an M.A. in Architecture, taking classes in new media, information, and architecture. These classes grounded Yang in a knowledge of digital technology and the relationship between the designer and the user. Yang continues to be interested in user experience design and will be pursuing a career in architecture to explore these topics further. BCNM was pleased to support Yang with a summer research award to develop a VR project entitled UNREAL that explores the potential use of VR in architecture design with a view to increasing a sense of place.

Reechal Mevada graduated with an M.A. in Architecture. “BCNM allowed me to explore the medium of digital art, animation and graphic design to test ideas.” She is now looking forward to continuing her research in investigating new ways of seeing and working with an architecture firm that also focuses on the use of technology with respect to user Interface design. At Berkeley, she focused on the effects of artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality on the future of Californian ecology and architecture.

Konstantinos Moustakas received an M.A. in Architecture. At Berkeley he has taken classes and new media and information. In an era where the digital interface will become even more embedded in our reality, he is interested into exploring how the tool palette of an architect can be enhanced, and how could these media transform and offer a different experience to the creator and the recipient.

Eleni Oikonomaki graduated with a Master's degree of Urban Design from the College of Environmental Design. During this program, she attended courses that gave her the opportunity to do research at the intersection of urban design and technology, smart cities, product design and the connection of real-time data and physical space. Previously she worked as an Adobe Student Lead at Digital Learning Services at UC Berkeley.

Soravis Prakkamakul will graduate from UC Berkeley School of Information and the BCNM. While at Berkeley, his focus was to prototype tools for studying the relationship between human and machines. His work draws from Conversational Interfaces, Virtual Reality, and Machine Learning. His Final Project with Joyce Lee and Sejal Popat, Algorithm Divination, questions the authority of algorithms by drawing the parallel between prediction and fortune telling. He also served as the Information Management Student Association (IMSA) as the Technology Chair. After graduation, Soravis will join Apple to work on augmented reality technologies as a software engineer. He would also like to continue his creative pursuits at the intersection of art and technology after graduation.

Ioanna Sotiriou graduated with a Master's in Architecture from this year’s Studio One “Drawing Science Drawing Fiction” led by Nicholas de Monchaux. Ioanna’s research and work revolves around speculative architecture, emerging technologies and new media with an emphasis on the complex relationship between architecture and virtuality. Some of the projects she worked on while studying at UC Berkeley include a space interferometer, an architectural narrative of automated landscapes and an extended research on architecture and augmented reality, conducted under the ARC Fellowship 2019 program.

Qian Yu received an M.A. in Information Management Systems. Qian’s interests lie in human-computer interaction(HCI), user experience(UX)/user interface(UI) design and UX research. The goal of Qian’s practice is to improve users’ life through a combination of information science, human-computer interaction, and communication studies. BCNM supported Qian sharing “I Almost Fell in Love with a Machine: Speaking with Computers Affects Closeness and Self-Disclosure” at CHI 2019 Glasgow. The paper explains people’s interactions with voice interfaces through social psychology of close relationships.

Cheng Zhong received a Master of Urban Design where she focused on user-interface design in both physical environments and virtual space. With smart city and interactive design trends, Cheng seeks to develop her new media skills to build integrated environments. Prior to joining UC Berkeley, Cheng created mobile phone applications in China.

Weijia Zhou received an M.A. in Landscape Architecture from the College of Environmental Design. She developed a strong interest in product design and sociology during New Media studies, and she is enthusiastic to explore the interdisciplinary fields through merging design with information techniques in her future career.