Announcing Our Fall 2023 DE & Certificate Cohort

30 Nov, 2023

Announcing Our Fall 2023 DE & Certificate Cohort

We are thrilled to welcome this Fall's graduate cohort – an amazing group of interdisciplinary scholars from Architecture, Art Practice, Environmental Design, Geography, Information, Public Health, Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, and more!

Designated Emphasis

Evan Sakuma

Evan Sakuma (he/they/her) is a versatile artist and second-year PhD student in Berkeley’s Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies department. Originating from Monterey Park, CA, an Asian ethnic enclave, Evan's journey from actor to choreographer, community organizer, scholar, and artist reflects an ever-fluid identity both within and beyond the academic realm.

Their research centers on the performances of excess by the Asian Auntie and augmentation/modification in the Asian American incel community. Navigating literary, theatrical, and digital realms, Evan explores ways of utopic and monstrous Asiatic being. Evan's current project delves into artificial aesthetics, contrasting the violent histories of Asian Baby Girl makeup with the rise of East Asian doujinstyle makeup, providing a comprehensive exploration of Asian diasporic identity, culture, and technology intersections.

Janiya Peters

Janiya is a PhD student in the School of Information. Her work investigates the harm potential of deceptive design patterns in information systems. Engaging theories of consent and collective action, she studies opportunities for users to reclaim choice and combat techno-solutionist narratives. Janiya is a member of the Media Education Research Lab and policy fellow at the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. She has collaborated with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and D-Lab's Data Science for Social Justice. Recently, she proposed consent-based approaches to increase efficacy of takedown notice procedures; and raised civic considerations for marginalized groups displaced from cashless payment services. She also enjoys sewing and making handmade stickers.

Jillian Crandall

Jillian (Lee) Crandall is broadly researching the effects of digital technologies on infrastructures, lands, and lives. Their work intersects queer/trans/feminist digital geographies and political economies with a focus on socio-spatial design justice. Jillian’s recent work published in Big Data & Society, Design & Culture, and Political Geography addresses the urban impacts of blockchains and crypto-colonialism, as well as means of anti-colonial contestation and sites of resistance in physical and virtual (game) spaces. Jillian’s current work in new media methods includes experimenting with new types of visualizations needed to depict distributed yet connected techno-economic and socio-spatial imaginaries with material actualities on the ground (from rare-earth to crypto-mining ecologies and entangled racial notions of ‘prospecting’). Previously, Jillian was a practicing architect for over ten years in NYC and Puerto Rico; and was a Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Theory at RPI.

Tamara Zeina Jamil

Tamara Zeina Jamil is a PhD student in the Geography Department at UC Berkeley. Broadly, Tamara’s research lies at the intersection of carcerality, toxicity, and aesthetics. Specifically, Tamara’s work attempt to demonstrate how the growth of rural jails on toxic lands demonstrates a process of social and material wastelanding through which carceral development reinscribes the sociospatial and aesthetic perception of rural areas as spaces of decay and blight, what Robert Bullard calls “sacrifice zones,” which in itself justifies their continuous material deterioration. Tamara is a licensed architect and forensic researcher, and before coming to UC Berkeley she worked professionally for Forensic Architecture, MASS Design Group and OMA. Tamara received her BArch degree at Cornell University, and her MA in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.


Arianna Khmelniuk

Arianna Khmelniuk is a Ukrainian-American experimental artist currently based in Oakland, CA. She works across exhibition-making, performance, and workshops involving andragogical and embodied collectivity practices. She founded the olfactory projects Zapah Lab and Olfactory Playground, research-based initiatives dedicated to pushing the practical usage of scents in an art context. Khmelniuk has been awarded residencies at Stove Works (Chattanooga, TN), Ossabaw Island Art Residency, Hambidge Creative Residency Program (Raburn, GA), and the Summer Academy of Fine Arts (Salzburg, Austria). Khmelniuk also received a distinguished fellowship stipend from Fulton County Arts and Culture (Atlanta, Georgia), grants from USAID (Kyiv, Ukraine), and a Summer Academy of Fine Arts Fellowship (Salzburg, Austria). Secondary education was received in the field of theater.

Maria-Teresa Carmier Villalobos

Maria-Teresa Carmier Villalobos is a Queer Black Indigenous Mother and practitioner, born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, CA. As an A/r/tographist – blending the roles of artist, educator, researcher, and technologist – her work critically engages with the concept of liminal spaces, exploring the transformative potential these spaces hold within the context of mixed race identity and existence. Her research, deeply embedded in new media, is not merely an artistic endeavor but an intellectual inquiry that seeks to unpack and articulate the complex interplay between technology, culture, and the lived experiences of historically marginalized communities. This approach reflects a commitment to expanding disciplinary boundaries and contributes to a nuanced understanding of contemporary socio-technological landscapes. Maria-Teresa is currently pursuing a Master of Design (Mdes) and was selected as an Arcus Social Justice Fellow through the generosity of the Berkeley College of Environmental Design and Arcus Foundation.

Meghana Ammula

Meghana Ammula (she/her) is a first-year Masters in Public Health (MPH) student concentrating in Health and Social Behavior. Prior to attending Berkeley, Meghana's background was in health policy research, specifically documenting the challenges that Medicaid beneficiaries face in accessing coverage and health communications in the digital age. Currently at Berkeley, Meghana is now focused on uncovering ways to craft equitable and community-centered digital health interventions and communications through design techniques, with the goal of reaching vulnerable and marginalized communities. Additionally, Meghana is interested in understanding how the rise of the digital age is and will continue to impact health outcomes. Outside of her graduate studies, Meghana is a musician who loves exploring various styles of music and a photographer who loves documenting people and places through her lens.

yini hu

Realizing the challenges in making architectural services accessible to vulnerable groups, yini turned towards technology, participating in research to integrate human response data into architectural design. Yini’s goal is to revolutionize architecture through technology, making it more efficient and accessible, and aspires to further their education in computer-related fields to achieve this vision.

Zekarias Musele Thompson

Zekarias Musele Thompson (they/their) is an artist based in Oakland, CA, and Reykjavik, IS who is interested in humanity’s conceptual and emotional organizational structures and how we bring them into material form. Their practice seeks to create containers that support our ability to navigate emergent psychosomatic responses through deep listening and close attention. Through sonic composition, spatial facilitation, photography, collaborative group practice & performance, writing, and mark-making, they intervene with entrenched historical narratives around individual and collective self-deception and embodied trauma. Their work implores us to relinquish our attachment to identities rooted in dis-integrated mythologies and unnecessary hierarchies, and invites us to expand our capacity to create sustainable futures through self-observation.

Zekarias has presented work at venues including the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, The Lab, Land and Sea, and Eternal Now in the Bay area — as well as Associate Gallery and Open in Reykjavík, Iceland. They have performed and collaborated with artists such as Pétur Eggertsson, Phillip Laurent, Benjamin Rodgers, Ástríður Jónsdóttir, Joshua Wismans, Lonnie Holley, Zachary James Watkins, Claire Fleming Staples, Cory Todd, James Wallace, Miles Lassi, and Jessica Ackerley. Zekarias is an instigator of the Musele Project, a sound, image, performance, and facilitation practice that encourages deep, empathic listening, and a co-founder of Working Name Studios, a collectively owned and organized arts institution with the mission of building institutional stability and equity for underrepresented creative practices, ideas, and people.