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Our Team

We collaborate to enable transformative actions and change.

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Alison Mears

Alison Mears

Director and Co-Founder, Healthy Materials Lab

AIA, LEED AP

Full Bio

Alison Mears, AIA, LEED AP is an architect, Associate Professor of Architecture, and Director and Co-Founder of Healthy Materials Lab. She is co-Principal Investigator of the Healthy Affordable Materials Project (HAMP). HAMP is a three-year funded by The JPB Foundation recently refunded for an additional three years (to 2021). The Project is a coalition of four organizations who work together to detoxify the interior environments of Affordable Housing.

Mears focuses her research on design strategies that disrupt the building supply chain to incorporate human health as criteria for evaluating building products. Previously, Mears served as the Parsons Dean of the School of Design Strategies and Director of the BFA Architectural Design and Interior Design programs. Mears teaches architectural design studios at Parsons focused on building, urban and community issues. She is currently a partner in the architectural practice, Paci + Mears Architects PC.

healthymaterialslab.org/

Jonsara Ruth

Jonsara Ruth

Co-Founder & Design Director, Healthy Materials Lab

ASID, IIDA

Full Bio

Jonsara Ruth is Design Director at Healthy Materials Lab, Founding Director of the MFA Interior Design Program, and Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design. Here she led AFTERTASTE, a symposium that brings new definition to the field of interiors. Central to her work is listening to and learning from diverse perspectives, and studying human experience, behavior, and health as principal motivations for design. Material curiosities drive her research.

Jonsara is a designer and artist and founded Salty Labs, a collaborative design studio, to improve environmental health while creating viscerally designed spaces, events, and furniture. Previous experience includes leading design of furniture for mass production with materials and manufacturing processes that eliminate risks to human health and the environment. With Q Collection Junior she designed the worlds first Greenguard Certified crib for children.

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

healthymaterialslab.org

Ahalia Persaud

Ahalia Persaud

Assistant Director

Full Bio

Ahalia Persaud is a Brooklyn-native and daughter of Guyanese immigrants. A first-generation college student, she received a BA in Sociology and Arts Administration from Simmons College, Boston, MA. During her time in undergrad, she was a community organizer for underrepresented populations and continues to advocate for social justice.

Prior to the Lab, Ahalia worked for Parsons’ School of Design Strategies and Brooklyn Public Library. Currently, she is a board member of Global Action Project (G.A.P.), a youth media justice organization focused on amplifying stories of low-income, immigrant, TGNC and LGBQ youth. She is a new homeowner in East New York, Brooklyn and is excited for the opportunity to work with HML and learn all about healthy materials.

Ava Robinson

Ava Robinson

Office Administrator

Full Bio

Ava is a lifelong Brooklynite who grew up surrounded by the construction industry and is currently living in an active construction site. She’s both terrified and fascinated by all the Lab has begun to teach her about healthy building materials.

Before coming to Healthy Materials Lab Ava worked as an Administrative Coordinator at the Tenement Museum. A writer and storyteller, Ava is excited to work on narrative projects with the Lab, such as the upcoming podcast. She developed, coordinated, and wrote scripts for the Tenement Museum’s podcast, How to Be American, and she was also a production assistant on Dean & Deluca’s podcast, Prince Street. Her writing has been published in Little Patuxent Review, Literary Orphans, Soundings East, River River, and Santa Fe Writers Project.

Catherine Murphy

Catherine Murphy

Senior Researcher

Full Bio

Trained as an artist and designer, Catherine is dedicated to making physical spaces healthier, in every way for everyone. Passionate about renovation and re-use, Catherine’s designs respond to the history of the place and the client, rather than adhering to a signature style. Her practice is rooted in craft and the inherent potential of materials in their purest and healthiest states. Her current research explores re-use, repair, and stories of place through the lens of textiles.

Catherine has led educational programming at the Lab for five years. She also teaches at Columbia GSAPP and The New School. She holds a Master of Fine Art in Interior Design from Parsons School of Design. Her undergraduate degree - Fine Craft Design (UU, Belfast) - specialized in Embroidery. She is from Sligo in the west of Ireland.

Leila Behjat

Leila Behjat

Senior Design Researcher

Full Bio

Leila D Behjat joined the Healthy Materials Lab in January 2019 as a Design Researcher.

With a Dipl. Ing. (Master) in Architecture from the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, Germany (now Hafencity Universitaet), she worked on both residential and commercial projects including interior design and light design in Germany, Austria, Zambia, Botswana and the US.

Creating spaces has always been the driving motivation of her work - physically as well as personally by bringing people together. Within this, the question of healthy building materials - old and new – has accompanied her all throughout her work.

Having moved to the US, work for the sustainable Design - Build & Retail Company, TreeHouse Inc., allowed her to gain rich experience in remodeling with healthy materials, a true merge of dear to heart disciplines which she continues to this day.

Her German - Iranian heritage and the different cultures of countries she has lived in, create in her a sense that there is never just one answer to a question, and she strongly believes the drive of this day and age to be collaboration.

Burgess Brown

Burgess Brown

Podcast Producer

Full Bio

Burgess is a media developer and urbanist from Macon, Georgia. He has a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism and a master’s degree in Theories of Urban Practice from Parsons School of Design at The New School. His background is in public radio and engagement focused journalism. As the Community Manager for Internews’ Listening Post Collective, he developed innovative journalism projects across the country aimed at better addressing the information needs of underserved communities. Now, as a researcher and podcast producer at the Lab, he uses storytelling to make material health accessible and relevant to a general audience. Through Trace Material, the Lab’s podcast, he seeks to uncover the ways the materials we surround ourselves with have shaped our culture, health, and environment.


shirin anlen

shirin anlen

Communications Team

Full Bio

shirin anlen is an award-winning creative technologist and experience designer with a decade of experience collaborating with studios and talents in developing story-driven projects. Her artistic practice involves creative coding, interaction design, drawings, and data research that form the basis for real-life storytelling in emerging technologies. She is motivated to join the lab and create meaningful content that can empower and engage communities.

Cristina Handal

Cristina Handal

Communications Team

Full Bio

Cristina Handal is an architect and urbanist, and has worked as a consultant and designer in Latin America, North America and Africa. She teaches courses in urban ecologies, urban design, architecture and information design at Parsons. She received her architecture degrees from Barnard College and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, followed by a Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies at Parsons. She is a recent PhD graduate of public and urban policy at The New School. In her research, she explores the intersections between physical space, social behavior and policy.

Elinor Salomon

Elinor Salomon

Communications Team

Full Bio

Elinor Salomon is a designer, artist and researcher based in Amsterdam. Elinor is currently pursuing her MA at The Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague, at the Non-Linear Narrative Program. She wrote her thesis on narratives of expansions: resources, ethics and body politics in the new space race; Her current research deals with spectacular visual evidence - how the contamination of the skies interferes with civilians and the astronautical research community. Her experience as a designer includes working with cultural institutions, art academies, independent creatives and sustainable retail initiatives.

Samantha Bennett

Samantha Bennett

Researcher

Full Bio

Sam Bennett is an ethnographer, maker, and designer with expertise in the fields of space and objects. She believes in slow research that minimally impacts our planet and advocates for human well-being. Currently, her own research focuses on consumerism, accumulation, and repair of objects. You can find her investigating people’s relationships to objects in the domestic space, making with mycelium and discarded materials, repairing meaningful artifacts, and running Clever/Slice, a global space to share in-progress creative work. Past collaborators include DonateNYC, Perkins+Will, SITU, Colony Co-op, and Martha Stewart Living. She received an MFA in Interior Design from Parsons and a BFA in Textile Design and Art History from the University of Kansas. Sam also teaches at Parsons, Pratt Institute, and New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Interior Design and Industrial Design departments. In her free time, she darns and writes letters on one of her five typewriters.

Carey Gallagher

Carey Gallagher

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Carey is a first-year graduate student in the Interior Design program at Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments. She earned her BA from the University of California Davis where she majored in Design and minored in Architecture History with a special emphasis on counterculture architecture. Prior to coming to Parsons, Carey worked for the non-profit Women in Animation as a project manager and helped support their efforts to bring greater equity to the animation industry. She also served as a research assistant on the book Zero Net Energy Case Study Homes: Volume 1.

In her work and studies, Carey’s focus is on individual and environmental well being. She is interested in the role of nostalgia and phenomenology in design, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and creating spaces that foster human creativity while reducing our impact on the planet.

Dani Castillo

Dani Castillo

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

An aspiring urbanist-artist-designer, Dani studied Architecture and Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her time at Samaj Pragati Sahayog, a non-governmental organization, was formative in furthering design thinking and grappling with the definition of ‘empowerment’, liberation, resource distribution, etc.; this opportunity allowed for engagement in thoughtful, intentional design processes that considered sustainability, accessibility, and waste with a talented team of designers & local producers. Through a constant rooting/unrooting process, she finds herself continuously drawn to the complex nature of urban environments (Mexico City, Houston, Philly, NYC), and hopes to further delve into environmental justice, combating climate grief, resiliency, collective vs. individual healing and expression.

Jordan Taylor

Jordan Taylor

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

An aspiring multidisciplinary designer, Jordan is a second-year graduate student in the Industrial Design program at Parsons School of Constructive Environments. She earned her BFA in Graphic Design and Visual Communications from the University of Florida in 2019. Her curiosity stems from her eagerness to continue learning and challenge existing design ideas.

Jordan’s interests lie in the advancement of technology and its potential applications to current system infrastructures. At present, she interested in learning new strategies that disrupt conventional design thinking in the transportation industry as it relates to healthier practices. Jordan seeks to continue exploring and adopting ways in which we can design healthier equitable futures.

Logan Magee

Logan Magee

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Logan Frances is a fourth-year BAFA student studying Communications Design and Literary Studies (Writing). Her work in both design and writing centers aesthetics, music, and cultural practices as resistance, particularly in Black communities throughout the US. In her time in New York thus far, she has worked for several student groups and independent projects, heading design, creative direction, and research/archiving. Outside of her studies, Logan is interested in multi-disciplinary projects and collaborations, music production, and creating free educational programming.

Meryl Smith

Meryl Smith

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Meryl Smith is a third-year Master of Architecture student at Parsons School of Design. She received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Colorado Denver in 2017 and for the two following years worked as an Architectural Designer at firms specializing in Healthcare Design and Planning for rural communities in Colorado. She grew up in Upstate New York, in an affordable and sustainable home designed and built by her parents in 1998, so challenging the norms of architecture and construction in order to make responsible design decisions is something that she deeply believes in. Throughout her work and studies, she focuses on the intersection of visceral experience with function and practicality.

Nada Salem

Nada Salem

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Nada is a graduate student at the MS in Strategic Design & Management program at the Parsons School of Design. She is trained as an interior designer and has worked for the global consultancy firm Dar Al-Handasah on a variety of mega-scale projects, including mixed-use developments, hotels, embassies, and areas of worship. Nada is also co-founder of Film My Design (FMD), a Cairo-based startup that highlights the Egyptian design story through film. Through her practice and studies, Nada is working to understand the interdisciplinary nature of design, and how that can be used to positively impact the built environment. In addition, she is particularly interested in the intersection between design and culture; specifically the impact of these two elements on countries, cities, and their resulting design scenes.

Pavithra Chandrasekhar

Pavithra Chandrasekhar

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Pavithra is a second-year graduate student at the Parsons School of Design. Her focus before arriving in the United States was in Visual Communication. She is a multimedia designer with professional experience in digital marketing, graphic design, photography, and, interactive design. 

Through her studies and work, she explores inclusive and safe digital spaces, digital equality, emerging technology and the relationship between humans and machines through a design process of rigorous research, prototyping, iteration, and collaboration. She aims to investigate and tackle challenges at the convergence of design and technology to create positive social and environmental impact.

Weronika (Vera) Banas

Weronika (Vera) Banas

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Multidisciplinary designer, artist, and a creative mind. Graduated with MA in Interior design in 2018 in Warsaw, Poland. Currently a first-year graduate student in the Industrial Design program at Parsons School of Constructive Environment. My main focus as a human and as a designer is a sustainability and material innovation. In my creations, I am trying to stay conscious and aware of environmental impact. Bio-materials explorations are not only my passion but also a mission of changing the way in which nowadays people perceive design. As a Fulbright Scholar and the Absolvent of Michaelangelo Foundation "Young Ambassador” program, I would like to bring attention to the craft and the process of production. I have studied, worked, and gather experience by living in Warsaw, Munich, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Venice, Shanghai, and Zhengzhou. It's time for New York. Materials Matter!

August Rust

August Rust

Donghia Healthier Materials Library Student Researcher

Full Bio

August is a BABFA student in their final year studying Product Design & Interdisciplinary Science at the New School. Their educational focus is understanding health inequalities facing LGBT+, disabled and additional marginalized communities through sustainable, inclusive design. Post-graduating, they hope to continue exploring how to design healthier, equitable futures through their consulting work for socially sustainable aimed non-profits and B-Corps. Their work around community organizing has received GLSEN & PFLAG scholarships. 

gus_rust@newschool.edu

Healthy Materials Lab Advisory Committee

Ana Baptista

Ana Baptista

Chair of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management Program, The New School

Full Bio

Ana is Chair of the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management graduate program and an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at the Milano School. She also serves as the Associate Director for the Tishman Environment & Design Center (TEDC) at The New School.

Ana's research and professional practice focuses on environmental and climate justice. She works directly with impacted communities and coalitions to support the advancement of community led, critical and systemic alternatives to achieve environmental justice.

Ana completed her Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She received her Master’s degree from Brown University in Environmental Studies and has an undergraduate degree in Environmental & Evolutionary Biology as well as Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College.

tishmancenter.org

Kate Daly

Kate Daly

Executive Director Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners

Full Bio

Kate Daly is Managing Director at Closed Loop Partners, an impact investment firm, and leads their advisory services arm, the Center for the Circular Economy. The Center is a hub for circular business acceleration, investment, and research in packaging, food, the built environment, electronics and apparel & textiles. Kate previously served as Senior Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where she oversaw industry-facing initiatives in sectors including advanced manufacturing, smart cities, cleantech, fashion, tech, and media. Prior to NYCEDC Kate served as the Executive Director of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

closedlooppartners.com/the-center

Joanna Frank

Joanna Frank

President and CEO, Center for Active Design

Full Bio

Joanna Frank is the President & CEO of the Center for Active Design, where she advances design and development practices to foster healthy and engaged communities. The Center for Active Design is the operator for Fitwel, a unique building certification that positively impacts occupant health and productivity through an integrated approach to workplace design and operations. Prior to launching the Center, Ms. Frank worked for the City of New York, where her positions included Director of Active Design and Director of the NYC FRESH program.

Before working for the City, Ms. Frank was a Partner at Bright City Development, LLC where she was responsible for the development of mixed-use residential buildings using sustainable design criteria. Ms. Frank is a member of the American Heart Association Workplace Health Steering Committee, as well as the Urban Land Institute's Affordable/Workforce Housing Council.

Dr. Maida Galvez

Dr. Maida Galvez

Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine, Public Health and Pediatrics- Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Full Bio

Dr. Maida Galvez is a pediatrician and Associate Professor in the Departments of Environmental Medicine & Public Health and Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where she is Founding Director of the New York State Children’s Environmental Health Center —the first state-wide, publicly funded model for children’s environmental health clinical services in the United States. She also serves as Director of the Region 2 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, a US Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control serving New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Dr. Galvez works to translate emerging research into programs and policies that prevent and reduce environmental exposures for children, their families, and their communities.

mountsinai.org/maida-p-galvez

Rolf Halden, Ph.D., P.E.

Rolf Halden, Ph.D., P.E.

Center Director & Professor Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, Arizona State University

Full Bio

Rolf is a Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment and Founding Director of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Environmental Security and the Biodesign CES Mass Spectrometry Facility at Arizona State University, where he also holds affiliate appointments in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering and the Barrett Honors College. He has 20 years of experience in environmental monitoring, human health assessment, and sustainability science. Rolf has authored 150 peer-reviewed articles, reports, and patents, a book on emerging contaminants, as well as 300+ presentations at national and international symposia. Rolf was a co-founding member of the Center for Water and Health at Johns Hopkins University, where he maintains an adjunct faculty appointment in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. Rolf received his M.S. in Biology from the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining academia, he was a postdoc and project engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he directed a team engaged in groundwater and soil remediation. Rolf has been invited repeatedly to brief the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Academies, and U.S. Congress on emerging contaminants and sustainability issues.

Seandra Pope

Seandra Pope

Founder & CEO, Rooted Consulting Group

Full Bio

Seandra is a well-respected thought leader, innovative strategist, and trusted authority who not only conceptualizes unique methods for developing strategies and building bridges across issues, sectors, demographics, and communities, but also offers facilitation and guidance for implementation of such methodologies. Seandra was raised in GA, where she was baptized at Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Spelman College.

Seandra has, during the course of her career in strategic consulting, program creation and implementation, worked with SEIU as Lead Organizer and Program Manager, Sierra Club as Program Manager and SACE as the Director of Diversity and Community Partnerships, to name a few. Seandra maintains a deep passion for engaging people in policy and works to establish the frameworks from which non-profit organizations, special interest groups, politicians, and the electorate can analyze and actively participate in energy, climate and environmental justice issues.

Susan Szenasy

Susan Szenasy

Director of Design, Innovation Metropolis Magazine

Full Bio

Susan S. Szenasy is Director of Design Innovation and former Editor-in-Chief of Metropolis, and has led the magazine through decades of landmark design journalism while achieving domestic and international recognition.

Internationally recognized as an authority on sustainability and design, Susan sits on the boards of the Fashion Institute of Technology's Interior Design department and the Center for Architecture Advisory, and has served one term on the Landscape Architecture Foundation board and two terms on the Council for Interior Design Accreditation board. She has been honored with two IIDA Presidential Commendations, and was the 2008 recipient of the ASID Patrons Prize and Presidential Commendation, as well as the SARA/NY medallion of honor. Along with METROPOLIS Publisher Horace Havemeyer III, Susan was a 2007 recipient of the Civitas August Heckscher Award for Community Service and Excellence, and in 2011 she won the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award. Susan is an honorary member of the ASLA and NYC AIA, and named a Senior Fellow by the Design Futures Council in 2011.

Susan holds an MA in Modern European History from Rutgers University, and honorary doctorates from Kendall College of Art and Design, the Art Center College of Design, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She lives in New York's East Village in a small loft designed by Harry Allen, where she moved after 9/11 to reduce her ecological footprint.

Research Collaborators

Andy Bernheimer

Andy Bernheimer

Assistant Professor of Architecture, Parsons School of Design

Full Bio

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.

David Leven

David Leven

Associate Professor of Architecture, Parsons School of Design

Full Bio

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.

Heechan Kim

Heechan Kim

Faculty Researcher

Full Bio

Heechan Kim is an object maker and an educator. He is from Seoul, South Korea and holds a BFA in Metal Art/ Jewelry from Seoul National University and an MFA in Furniture Design from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester NY.

His work explores materialities and traditional making process in contemporary context. He challenges the boundaries of functional objects and non-functional objects. Researching object making in history, he is finding new meanings and possibilities in making.
Currently, he is teaching a model making class in the Product Design program and a sculpture class in the Fine Art program.

Helen Quinn

Helen Quinn

Faculty Researcher

Full Bio

Helen Quinn is a stylist, designer, and artist living in New York City. She has been an editor and prop stylist for television, magazines, and catalogs. Her experience with color, texture, and interiors has led her to design textiles as well as paint lines. She has taught Color Lab and has led workshops at Parsons/The New School for the Aftertaste series and for Michelle Obama's "Reach Higher" initiative at the White House. Silkscreening, drawing with gouache and more recently, ceramics are her media of choice.

Jack Dinning

Jack Dinning

Former Director, Donghia healthier Materials Library

LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, Assoc. AIA

Full Bio

Jack Dinning is a designer and research strategist committed to making healthier environments for vulnerable populations, specifically through the elimination of toxic building materials.  As Director of the Donghia Healthier Materials Library, he led educational initiatives aimed at making concepts of material-health and toxicology more approachable to designers, providing frameworks for evaluating materials and their environmental impacts, and advised on architectural strategies for “designing-out” potential hazards. Through collaborations with firms such as LTL Architects and Bernheimer Architecture, his work advocates for the populations most vulnerable to exposures, from young children who are likely at critical stages of development to seniors in affordable housing who may have already faced a lifetime of exposures.

Jack holds a B.A. in Architectural Studies from Middlebury College and a Masters in Architecture from Parsons School of Design.

jdinning@newschool.edu
Lucille Tenazas

Lucille Tenazas

Henry Wolf Professor of Communication Design, Parsons School of Design

Full Bio

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.

Interested in joining the team?

Get in touch

Past Research Team

Abby Calhoun

Abby Calhoun

Former Assistant Director

Full Bio

Abby worked with Healthy Materials Lab since its launch in May 2015. Abby oversaw HML's communication strategy, and manages the day-to-day operations of the Lab. 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.

Addie Kramer

Addie Kramer

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

Addie Kramer is a graduate of the Parsons MFA Interior Design program. She has a long-held fascination with the impact of built environments on human wellbeing, and has grown increasingly passionate about the need for healthy constructed environments since beginning the program. Prior to moving to New York, Addie completed her BA in Art and Design at the University of Michigan, where she focused on fiber arts and completed a thesis project on the intersection of soft materials and childbirth.

Alie Kilts

Alie Kilts

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

Alie was born and raised in Portland, OR. She attended The University of Montana in Missoula where she received a bachelor’s in radio/television journalism. After graduating, she moved to Austin, TX where she worked as a graphic designer in the music industry. During this time, she became an avid cyclist and started working in transportation advocacy. This advocacy work led her to The New School to pursue an MS in Design and Urban Ecologies. Alie's thesis work focuses on uncovering the embodied experience of agency using feminist mapping techniques and podcasting.

Allison Sloan

Allison Sloan

Research Assistant

Full Bio

Allison is a second year student in the Creative Writing MFA program at The New School for non-fiction. She has a BA in Philosophy, Language and Science from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico (2011). She is currently working on her thesis; a collection of essays about the ways people interact with nature and their social/cultural constructs. Outside of her work at The New School, Allison teaches Vinyasa yoga and meditation in Brooklyn, New York where she has come to further understand the essential role inhabiting a healthy environment plays for our physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Amanda Kerschner

Amanda Kerschner

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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.

Amy John

Amy John

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

Spring 2016 - present

Amy holds a BFA in Integrated Design.

Aran Baker

Aran Baker

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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. 

Ashley Cloud

Ashley Cloud

Donghia Healthier Materials Library Student Researcher

Full Bio

Ashley is a first-year graduate student in the Interior Design program at Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments. She earned her BA from the University of North Carolina where she majored in American Studies with an emphasis on Folklore and Historic Preservation. Before coming to Parsons, Ashley worked both as a Design Consultant and a Sales Rep for Sherwin-Williams, specializing in renovation and restoration in both residential and commercial properties.
Her work is continually influenced by her desire to explore the complex relationship between people and their environments, and experimenting with the perceived notions of what makes a “good” or “healthy” space for living, working, and playing.

cloua028@newschool.edu
Christa Avampato

Christa Avampato

Communications Team

Full Bio

Christa Avampato is a writer, biomimicry scientist, and business leader based in New York City. She is thrilled to join the Healthy Materials Lab as a Researcher in strategic communications to combine her areas of expertise with her research on alternative materials to replace fossil fuel-based plastics. You can follow her never-ending curiosity on Twitter at @christanyc.

Christian Smirnow

Christian Smirnow

Research Assistant

Full Bio

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.

Claudia Newell

Claudia Newell

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Claudia is an undergraduate student in the Schools of Public Engagement and works on HML educational materials. Her areas of interest include public space, community engagement, temporary environments and sound studies.

A former Habitat ReStore volunteer, DIY renovator, and 596 Acres intern, she has always been interested in how our spaces affect our well-being. She sees information on healthier materials, practices and products as an opportunity for better community stewardship and resident empowerment.

Cory Saul

Cory Saul

Research Assistant

Full Bio

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.

Danni Peng

Danni Peng

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Danni is a master design student currently studying at the MFA Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons School of Design. She comes from the background of visual communication and currently works at the intersection of design-led research, digital design, and humanities. As a multidisciplinary designer, Danni is passionate about going beyond design and understanding complex systems behind human interactions. Through her research and study at Parsons, Danni hopes to bring a sense of warmth and human touch to everyday experience through human-centered products, services, and digital design.

Darcy Bender

Darcy Bender

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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. 

Del Hoyle

Del Hoyle

Research Associate

Full Bio

Summer 2015 - present

Diedre Brown

Diedre Brown

Research Associate

Full Bio

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.

Drew Vanderburg

Drew Vanderburg

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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.

Eve DeAngelis

Eve DeAngelis

Communications Strategist

Full Bio

Eve is a designer, researcher, and communications strategist. She holds a BFA in Product Design from Parsons School of Design and was the recipient of the 2018 Parsons Product Design Sustainable Vision Award. She is currently completing her MA in Strategic Design and Management; also at Parsons School of Design. Her work in professional & educational settings has focused on the intersection of design, environmental justice, and communication strategy.

Felicity Lu-Hill

Felicity Lu-Hill

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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.

Gamar Markarian

Gamar Markarian

Post Graduate Research Fellow

Full Bio

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. 

Grant Goldner

Grant Goldner

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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.

Ijeoma Nwatu

Ijeoma Nwatu

Communications Team

Full Bio

Ijeoma S. Nwatu a marketer turned freelance writer and editor. She’s worked in various marketing and communications roles for startups, nonprofits, and local government. Her contributions to the Healthy Materials Lab lie at the intersections of media, social justice, and community. When she’s not eating Nigerian rice and stew, she’s taking a walk, reading, or watching a documentary.

Irshaad Malloy

Irshaad Malloy

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Originally from Westchester, NY, Irshaad is a second-year graduate student in the Master’s of Architecture program at Parsons School of Design. She received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Kent State University in August of 2015 and remained in the area to work with a firm designing affordable housing for the following two years. She has specific interests in the organic environment's influence on architecture, as well as the ways in which cultures and cultural diversity can impact architectural design. Irshaad aims to contribute to the thoughtful intentionality that becomes healthy and affordable living environments.

Jennifer June

Jennifer June

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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.

Jonathan Lampson

Jonathan Lampson

Research Assistant

Full Bio

Jonathan is a designer and creative from Houston, Texas. Jonathan’s interest in material science and healthy materials initially developed during while pursuing his undergraduate degree at The University of Houston where he studied Interior Architecture. After graduating in 2015, issues of health and the built environment remained a central motive for Jonathan as a designer, playing a key role in his decision to pursue his M.Arch at the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons in the Fall of 2016. Jonathan’s work as a student and student researcher since joining The Healthy Materials Lab has continued to address and interrogate the human health, planned adaptation, and cross - generational sustainability of the built environment.

Julia Borowicz

Julia Borowicz

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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. 

Juliette Van Haren

Juliette Van Haren

Research Assistant

Full Bio

Juliette is a current 2nd year graduate student in the MFA Industrial Design Program. She focuses on the intersection of science and design, with an emphasis on environmental and human health. Juliette holds a bachelor of Biomedical Sciences and a master in Neurosciences from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and is interested in integrating more health research into design practices.

Larissa Begault

Larissa Begault

Post Graduate Research Fellow

Full Bio

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.

Lindsey Dieter

Lindsey Dieter

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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.

Maanasa Sivashankar

Maanasa Sivashankar

Student Research Assistant

Full Bio

Maanasa is a graduate student at Parsons School of Design. She is a formally trained Architect turned Design Strategist. She aims to develop her career at the intersection of public sector innovation, strategic design, and technology. Before joining The New School, Maanasa worked for Indian Institute for Human Settlements(IIHS, Bangalore) as an Architect. One of the projects she worked on, as a part of IIHS, was a Healthcare Infrastructure Guideline Book for the Government of Karnataka, India. Public health centers across the state used the guide-book to design-build Primary Health centers without having to invest in architects or developers for each project eventually helping cut costs. As a design strategist, Manasa's passion lies in creating economically feasible design solutions for the growing problems that cities face.

Marcea Decker

Marcea Decker

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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.

Mariana Gonzalez

Mariana Gonzalez

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

Mariana Gonzalez is currently studying the second year of the M.F.A. Transdisciplinary Design program at Parsons School of Design. Her academic background is Innovation and Design Engineering minoring in Operations management, while her professional experience is product engineering, project management, graphic design and interior design.

She is highly interested in exploring the role of designers in environmental and social challenges, and how as designers can create awareness, engagement, and allow consumers and other designers to make ethical and responsible choices by facilitating information in a meaningful way. She particularly enjoys getting to know different cultures, perspectives and also to understand people's motivations, frustrations, needs, and desires.

Marina Lodi

Marina Lodi

Post Graduate Research Fellow

Full Bio

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.

Mochi Liu

Mochi Liu

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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.

Nidhi Pugalia

Nidhi Pugalia

Research Associate

Full Bio

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.

Samantha Bennett

Samantha Bennett

Researcher

Full Bio

Sam Bennett is an ethnographer, maker, and designer with expertise in the fields of space and objects. She believes in slow research that minimally impacts our planet and advocates for human well-being. Currently, her own research focuses on consumerism, accumulation, and repair of objects. You can find her investigating people’s relationships to objects in the domestic space, making with mycelium and discarded materials, repairing meaningful artifacts, and running Clever/Slice, a global space to share in-progress creative work. Past collaborators include DonateNYC, Perkins+Will, SITU, Colony Co-op, and Martha Stewart Living. She received an MFA in Interior Design from Parsons and a BFA in Textile Design and Art History from the University of Kansas. Sam also teaches at Parsons, Pratt Institute, and New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Interior Design and Industrial Design departments. In her free time, she darns and writes letters on one of her five typewriters.

Sara Minard

Sara Minard

Post Graduate Research Fellow

Full Bio

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. 

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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. 

Zanny Venner

Zanny Venner

Research Associate

Full Bio

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.

Susannah Weaver

Susannah Weaver

Research Assistant, Donghia healthier Materials Library

Full Bio

Susannah is a current 4th year student in the BFA Product Design Program. By bringing a human-centric design approach to material research, Susannah focuses on the lifecycle of products. Through the lense of human health, environmental impact, and economy, she enjoys developing engaging products. In her free time, she makes jewelry and knits - ask about her recent wool-concrete experiments! Susannah works to combine the tactile nature of materials with user experience design.

Tina Lê

Tina Lê

Student Research Intern

Full Bio

tina lê was born in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyaang (Montreal) on unceded and contested land to the Kanien’kehá:ka and Anishinaabe Nations. They are double-majoring in Art History-Studio Arts and Philosophy at Concordia University. Their research-creation explores the antinomy of absence and presence, invisible labor, diasporic debt and alternative modes of drawing as extensions of the body through language, fibers and textiles, video, performance, and sound art. Invested in collaborative approaches, their practice delves into personhood, intersubjectivity, agency, and responsibility to investigate what it means to exist in an increasingly fraught and globalized world.

Thanos Stathopoulos

Thanos Stathopoulos

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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.

Winnie Chang

Winnie Chang

Post Graduate Researcher

Full Bio

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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