Visual Art

Maite Iribarren

Maite Iribarren is a visual artist from Miami, where she is inspired by the city’s confluence of subtropical wilderness, heavy industry and Latin culture. She is currently finishing a dual degree in structural engineering and studio art, at the University of Michigan as a Shipman Scholar. Working primarily in sculpture, she draws from her heritage and background in engineering to identify physical and cultural objects to subject to a process of satirical, constrained translation. In her process, she builds a structural and visual translation of these objects by using a set of material and procedural constraints. These constraints stem from sources such as the structural geometry of the original object and the social conventions that define its form and function. The final product of this process often takes a striking shape through which she exposes the object’s hidden structural beauty while satirizing the distortionary effects of seemingly arbitrary social norms.

Library Mentor: Edras Rodriguez-Torres

“Invisible” Identity

Laura Rall and Ana Manzano

Both hailing from rural towns in southwest Michigan, Laura Rall and Ana Manzano are excited to be conducting interpersonal research of rural students on the U-M Ann Arbor campus. Students from rural backgrounds are considered “non-traditional” on the Ann Arbor campus, as they make up such a small amount of the population. Combining a small population with an “invisible” identity has left many rural students without support geared towards their unique needs. After conducting a thorough needs assessment and facilitating focus groups, Laura and Ana will be presenting a report based on their findings to CEW+ and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to advocate for more support for students with this identity.

Library Mentor: Angie Oehrli

Ruth Ellis Center Project

Kathryn Berringer

This project builds upon a Rackham Public Scholarship grant to continue an archival and oral history project in collaboration with the Ruth Ellis Center, a nonprofit organization providing social and medical services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth in metropolitan Detroit. Following a community-based participatory research model, the design of this project has been directed and informed by youth and staff at the Ruth Ellis Center and focuses on the production of an interactive, multimedia history of the center and the communities in which it is embedded. Kathryn Berringer, PhD Candidate in Social Work & Anthropology will coordinate a youth-driven research project relevant to both the center and members of its Youth Advisory Board (YAB), as well as facilitate and organize trainings for youth on topics relevant to our research (e.g. ethnographic methods, videography, photoethnography, and the principles of participatory action research). This work will involve documenting various intersecting histories: the organizational history of the Ruth Ellis Center; the history of the center’s namesake, Ruth Ellis – a Black lesbian community leader who provided informal care to young people throughout her life; the history of the building in which the center is housed – a red brick theater built in 1916 next to the Highland Park Ford Factory – and the neighborhood in which the building is located in Highland Park, Michigan, a city bordered on all sides by the city of Detroit. In documenting these histories, Kathryn and her collaborators will be working not only to collect and preserve an archive that might otherwise disappear, but also to elevate the histories of those who have worked to make the Ruth Ellis Center possible – and, in turn, to elevate the voices and stories of youth at the Ruth Ellis Center today.  

Library Mentor:  Julie Herreda

Apollo: Helping medical patients find the peer support they deserve

Leo Thompson

People with a chronic medical diagnosis not only suffer from the complications of their illness, they also frequently suffer from social isolation. Usually, these individuals are alone in their personal network of friends and family, who lack the same experiences and cannot empathize with their situation. In the United States, over 130,000,000 have chronic conditions. Social isolation and loneliness affects people with rare or common chronic conditions, and this leads to stress, anxiety, and depression (Yang et al, 2013). Furthermore, these complications lessen treatment effectiveness thus worsening patient outcomes (Sherrill et al, 2017). Through the MedMatch (, Apollo connects people with chronic medical conditions, so they can meet others who share their experiences and eliminate the social isolation and loneliness which stem from medical conditions. Our vision is a world in which any medical patient can find the the peer support they deserve.

Library Mentor: Carol Shannon

Giving A Hand: Designing Pro-bono Custom Prosthetic Devices for Pediatric Patients

Olga Tsuker

Michigan Neuroprosthetics strives to develop custom, low-cost myoelectric prosthetics devices for pediatric patients in the Ann Arbor area. Our team consists of three design departments- mechanical, electrical, and materials-, as well as an outreach chapter. Even though each of the departments independently work on their required tasks, the team makes a conscious effort to have weekly meetings where everyone can come together. These meetings are not only beneficial to boosting social moral, but they also act as checkpoints for every department to consistently meet their design goals. The aforementioned method has been proven to be a successful strategy as the team has generated numerous successful renditions of a prosthetics arm. This semester, we are working towards designing yet another arm for a young male patient to be able to participate in playtime with his peers and to utilize touch screen technology for his education. Soon, we hope to distribute our technical designs through open-source channels, as so aid as many potential patients as possible.

Library Mentor: Justin Schell

#Men Too: Sexual Harassment of Minority Men in Michigan Medicine

Allura Casanova

#MenToo will focus on the influence of masculinity and gender breakdown of the work environment on the psychological outcomes of men who experience sexual harassment at Michigan Medicine. Three waves of data have been collected for the Michigan Medicine #MedToo project; and this current project is specifically focusing on people at lower positions of power who are often understudied in research (e.g. security, social workers, environmental service/janitorial service) and are actually the most vulnerable. The importance of this project is to solely focus on men and how masculinity plays a role in their experiences of sexual harassment (more specifically gender harassment, since it is the more prominent form of harassment men experience). Sexual harassment in general is hard to detect if we ask direct questions such as “have you been harassed?”, this is also the case when studying negative psychological outcomes (e.g. depression). Therefore, I used the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire (SEQ) which relies on behaviors specific to sexual harassment rather than one sole inquiry of sexual harassment. Men are held to the expectation that they must not show weakness, rarely do they report sexual harassment. This project hopes to shed light on men who experience sexual harassment and the outcomes that come with it.

Library Mentor:  Hailey Mooney

Dream in Black Skin

Samantha Williams

To “Dream in Black Skin” is a multimedia performance of a five part song cycle that focuses on the experience of modern black women, written, composed, and performed by black female artists. The five songs all talk about universal human struggles through different aspects of the black female experience. They chronicle the journey from struggling to decolonize our own minds particularly in our attempt to embrace self love and black beauty, to handling exotification in relationships, to finding empowerment to share our perspectives, and to using our history of oppression and resilience to propel us into a future of freedom and possibilities.The performance integrates video projections and spoken word performances that highlight the themes of each song and seeks to create space for stories of black women within the classical music world, told by creative teams of color, that are accessible to diverse audiences. Through creating free online videos of the performance, I hope that this project will create an accessible entry point for teens and people of color into the world of classical music, who may not have previously found it relevant to them.

Library Mentor:  Jason Imbesi

Women’s Health, Incarcerated

Bhavana Garapati and Vennela Vellanki

Women’s Health, Incarcerated is a podcast that seeks to educate the general public on the true experiences of gendered discrimination within the American incarceration system with a primary focus on health. Through the show and a supplementary website that will act as the podcast’s launching platform, we plan to provide not only information on this stigmatized and underrepresented issue but also resources regarding other material on women’s health in the carceral state as well as ways to get involved. We aim to inspire individuals to make a difference by recognizing the realities of the system and demanding change. This is a call to action to join the movement in dismantling the current structures that deprive millions of individuals of basic rights, perpetuate a cycle of oppression, and cripple opportunities for personal growth. Ultimately, we hope to re-instill the recognition of these individuals as human beings who deserve the right to adequate healthcare and living conditions, who deserve empathy for their lived experiences, and who deserve legitimate justice.

Library Mentor:  Judy Smith

Creating Sanctuary: From Bookshelf to Campus

Rachel London

At this event, the independent publishing initiative Press Press will lead a workshop to expand on their collaborative manifesto Sentiments: Expressions of Cultural Passage. Participants are invited to respond to three core questions: what is sanctuary? How can sanctuary be created? How can sanctuary be protected? Over the past two years, Press Press has conducted workshops in NYC, Baltimore, and LA with immigrants and immigrant-adjacent individuals to produce the manifesto. At Michigan, this event will be an opportunity to consider how sanctuary functions in a university/academic setting. In particular the U of M Library aims to “contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, sharing, and creating the record of human knowledge.” Creating Sanctuary brings students, faculty, and staff into the library to share in this conversation. This project challenges and reframes the power of collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, sharing, and creating a record.

Library Mentor:  Jamie VB