Congratulating Our Spring 2024 Graduates

03 May, 2024

Congratulating Our Spring 2024 Graduates

Artwork "HAYA" (Life) by Arianna Khmelniuk, in collaboration with Eddie Farr; Photographer: Wyatt Kane.

Congratulations to our Spring 2024 BCNM graduates! We are sad to say farewell to these amazing graduate students who have played crucial roles within BCNM life. But we’re so proud of their accomplishments here at Cal and can’t wait to see all the incredible scholarly work they produce in the future.

Designated Emphasis

Elizabeth Resor

Elizabeth graduates with a Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Information. Elizabeth does qualitative research that investigates how people use platforms to make sense of place. Her dissertation looks at real estate platforms (eg. Zillow, Redfin) and how people use them to search for housing. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Elizabeth worked in international development in Nairobi, Kenya for several years. Her work focused on transportation planning and the use of social media data, including creating Nairobi’s first map of traffic accidents. Elizabeth has a Masters in City Planning from MIT.

Elnaz Bailey

Elnaz Bailey is a designer, graduating with a Ph.D. from the Building Science program in the Architecture department at UC Berkeley . Her background in daylight and energy simulation highlight Elnaz’s ability to inform the human relationship with the built environment. After receiving her Masters in design studies from Harvard, Elnaz worked in the energy consulting field on large scale projects including the Tianjin Juilliard School of Music, Dubai Expo 2020, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Elnaz currently works on integration of building simulation in virtual reality.

Julia Irwin

Julia Irwin is graduating with a PhD in Film & Media and a Designated Emphasis in New Media. Beginning in Fall 2024, Julia will be a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University, in the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) and the Department of Art & Art History. At HAI, she plans to research the history and social implications of the brain-computer interface. Her dissertation, Patterning Recognition: Automated Perception in the Long Twentieth Century is a conceptual history of pattern recognition from nineteenth century neuroscience, film, and scientific management to contemporary AI. At Berkeley, Julia served on the BCNM Executive Committee, co-organized its New Media Working Group, and co-curated the BCNM-sponsored media art exhibition Refamiliarization. Her published writing can be found in Ki (Qui Parle) and Film History. In 2023, as a former Fellow with the Berkeley Center for Technology, Society, and Policy, Julia presented to the California State Legislature as a subject-matter expert on AI surveillance technology oversight. Julia is the recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa and the Mabelle McLeod Lewis Dissertation Fellowships, as well as the BCNM Lyman Fellowship.

Katherine Song

Katherine graduates with a Ph.D. in Computer Science, specializing in Human-Computer Interaction. Katherine worked with Professor Eric Paulos in the Hybrid Ecologies Lab on research centering the creation of sustainable, backyard-degradable interactive systems that can be made and un-made at home by the everyday maker. Katherine's work embraces smart and natural materials, along with themes such as decay and slowness. Before entering Berkeley and the world of HCI, Katherine was a hardware researcher and engineer, completing undergraduate and master’s theses in optoelectronic materials and devices and then working full-time as a Display Electrical Engineer at Apple.

Rashad Arman Timmons

Rashad Arman Timmons is graduating with a Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies and a Designated Emphasis in New Media. For the 2024-2025 AY, he was awarded the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with Professor Jaime Alves in the Department of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara. His dissertation “Haunted Traffic: Blackness, Geography, and Performances of Infrastructural Violence in Ferguson” situates the tragic 2014 murder of Michael Brown, Jr. in a broader spatial history of antiblackness by theorizing infrastructures as conduits of racial subjection and Black spatial possibility in (sub)urban environments across time. It examines railway, roadway, and media infrastructures as historical mediators of racialized vulnerability, confinement, and death in Ferguson’s Black communities while also showing how Black subjects resist these processes through quotidian performances of infrastructural appropriation and disruption. During his tenure at UC Berkeley, Rashad earned the Oustanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, participated actively in the Color of New Media Working Group, served as a graduate student mentor to underrepresented undergraduate students in the Vèvè Clark Institute for Engaged Scholars, and cultivated campus-community partnerships with families impacted by fatal police violence. In 2023, Rashad was awarded the Peter Lyman Graduate Fellowship in New Media. His work was also supported by the Black Studies Collaboratory, the UC Berkeley Graduate Division, and the Ford Foundation. Rashad is excited to continue developing collaborative research, pedagogy, and art that advance justice and freedom in the everyday spaces we inhabit.


Alexandra Oliva

Al Oliva graduates with a Masters in Architecture. Al is interested in the politics of resolution, the transience of copy, and the binaries of bitmapping. Previously, Al has been a project coordinator and curator for art initiatives. Al has also exhibited their work at DCAC, the Anacosta Community Museum, and Facebook Headquarters, among others.

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.

Gowri Swamy

Gowri Swamy is graduating from the Master of Information Management and Systems program in the School of Information and graduate certificate programs in New Media and Security Policy. Her studies focus on mixed-methodology research in human-computer interaction and the social and ethical impacts of technological development. She previously worked in information technology as an experience design consultant and as a UX research intern at Amazon. Gowri’s research interests focus around the accountability of generative media and misinformation on social media platforms and she was a teaching assistant for User Experience Research (Info 214/114) and User Interface Design (Info 213) during her time as a master's student.

Jordan Williams

Jordan is graduating with her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health and Social Behavior. Her current work investigates how stories are framed within the news and how that framing influences public perception and opinion. She is passionate about the intersection between public health, communications, and media. Moving forward Jordan hopes to utilize health equity and anti-racist frameworks to create immersive and interactive storytelling for behavior change.

Valencia James

Valencia James is a Barbadian freelance performer, maker and researcher interested in the intersection between dance, theatre, technology and activism. Valencia’s work explores remote interdisciplinary collaboration with creative technologists and how emerging technologies like machine learning and computer vision might enhance creativity in her contemporary dance practice and vice-versa. This research has resulted in collaboratively built, novel open-source software tools that push the boundaries of live performance.

In 2013 Valencia co-founded the AI_am project, which explores the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence in dance. She was a 2020 Rapid Response Fellow at Eyebeam, where she co-founded the Volumetric Performance Toolbox, a project that responds to the global pandemic by envisioning live online 3D dance performance as a new way for artists to connect to audiences from their living spaces using minimal equipment. Valencia was invited by Golan Levin to join the Spring 2021 Remote Residency for Open-Source Software Art Tools at Carnegie Mellon University’s Studio for Creative Inquiry. She served as dance expert and interaction designer on Dr. Vernelle A.A. Noel’s project entitled Artificial Intelligence + Carnival + Creativity funded by Mozilla Foundation’s 2021 Creative Media Award. Valencia has presented her work at TEDxDanubia, TEDxGöteborg, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires , ISEA 2015, SIGGRAPH 2021 and Gray Area Festival. Her latest work, Suga’-A Live Virtual Dance Performance, has been selected for the 2022 New Frontier exhibition at Sundance Film Festival.

Yini Hu

Yini Hu graduates with a Masters in Architecture. Yini used data analysis and machine learning to develop models that predict human interaction with architectural spaces. In the future, Yini hopes to continue exploring the interaction between computer science and architecture to pioneer innovative solutions that make sustainable and personalized architecture accessible to all.

Xiaodi Chang

Xiaodi Chang graduates with a Masters in Architecture. With formal training in interior design, paired with architectural studies, Xiaodi broadened their learning through experiments for arts, spaces, and digital visualizations. Xiaodi obtained their Bachelor of Arts degree at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. They are currently taking ARCH 229: Space and Media in Immersive Environments, in which they use Unity to accelerate an understanding of space and how virtual space interacts with people.