About The Class (Student Bios)


Farah Altaweel

My name is Farah Altaweel, and I am a graphic designer, artist, and an aspiring educator from Qatar. I am a RISD MA graduate in Art and Design education. My work and research explore the role of design thinking in developing creative learning experiences for children. For now, I am not liming my contexts, thus I am researching different mediums and spaces that can facilitate creative learning for children with different needs and interests. This class introduced me to modern concepts and uses of different digital spaces, and the ways they are conditioned to users’ needs, interesting, political conversations, etc. One of the projects I developed for this class is a photography project that integrated the concept of Distortion in the way media addresses politics and facts. I used photography to educate people about Alternative Facts, and how medias can deliver skewed content to serve an agenda.

The project can be viewed here:


Follow me on Behance to be up to date with my design and educational projects.


Feel free to reach out to me through twitter @altaweelfs.

Leah Burgin

Leah Burgin will graduate May 2017 with an MA in the Public Humanities from Brown University. With a background in informal education and anthropological archaeology, she’s interested in how cultural institutions facilitate public engagement with objects, stories, and people. Learn more about her work at leahburgin.wordpress.com.

Emily Esten

Emily Esten is an MA student in Public Humanities at Brown University. Her #Resistance final project documents the rogue government Twitter Resistance movement inspired by the Trump administration’s social media gag order to federal agencies. What can we learn from “rogue twitter” about digital activism? What can it teach us about advocacy and government in social public spaces? Other projects for this course include impersonating Britney Spears and referring to nineteenth-century exhibition catalogs as databases. Emily frequently shares her experience in new media, history, museums, and pedagogy on Twitter.

Maria Paula Garcia Mosquera

Maria Paula Garcia Mosquera: Historian/Gestora Cultural. MA Humanidades Públicas at Brown University.

Andrea Ledesma

Andrea Ledesma is an emerging #musetech professional. A public humanist and digital devotee, she explores how the public connects with and finds  meaning in cultural heritage through technology. Andrea recently graduated with an MA in Public Humanities from Brown University. Find her on Twitter @am_ledesma and learn more about her work at www.andrealedesma.com.

Eric Peterson

My name is Eric Peterson and I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in American Studies at Brown. I also work full-time at Brown in Athletic Communications. I’m interested in digital communication and how the rapid rise of new media, across different platforms and demographics, has shaped American society and culture. For my final project, I explored how data can be showcased through different visual tools, specifically looking at physical therapy’s role in the current opioid epidemic. You can find me on Twitter @epete15.

CJ Risman

I am a senior at Brown University studying American Studies and Modern Culture & Media and pursuing a career in video journalism. More info on me and examples of my work may be found at https://www.cjrisman.com.

Brigitte Santana

Brigitte Santana:  I’m a Public Humanities MA student at Brown. Some of my joys include portraiture, cherimoyas, and the occasional outer space metaphor. My areas of academic interest include: digital humanities, information science, social psychology, ethnic studies, and visual culture. Professionally, I am interested in digital engagement and museum education. I aim to make museums more accessible and equitable places to work and visit (online and IRL).

Description of my project:  Using objects created by Latin American artists available on the RISD Museum’s website as a jumping off point, I performed a case study evaluating the RISD Museum’s strategy for identifying, organizing, and interpreting metadata, as well as general museum metadata practices. I also developed a proof of concept for the RISD Museum of a social tagging event that could serve as a starting point for a larger project of audience engagement.

Links to my blog posts:

“Saving Face: Distorting my Internet Performance of Gender and Class”

“Exploring the Activist Possibilities of Expanded Metadata”

Twitter accounthttps://twitter.com/pastelbrigitte

Personal websitehttp://www.brigittesantana.com/

Emily Sellon

Emily Sellon is graduating with her MA from the Public Humanities program in 2017. She is interested in working with and for young people to create arts spaces that engage, challenge, and inspire. For her final project in this course, she created an animation telling the story of a community arts organization’s impact over the past five years. You can learn more about Emily at her web site: https://emilysellon.wordpress.com.

Ben Smith

Project: Survey and analysis of digital textual interpretation


Brian Croxall, Digital Humanities Librarian at the Brown University Library and Brown’s Center for Digital Scholarship, stopped by to discuss best practices related to managing online professional identities.

Alicia Peaker, Digital Scholarship Specialist at Bryn Mawr College, beamed in for a class session to discuss crowdsourcing methodologies and projects (and her work on Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive).

Patrick Rashleigh, Data Visualization Coordinator at the Brown University Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship, provided students with an overview of data visualization design principles.

Jim would also like to thank Susan Smulyan, Robyn Schroeder, Ryan Cordell, Alex Galarza, Thomas Padilla, and Liz Polcha for various conversations about and related to this course.


Jim McGrath is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Public Humanities at Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. At Brown he has previously taught courses in Digital Public Humanities. He received his doctorate in English from Northeastern University. You can learn more about Jim at his personal web site and you can find him on Twitter @JimMc_Grath.