OUR TEAM

We collaborate to enable transformative actions and change.

Leadership

Alison Mears

Alison Mears

Director

AIA, LEED AP

Alison Mears is the Director of the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School for Design in New York. She is also co Director, with Bill Walsh, Healthy Building Network, of the Healthy Affordable Materials Project. Previously Dean of the School of Design Strategies and Director of the BFA Architectural Design and Interior Design programs in the School of Constructed Environments (SCE), Parsons, Mears teaches interdisciplinary studios at SCE and in the BS Urban Design program at SDS. Her past projects have engaged a number of U.S. urban contexts, often partnering with New School Milano Policy and Finance graduate students and Parsons students (graduate and undergraduate) with a range of non profit organizations. These studio projects have been situated in New Orleans, as part of the Chase competition; Deanwood, Washington DC, a community-based program that situated Parsons’ 2011 Solar Decathlon Competition in its Deanwood neighborhood (winner Affordability category); Skid Row, Los Angeles with the Skid Row Housing Authority; and Greensboro, North Carolina and Warren, Ohio with a range of local partners. In addition she is a founding Parsons partner of the Building Product Ecosystem project with the Durst Organization, a member of the Flame Retardant working group and teaches the Parsons Building Product Ecosystem seminar related to the project. Mears is lead architect for the design and construction of St. George’s School in Gondar, Ethiopia. She is also an advisor for Donna Karan's Urban Zen Vocational Center, DOT, for Artisans in Port au Prince, Haiti. Mears is a registered architect who previously worked in firms, including Mitchell/Giurgola and Thorpe and Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, New York. She is currently partner in her own architectural practice, Paci + Mears Architects. She holds a M Arch, Columbia University, NY, and a B Arch, Canberra University, Australia.

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Jonsara Ruth

Jonsara Ruth

Director of Design

Jonsara Ruth is Design Director of the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design and passionate about making a healthier world. She is a designer, artist, educator and founding director of the progressive MFA Interior Design program at Parsons. Charged with provoking change in the field, she lead the symposium AFTERTASTE, which gathers expansive and speculative perspectives to bring new definition to the field of interiors. She teaches seminars and design studios connecting issues of design and materials with human and environmental health.

Jonsara founded Salty Labs, a collaborative design studio, to lead projects with the mission of elevating human experience and improving human and environmental health in the built environment. Projects span public places, installations, furniture design and manufacturing. Previously, Jonsara was director of design at Q Collection,  a mission-based company that produced the first certified healthy crib for children. There she enlisted American manufacturers to combine historical quality craftsmanship with materials andmanufacturing processes that eliminate risks to human health and the environment.

Jonsara received a Masters of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design.

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Abby Calhoun

Abby Calhoun

Project Coordinator

LEED Green Associate

Abby has worked with Healthy Materials Lab since its launch in May 2015. She holds a MS in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School (2017) and a BA in Pan-African Studies and Political Science from Drew University (2009). 

Abby’s passion for social and environmental justice was sparked during a high school semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa and has been fostered by her travel, education, and activism ever since. Her graduate research focused on waste reduction strategies in the commercial textile industry, and she is excited to incorporate that work at HML. Outside of the office Abby loves all things dog related, arts & crafts and DIY, and yoga.

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Advisory Council to the Donghia Healthier Materials Library

Sydney Mainster

Sydney Mainster

Sustainability Manager, The Durst Organization

Sydney Mainster serves as Sustainability Manager for The Durst Organization. She brings 10 years of professional and academic Architecture and Design experience to her role. Her current passion is defining strategies to transform the building product industry and resultant material waste streams with a driven collaborative of industry leaders through the Building Product Ecosystems initiative.

Before joining The Durst Organization in early 2014, she was an Intermediate Designer at DXA Studio. From 2010-2013, she served as Adjunct Faculty and Director of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture Materials Resource Center. She moved to Austin, TX after earning a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2010, and after spending the summer teaching design as an Architecture Studio Instructor for the GSD’s Career Discovery program.

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Bill Walsh

Bill Walsh

Founder and President, Healthy Building Network

Bill Walsh is the Founder and President of the Healthy Building Network (HBN). He is a Visiting Professor at Parsons The New School for Design, and a founding Board Member of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Collaborative. In 2012 Bill received the US Green Building Council’s Leadership In Advocacy Award and was named a Fellow at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts. In 2013 Bill was awarded the Healthy Schools Hero by the Healthy Schools Network. Previously he served as a national campaign director at Greenpeace USA, and held staff attorney positions with the US Public Interest Research Group and the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center.  He holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and LLM in Public Interest Advocacy.

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Martha  Lewis

Martha Lewis

Senior Architect & Material Specialist, Henning Larsen Architects

Martha Lewis is a senior architect at Henning Larsen Architects, where she has gained extensive experience implementing material strategies for projects with a focus on healthy, ethically viable and environmentally tenable materials. Her work in Henning Larsen’s active sustainability department has included establishing an office wide material database. Having worked in Copenhagen and Berlin for over twenty years, she is uniquely positioned to support the Resource Library with healthy material advancements in the EU. Martha participated in the advisory group for the Danish Environmental protection Agency’s 2016 project “Undesirable Substances in Sustainable Buildings”, and since 2011, she has been involved in the Danish Green Building Council’s adaption of the German building certification system for the Danish building industry. Martha holds a MArch from Washington University and a BA from Vassar College.

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Faculty Researchers

Andy Bernheimer

Andy Bernheimer

Faculty Researcher

Andrew Bernheimer is a Brooklyn-based architect and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Parsons School of Design. Bernheimer leads an eponymous firm responsible for a wide variety of residential, civic, and cultural projects, including new multi-unit affordable housing developments across the five boroughs as well as award-winning private residences in the northeast region. He recently edited “Timber in the City”, a book featuring innovative practices in wood construction published by ORO Editions. Bernheimer sits on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Public Architecture, is the Co-Chair of the Van Alen Institute’s Program Council, is a fellow in the Forum for Urban Design, and is a member of the Architectural League of New York.

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Catherine Murphy

Catherine Murphy

Faculty Fellow

Catherine Murphy comes from Sligo in the West of Ireland and holds a BA(Hons) Fine Craft Design specializing in Embroidery from the University of Ulster, Belfast and an MFA Interior Design from Parsons The New School for Design. 

She is a designer whose practice is dedicated to craft, artistic thinking and the inherent potential of materials. Catherine continues to develop her thesis research work which focuses on the capacity of interior design to enhance the lives of those with dementia allowing them to age in place. Healthier materials are an essential part of that work.

Catherine teaches in the Interior Design and First Year Program at Parsons. She also likes to run (a lot!).

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David Leven

David Leven

Faculty Researcher

David Leven is a partner at LEVENBETTS, an award winning New York City based architecture practice, and an Associate Professor at Parsons School of Constructed Environments. David holds a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University, a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University and attended the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. LEVENBETTS was founded by David with Stella Betts in 1997 and focuses on projects at all scales of urban design, public buildings, houses and housing, workspaces, exhibitions and furniture. The office employs a variety of methods to arrive at innovative solutions that involve incisive observation, interrogate programmatic and site givens and approach building systems as creative opportunities. LEVENBETTS has won several NYC AIA awards (2011, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003), the Architectural League’s Young Architects Forum and Emerging Voices Awards (2009), Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard (2007) award, I.D. Annual Design Review Award (2004) and been exhibited widely. The work of LEVENBETTS has been published in various design magazines and books, and Princeton Architectural Press published a monograph on the firm’s work in 2008, called Pattern Recognition. David has lectured widely and has an been invited jurors at Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Harvard and University of Pennsylvania.  

David has served on advisory panels at the Architectural League of New York, committees at the New School, and holds architectural registration in New York and New Jersey.

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Helen Quinn

Helen Quinn

Faculty Researcher

Helen Quinn is a stylist, designer, and artist living in New York City. Her experience with color, texture, and interiors has led her to design textiles for Maharam, Q Collection, and Nike as well as paint lines for Martha Stewart. She has been an editor and stylist for television (Today Show, Martha TV), magazines (Brides, Martha Stewart Living, Parents, Scholastic) and commercial catalogs (Pottery Barn, Williams, Sonoma, Target, Godiva). Helen has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She teaches the Color Lab class in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons.

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Lucille Tenazas

Lucille Tenazas

Faculty Researcher

Lucille Tenazas is a graphic designer and educator. She is the Henry Wolf Professor of Communication Design at Parsons School of Design where she is the Associate Dean in the School of Art, Media and Technology. Originally from Manila, the Philippines, she has taught and practiced in the United States since 1979, a trajectory that included living in San Francisco, New York and Rome, Italy. Her clients include Neue Galerie Museum for German and Austrian Art, Asia Society New York, Princeton Architectural Press, San Francisco International Airport and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Lucille was the national president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), from 1996-98. In 2013, she was awarded the AIGA Medal, recognized for lifetime achievement in design. She received the National Design Award for Communication Design given by the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in 2002. She has lectured and taught extensively here and abroad and has participated in numerous juries and design panels. She studied at California College of the Arts and received her MFA in Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

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Postgraduate Researchers

Jack Dinning

Jack Dinning

Full-Time Researcher

Summer 2016 - present

Since graduating from Parsons Master's in Architecture program in 2016, Jack has been developing strategies that help architects incorporate material health initiatives into practice. These projects have included a collaboration with LTL Architects for a 50,000 square foot Early Childhood Center, learning tools for navigating industry certifications and resources, and materials education platforms for design students and professionals.

This work follows a longstanding commitment to addressing social and environmental challenges through design. Before joining HML and LTL, Jack has been with firms such as LOT-EK, Young Projects, and Ultra-Moderne, addressing issues ranging from the upcycling of building materials to sensory design for children with autism. His work has earned recognitions including the Alpha Rho Chi Medal for professional merit and leadership, the John L. Tishman Scholarship for sustainable design, and most recently, an invitation to the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit for transforming management education.

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Gamar Markarian

Gamar Markarian

Post Graduate Research Fellow

Spring 2015 - present

Born to an Armenian family in Beirut Lebanon, Gamar received her BS in Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 2005. She also taught landscape design studios at AUB and EARTH University Costa Rica from 2007 through 2009. In 2008, Gamar co-founded Atelier Hamra with Maha Issa; a landscape architecture office in Beirut. She is currently continuing her MS in Urban Design at AUB, and an MS in Design and Urban Ecologies at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Gamar is also pursuing a parallel passion as a Jazz singer. 

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Lena Kouvela

Lena Kouvela

Post Graduate Researcher

Spring 2016 - present

Lena Kouvela is completing their MFA at Parsons in Interior Design. They hold a diploma in Architecture from National Technical University of Athens. Upon graduation they lived in Berlin, where they got devoted to industrial aesthetics. Lena attempts, through design, to redefine the relationship between post – modern human and the machine. Their work is trying to map and simultaneously deconstruct the limits of body, gender and space.  Lena’s research field revolves around the concept of life as a constant performance.

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Samantha Bennett

Samantha Bennett

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2015 - Spring 2016 

Sam Bennett hails from Kansas, where she received BFAs in textiles and art history from the University of Kansas. In 2007, Sam moved to New York to work as a textile home product designer.  Most recently she worked at Martha Stewart Living and helped create a new line called Whim. She is currently completing her MFA at Parsons in Interior Design.

On a personal level, Sam is passionate about food.  Understanding where our food comes from, how it affects our bodies, the workers, the animals, and the environment are important and ever evolving issues. The research at the Healthy Materials Lab allows her to expand these interests with the built environment.

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Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Post Graduate Researcher

Sarah Burns is an artist and designer who embraces collaborative and humanistic practices. Sarah is deeply interested in the built environment and has explored it through a variety of mediums ranging from dance to experimental on-site constructions. She is the co-founder of an aesthetic collective called TOTALE A/C, the co-founder and co-editor of WOPOZI arts newspaper and the founder of an experimental painting project called Fruit Party Painting Company. She received her MFA in Interior Design from the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons The New School in New York, NY in 2017 after receiving her BFA in Sculpture from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN in 2010. When she isn’t collaborating she writes, makes art and other architectural interventions from an apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. 

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Thanos Stathopoulos

Thanos Stathopoulos

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2016 - present

Thanos Stathopoulos is currently a graduate student in Strategic Design & Management at Parsons School of Design. He holds his undergraduate degree in Architectural Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens as well as a Masters of Philosophy in Architecture & Philosophy. He has a background in management consulting, working with individuals one-on-one to increase their effectiveness and designing new tools, which support clients in producing superior results.

Prior to consulting, Thanos worked for years as an architect in several firms as well as a freelancer focusing on large scale projects and project management. For two seasons, he was the producer and host of his own T.V. program, Urban Landscapes. He is passionate about design, whether it be objects, buildings, projects or systems. His main interest is "design strategy" as a systemic approach for innovation.

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Winnie Chang

Winnie Chang

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2016 - present

Winnie is a graphic designer, illustrator and design strategist previously based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Design Honours degree from the York University/Sheridan College Joint Program in Design (YSDN), where she was awarded the Dean’s Prize for Excellence along with numerous accolades for her work. Today, she is pursuing an MFA in Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Winnie is interested in examining the social boundaries that separate us, and how design can ultimately transform human experiences. She thinks it is important to acknowledge self-reflexivity, and draw meaning and inspiration from one’s cultural, historical and family ties. In joining the team at Healthy Materials Lab, Winnie hopes to explore how visual communication and storytelling can be used to inspire transparency and promote agency in the affordable housing and building industry. 

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Student Researchers

Burak Sancakdar

Burak Sancakdar

Research Associate

Spending his childhood in an island between Greece and Turkey, Burak moved to Istanbul to study Architecture at Istanbul Bilgi University. After graduating wıth honors in B.Arch, he practiced architecture in Turkey and Italy where he worked on Venice Architectural Biennale 2016 as part of the design and installation team for the Turkish Pavilion. After that he worked with various NGOs and individuals seeking asylum in both Germany and Turkey. He is currently pursuing his MS in Design and Urban Ecologies at Parsons School of Design with a scholarship in New York City. Burak is also Co-founder of a local initiative that teaches water sports to young asylum seekers and refugees in his hometown.

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Eve DeAngelis

Eve DeAngelis

Research Assistant

Eve is a junior in the undergraduate product design program. She dabbles in all things art and design. Though her work take many different forms her focus is always on user experience and sustainability; her work is often inspired by nature. At Healthy Materials Lab, Eve has done research on the material health of plastics as well as lifecycle analyses. She runs the HML Instagram account and is passionate about helping people make informed decisions about healthier material choices!

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Interested in joining the team?

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Past Research Team

Amanda Kerschner

Amanda Kerschner

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2015

Amanda completed her MFA in Interior Design at Parsons The New School for Design in May 2015.  Her thesis work aimed to deepen the relationship between people and physical space.  Prior to beginning her education at Parsons she worked in several financial analysis roles, most recently as a Credit Analyst for Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. in St. Louis, MO and a Treasury Services Financial Analyst for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Chicago, IL.  She has a BSBA from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Amy John

Amy John

Post Graduate Researcher

Spring 2016 - present

Amy holds a BFA in Integrated Design.

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Aran Baker

Aran Baker

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2015

Aran is a designer, strategist, and urban practitioner with a Master’s of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies from Parsons School of Design. She is passionate about exploring the health impacts of our environments and creating greater awareness around environmental health. 

Aran also has an MFA in graphic design and a certificate in sustainable design from UC Berkeley. While living in San Francisco, Aran worked with architect and ecological design pioneer Sim Van der Ryn to research the relationship between health and building for his book Design for an Empathic World, published by Island Press in 2013. In addition to the Healthy Materials Lab, Aran’s current work focuses on the intersection of climate change, urbanism, and health. 

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Christian Smirnow

Christian Smirnow

Research Associate

Summer 2016

Christian Smirnow has received his BA and MA in Textile / Surface Design at weißensee Art Academy Berlin (Germany) with a specialization in innovation for constructed textiles / weaving. He is interested in the meaning of innovation for fashion and textiles, as cultural tools that communicate ecological and societal change. In his design studio SmirnowStudios, he creates “Textiles in Context” - textile-based conceptual designs that are academically well-informed, aesthetically appealing and socially relevant.Christian is currently a German Fulbright student in MFA Transdisciplinary Design (class of 2017) at the School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design (New York City). His focus lies on the sociological and sustainable responsibility of Design and designers on a systemic scale. Christian believes in Design as a leadership model for innovation and change and he aims to truly impact the future of strategic design development for organizations and communities. As part of a group of five designers, he recently won one the New Challenge innovation competition with “GoodFill”.
He has worked as the branding director of the student-led Transdisciplinary Design Conference VergeNYC. In Summer 2016, he is a fellow at Parsons Healthy Materials Lab, and he will be holding a teaching assistant position for “Innovation” in the Strategic Design and Management Program at Parsons in Fall 2016. He is also a recipient of the DESIS Design Fellowship 2016/17.

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Cory Saul

Cory Saul

Research Associate

Summer 2015 - Fall 2015

Originally from San Clemente, California, Cory Saul has been living in New York for just over a year, and he is still overwhelmed. After graduating from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego with a BA in Writing, he spent a year living in rural Oregon, so life in the big city is a bit different from what he's used to. 

Though he has a professional background in journalism, he is enrolled in The New School's MFA Creative Writing program as a writer of fiction. A lover of all things geeky, his current project is a sci-fi novel about queer superheroes. His other interests include cooking, tennis, sustainability, and cats. 

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Darcy Bender

Darcy Bender

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2016 - present

Darcy Bender is a designer, maker, and researcher based in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Her work aims to understand how systems affect people at multiple scales and communicates their relationships through maps, guided tours, print media, workshops, exhibitions, and data visualizations. She studied architecture at University of Oregon and recently graduated from the Design and Urban Ecologies program at Parsons where she designed projects addressing systems of affordable housing, community participation, mass incarceration, climate change, and waste infrastructure. She has experience working in city government, affordable housing construction, retail display, and museum education. 

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Del Hoyle

Del Hoyle

Research Associate

Summer 2015 - present

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Diedre Brown

Diedre Brown

Research Associate

Fall 2015 - present

With extensive study in the natural sciences, Diedre Brown is passionate about comprehending the 'anatomy and physiology' of all things. To her, the world is a minefield of potential research and analysis topics, and she finds pure delectation in the interconnectivity of diverse materials, subjects, and philosophies.

As a graduate architecture student at Parsons, Diedre applies biochemical models and the integration of living organisms to address issues in the built environment.

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Drew Vanderburg

Drew Vanderburg

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2015 - present

Drew is a director and designer who is happy to be working as the videographer for the Healthy Affordable Materials Project.  His training is in theatrical directing, telling stories and crafting narratives throughout the NYC downtown theater scene.  He has worked extensively in film as well, both as an independent documentary filmmaker and as a cameraman for Works and Process at The Guggenheim Museum.  There he has filmed on-stage and behind the scenes for productions of the Metropolitan Opera, The New York City Ballet, The Juilliard School, Playwrights Horizons, and the Santa Fe Opera as well as special art projects for Carrie Mae Weems, Christopher Wool, and Richard Hell.  Now as a Master's candidate in Design and Urban Ecologies at Parsons, Drew is exercising his storytelling to visualize the progress of social and environmental justice projects in the urban context.

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Felicity Lu-Hill

Felicity Lu-Hill

Post Graduate Researcher

Felicity is a Creative Writing MFA Candidate at The New School. She is also the Editor for The Inquisitive Eater and the Digital Strategist for Barbershop Books. Along with the websites for Healthy Materials Lab and Barbershop Books, her writing has been published on The New School Blog and Enchantress Magazine, where she was also an editor. Felicity enjoys writing in all forms. Along with writing articles, she also writes short stories and conducts interviews. She is currently working on a novel and a screenplay.

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Grant Goldner

Grant Goldner

Post Graduate Researcher

Grant works at the intersection of Design and Science. Growing up in New York, Grant felt man’s dominance over nature. Contrastingly, his years in British Columbia’s forests, revealed nature’s power over the built world. These contrasting living experiences have catalyzed Grant’s mission of harmonizing the industrial and natural worlds.

Courses with the Biomimicry Institute inspired Grant’s practice of emulating survival adaptations in nature for our human design challenges. Attending the Parsons School of Design shifted Grant’s sustainable design approach from integrating nature with purely mechanical applications into products that engage meaningful behaviors.

As a board member of the New York’s chapter of the Industrial Designers of America, Grant advocates for the cross disciplinary future of design. He is pursuing a design and science cross pollination as a New Lab @ Science Sandbox Fellow of the Simons Foundation.

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Jennifer June

Jennifer June

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2016 - present

Jennifer June is a graduate of Parsons double MFA Interior and Lighting Design program. Before moving to New York she studied Printmaking at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland Oregon. Translating her love of surface design she opened a successful interior design business, Hermitage, that specialized in bespoke hand printed wallpaper.  Most recently, her interest in craft and design led her to work on a collaborative project with Donna Karan’s Urban Zen in Haiti connecting Haitian artisans to a central design studio and global marketplace.

Jennifer is excited to join the Healthy Materials Lab where she can continue to pursue her passion in community health and social engagement through the tools of design.

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Julia Borowicz

Julia Borowicz

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2016 - present

Julia Borowicz is an urbanist with experience in community planning and non profit social justice work. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in Urban Studies, Human Geography and Political Science. She has worked with a number of organizations whose constituents include: women who have experienced violence, recent immigrants filing human rights claims and underserved communities and youth. She worked to deliver their mandate, while also addressing these issues through a systemic lens in the form of research and community development. She has recently graduated from the MA Theories of Urban Practice at Parsons, The New School for Design. Her current endeavors as an urbanist are centered on critical design interventions that engage with issues of difference and challenge systemic exclusion of the public in urban processes. Julia is excited to expand her work to include developing and communicating strategies that can transform the building industry for a healthier environment for all. 

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Larissa Begault

Larissa Begault

Post Graduate Research Fellow

Spring 2015 - present

Larissa graduated from the Architectural Association in Architecture in 2010, and completed a Master’s in Theories of Urban Practice at Parsons School of Design, The New School.

Her passion for housing and sustainable development started in Santiago, Chile where she worked for an emergency housing organization SELAVIP. This was further complemented by participating in an urban research project in Havana, Cuba focussed on a community lead environmental project for long term economic and social development. She then practiced as a Lead Designer for three years in London, at Feilden Fowles Architects, a studio driven by sustainable design practices and primarily working on educational projects. Her latest work has focussed on concepts of belonging and alternative notions of citizenship that engender a more just, representative and participatory democracy. She sees urbanism and development as fields encompassing many interrelated components, each playing a fundamental role in achieving a safe and healthy environment for all those within them. Larissa is excited to further her research and have the opportunity to impact the ecosystem around the building industry through the Healthy Materials Lab.

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Lindsey Dieter

Lindsey Dieter

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2015 - present

Lindsey Dieter is an Alberta native, currently residing in New York City. She was trained as a contemporary-ballet dancer and has performed across Canada and the United States. She holds a bachelor of Kinesiology with a minor in Fine Arts from the University of Calgary and is interested in the intersection of human health and design. 

Lindsey is currently completing a Master of Fine Arts in Interior and Lighting Design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. Her latest work focuses on the impact of the built environment on physical movement and human health.

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Marcea Decker

Marcea Decker

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2015 - Fall 2015

Marcea graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science, and completed a Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies at Parsons The New School For Design. Originally from the arid desert of Phoenix, Arizona, Marcea moved to New York City in 2013 to pursue research interests surrounding design, digital knowledges, media & culture.

Marcea spends her time as part-time faculty at Eugene Lang Liberal Arts College, The New School, as well as a freelance graphic designer & consultant. With Healthy Materials Lab, Marcea strategizes, designs, and implements communication/outreach and social media campaigns. Her other interests include vegan baking, playing video games, experimenting with her Raspberry Pi, illustrating cartoons, and 3D printing.

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Marina Lodi

Marina Lodi

Post Graduate Research Fellow

Fall 2015 - present

Marina is a recent graduate from the MFA Interior and Lighting Design at Parsons. Before moving to New York she lived in São Paulo, Brazil, where she received her bachelor's degree in Cinema, and worked with Production Design for many years.

Marina always had a strong interest on how to combine storytelling and narrative with design. Materials have been performing an important role on her work as one of the main characters that act on the building environment

Currently collaborating with other designers in New York City, Marina is also a research fellow at the Healthy Materials Lab.

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Mochi Liu

Mochi Liu

Post Graduate Researcher

Summer 2015 - Spring 2016

Mochi Liu is a Chinese American designer, artist and craftsman. His aesthetics heavily reference both Eastern and Western cultures. His works range from origami art installation at the White House to design-build pavilion in a New York City park. He is devoted to socially responsible design and helping others explore their own creativity. 

Prior to moving to New York City, Mochi Liu was employed with DiMella Shaffer, an architectural firm in Boston for four years. During this time he participated in various affordable housing, nursing home, senior housing and sustainable campus projects.

Mochi Liu received the Parsons Design Fellowship, launched by Parsons and the Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation in 2015. He worked with the artisans in Haiti and helped to create The Design, Organization, Training Center (D.O.T), a nonprofit organization that bridges Haiti’s traditional artisan techniques with the modernity and design innovation needed to succeed in today’s global marketplace.

He received a Bachelor of Engineering in Urban Planning from Southeast University in 2008 and a Master of Architecture with honors from Parsons School of Design.

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Nidhi Pugalia

Nidhi Pugalia

Research Associate

Nidhi Pugalia left the best coast and landed in New York to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at The New School. She's an ardent reader, writer, and puppy lover hoping to leave her literary mark in the world. She's currently working on her first novel.

Healthy Materials Lab has opened a whole new venue of writing for her and a new interest in healthy living. She's passionate about articulating meaningful stories about driven people - and that's exactly what she's found at HML.

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Sara Minard

Sara Minard

Post Graduate Research Fellow

Spring 2015 - Summer 2016

Sara grew up in Brooklyn, New York and completed her BA at McGill University, Montreal, with a major in Anthropology and minor in Cultural Studies. Upon graduation she moved to London, UK where she worked in the fashion and textile industries. As Director of a luxury textile design company based in Central London, she recognized the potential that small scale urban manufacturing has for enriching the city’s economic diversity. Sara returned to New York for a masters degree at Parsons the New School for Design the Theories of Urban Practice. As a native New Yorker, she is dedicated to working towards a future that ensures a vibrant, diverse and sustainable environment for generations to come.  This passion extends to her work at The Healthy Materials Lab researching how healthier environments are possible in the context of affordable housing industry. 

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Zanny Venner

Zanny Venner

Research Associate

Summer 2015

Alexandra Venner (Zanny) reigns from the city of Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada.  Her move across the boarder from the West Coast to the East Coast has now placed her to enter her final thesis year in the Master of Science Design and Urban Ecologies Program at Parsons. Her thesis ahead lies in Latin America with an Ecuadorian context on territorial injustices.

Over all, Zanny is motivated by big mountains, people, and the processes of city-making. As a young woman balancing a rich city life with never-ending mountain invitations, Zanny is learning to find a way to let adventure, education and work coalesce and resonate into a single way of seeing and acting in the world. The life she lives, as an elite athlete, urban practitioner, and backcountry traveler, is her launching point.

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