Damien Bright is a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Chicago and works on the politics of coral reef extinction. He is developing a dissertation on the circulation of mineral resources, commercial freight, paperwork, ocean chemistry and imaginations off the North-East Coast of Australia.
Pierce Gradone is a PhD student in Music at University of Chicago. Drawing inspiration from disparate sources including visual art, literary theory, popular culture, and Western music history, his work seeks to situate notions of groove, glitch, and virtuosity within a modernist tradition. His music been performed by Ensemble Dal Niente, Line Upon Line Percussion, So Percussion, Ursa Ensemble, Aeolus Quartet, the Sacramento Youth Symphony, the Parhelion Trio, Concert Black, the McCain Duo, the Peterson/Hayes Duo, and he has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Sacramento Youth Symphony and as a guest composer at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Pierce holds degrees in composition from Florida State University and the University of Texas at Austin.
Ashley Guo is a PhD student in the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. She earned her BS from Caltech, where she studied Chemical Engineering. Ashley now studies protein aggregation through molecular simulations. In addition to her work in simulations, she develops microfluidic devices that may aid in detecting these protein aggregates. Outside of the lab, Ashley enjoys biking, learning new languages, and growing things to eat on her apartment windowsill.
Elisabeth Hogeman is a MFA candidate in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. She holds a BA in English Literature and Studio Art from the University of Virginia, where she focused on photography and experimental approaches to autobiography in Modernist Literature. Her photographic and video-based work examines the relationship between containment, surveillance, and fantasies of disembodiment, using confining and confusing architecture as a platform to explore mind-body relationships.
Mikki Kressbach is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Cinema & Media Studies. She is currently working on her dissertation titled “Perfect Contagion Machine,” on contemporary representations of emerging infectious disease in film, television and video games. Her research examines the role of media forms and aesthetics as “instrumental” to the representation of interpretive and diagnostic processes that organize and contain contagion’s multiple networks. Outside of work, she’s much more concerned with ice cream, Lord & Miller films, eating in exciting places, and bike rides (to ice cream).
Martin Scheeler is a PhD candidate in the Physics Department, where he studies the dynamics of knotted vortices in fluid flows. As a previous Art, Science, and Culture Collaboration Grant winner, he is interested in understanding the concerns common to the artistic and scientific worlds. Outside of the lab, Martin can be found losing to middle schoolers at Magic: The Gathering tournaments and at storytelling events across Chicago.
Lu Yao is a PhD Candidate in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. She was born in China, but was brought to the U.S. by her parents when she was four years old. She received her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University, where she triple majored in Anthropology, Biology and the Integrated Science Program. For her PhD dissertation, Yao is studying specimen collections at the Field Museum, and at natural history museums across the world, to map the evolution of brain size and skull features in mammals that have evolved in isolated island environments.