Kayla Booth is a PhD candidate at the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at Penn State. Her research interests include trust and social media, youth and information behavior, and diversity and social inclusion within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Her dissertation explores the relationships between the intersection of identity characteristics (race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status) and the ways in which young people assess trustworthiness, credibility, and information quality when it comes to health information within social media. During the academic year she assists with multiple blended and online courses with topics ranging from Gender and IT, Enterprise Architecture, and Network Security. She previously earned her BA in Communication and English at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.
Elsa Brown studies at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She primarily works in illustration and digital art, and hopes to become an illustrator and comic book creator. She is interested in online creative content and the value of online discussion. At Youth and Media Elsa has created illustrations that were then paired with YaM reports, briefs, and slides.
Gabriela Dumancela is a 24 year old who was born in Riobamba, Ecuador. Funded by the Ecuadorian government, she is a currently a Master Candidate at Georgetown University. She’s passionate about the use of the media for educating society. After being an intern of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education, she acknowledged that the youth of her country is not prepared yet to produce and evaluate content on digital media. In considering how online environments influence youths to express identities that can be controversial in physical spaces, she focused attention on studying adolescents’ risky behaviors in social media. At the end of her exciting adventure in the United States, she is expecting to conduct research for the Ministry of Education of her country in order to determine new ways to introduce the use of the Internet and digital technologies for educational purposes in the schools of Ecuador.
Kristina Elhauge was born in Boston, MA, and lived in Newton until going away to Phillips Exeter Academy in NH where she graduated in 2014. While at PEA, Kristina founded the Feminist Union, a activist group and weekly open forum for students to discuss gender inequality issues both on campus and global. The group quickly rose to become one of the most widely attended and discussed groups on campus, using social media as a means of spreading ideas, especially in the case of the March 2014 campaign “PEA Needs Feminism” — a tumblr page where students submitted photos of hand-written signs on why feminism was important to them, in the style of the Who Needs Feminism project. The campaign sparked so much discussion that Feminist Union was eventually named Club of the Year for the 2013-2014 school year. From her experiences with social media activism, and how media interacts with culture, Kristina is interested in how the media both reflects reveals the current state of social issues while providing a space to effectively catalyze change. She is going to Columbia University in the fall, where she hopes to major in Film Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Varoun Gulati is a rising senior at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham. His interest in social media emerged as he took part in the Google CAPE (Computing and Programming Experience) program the summer before he entered high school. He is also particularly interested in and committed to community service and social change. At school, he is on the Community Service Board, part of the leadership core of Students for Socioeconomic Awareness, and president of the Microfinance & Investment Club.
Outside of Berkman, Luke is a PhD candidate / sessional lecturer at the University of Melbourne who is focussed on the collisions democratic governing and the networked terrain of contemporary politics. His thesis combines theories of democratic agonism and media studies to critique radical transparency as form and function of democratic governing. Luke serves as one of the Editor’s of the Melbourne Journal of Politics, as research officer for the Citizens Agenda project in Australia, and while in Melbourne has become a horrible coffee snob. Previously, Luke worked for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and was educated in Canada and the UK. He is currently getting interested in the social-political-legal issues of 3D printing and augmented reality, and some new media pedagogy. He balances missing his home in Canada by spending free time exploring the sand, surf, and crazy flora and fauna of Australia.
Erin Maher is a recent graduate of Yale University, where she earned a degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is interested in the ways digital platforms build cultural assumptions into their structures, as well as the ways users react to and against these encoded political, moral, and gendered values, particularly through the formation of online communities. Her work in this area culminated in her senior thesis, “Men are from Reddit, Women are from Tumblr: Gender, Community, and the Online Platform.” While at Yale, Erin was an active participant in the tech and musical communities, where she served as a developer for the university and the drum major of the Yale Precision Marching Band respectively. Erin holds a deep and abiding love for skiing, cooking, getting distinctive haircuts, and of course, the internet.
Hannah Offer is a rising senior at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California. She is interested primarily in social and digital media’s effect on education, as well as the role social media can play in empowering citizens in local and global contexts to generate change. During the school year, Hannah works with middle school students to discuss safe and effective ways to use social media and serves as Editor-in-Chief of her school’s newspaper and academic journal.