Researchers

JuanJuan de la Rosa is an Associate Professor of design at Universidad Nacional de Colombia and currently a Ph.D. student in Informatics at the University of Illinois. As a professor, he has worked in different areas, from the printing process to illustration, design principles and interaction design. As a researcher, his main interest is in the way design can produce or facilitate significant positive social change, and how to create models that can actually help designers do so.

He has worked on several projects in that area in the last 10 years, including the publication of the 2010 book Methodology for the design of Social Posters in Latinamerica. He is currently researching the socio-behavioral implications of the values embedded in public infrastructure design; also developing models to support the use of ‘displaced’ prototypes as research tools.

Gerry
Prof. Gerry Derksen is a PhD student in Informatics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a full Professor of Design at Winthrop University in South Carolina.  Under Jorge Frascara at the University of Alberta, Canada he studied visual communication design, integrating user-centred design philosophy with visual communication strategies. His graduate research, entitled “Jury Perceptions of Animation,” studied re-enactments of a crime scene to determine possible prejudicial impact on a jury. He has also worked on experience design projects for the Piedmont Medical Center and the Democratic National Convention, as well as systems design projects for Grainger Hardware and Steelcase Office Furniture. (CV)

Priscilla Ferronato is a Ph.D. student in Informatics at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, researching the intersection between design, technology, and society. She is a research assistant interested in the development of new models of interpretation and the de-centering of the human in the open (meta) design process, particularly in the context of addressing social problems. Priscilla has been working with strategic design for the last 5 years and has an MDes in Strategic Design from the University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos, on the subject of slow and fast thinking, emphasizing the use of intuition in the design process. She has also collaborated as a visiting scholar at IIT Institute of Design in Chicago, University of Waterloo and Politecnico di Milano.

William Gillespie has published 10 and 5/6ths books of fiction and poetry under six different names, including Keyhole Factory, by William Gillespie, published by Soft Skull Press. Prominent collaborations include 2002: A Palindrome Story in 2002 Words declared the world’s longest literary palindrome by Paul Braffort of the Oulipo), with Nick Montfort and illustrations by Shelley Jackson; and The Unknown (co-winner of the trAce/Alt-X International Hypertext Competition, as judged by Robert Coover), with Scott Rettberg and Dirk Stratton, a book and hypertext novel. William has hosted a number of eccentric radio shows, most recently Rock Geek F.M. (rockgeekchic.com) with Cristy Scoggins. His literature has appeared in Electronic Literature Collection 2, Open City, Poets & Writers, The &Now Awards: The Best Innovative Writing, Encyclopedia, Cybertext Yearbook, Ninth Letter, Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics, Like Water Burning, Black Dirt, Cannot Exist, Pank, and Nova Istra. He runs the independent publishing house Spineless Books (spinelessbooks.com), holds the second MFA in electronic writing from Brown University and works for the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at the University of Illinois. He is researching literary design, including narrative visualization, the optimal reader interface, new literary form, and software-driven story design.

Dr. Mutha Gunasekera has worked in biological conservation, industrial chemistry, and sustainable waste management. He earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Bioanalytical Chemistry from Cleveland State University in 2014 working on medical implants; he then contributed to the field of neuroregeneration and brain cancer research at the University of Georgia. Mutha is an advocate for the recruitment and retention of talent in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and his current research accordingly deals with the design and testing of visual metaphors for STEM education.

Dr. Milena Radzikowska is a feminist design educator, writer, researcher, and practitioner. Her work in human-computer interaction is reciprocally informed by her passion for creating safer, more inclusive, and compelling spaces, both digital and analog. Since 2005, Milena has worked on over 25 interdisciplinary design research projects, four of those had budgets in the millions, extending over longer periods (anywhere from two to seven years). Milena’s passion lies in the potential of design to serve those who are part of marginalized, vulnerable, or under-represented communities. She’s designed interfaces to support humanities scholars in their work; to connect breast cancer survivors; to help protect wildlife in provincial parks, and to challenge marginalizing practices in the oil sands. Milena is the co-author of the book Visual Interface Design for Digital Cultural Heritage: A Guide to Rich-Prospect Browsing.Currently, and currently lives in sunny Calgary as an Associate Professor in Information Design, at Mount Royal University.

Dr. Jennifer Roberts-Smith is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Theatre and Performance at the University of Waterloo. In addition to her work with the Design Concepts Lab, Jennifer directs the Q Collaboratory, a feminist design research lab focused on performance and performance mediation. Jennifer also leads the Virtual Reality Cluster of the Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation project. Her most recent project, still underway, involves editing a collection of essays on how different disciplines approach the theory and process of prototyping.

Dr. Stan Ruecker is the Anthony J. Petullo Professor in Design at the University of Illinois. His research focused for many years on the future of reading, where his teams were responsible for the creation and testing of over two dozen prototypes. He is currently exploring physical interfaces for complex conceptual work, such as text analysis, modeling time, and designing experience. He is also the principal investigator of the design concepts lab, which is focused on using design approaches to develop operational models of key abstract ideas. Stan is a frequent international speaker and consultant on the development of Ph.D. programs in design. (CV)

Thais Sehn is a Fulbright and CAPES Scholarship Grantee currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Design at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. As part of her doctoral program, she is a Visiting Researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US with Stan Ruecker. Previously, she worked as a professor, teaching Graphic and Digital Design topics in two universities in Brazil, at PUCRS (2017) and UFPel (2014-2016). After that, she established her own graphic design studio Âme Studio Criativo. Now, she is studying Emotional Design, with the focus in Positive Psychology, and Reading.

Natalie F. Smith is a Masters student in graphic design at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign with an interest in local production and the circular economy. She freelances as a book designer at Duke University Press and was previously an in-house book designer at the University of Chicago Press. Her cover designs have been recognized by AIGA, Print, The Society of Typographic Arts, Communication Arts, and the American Association of University Presses. In fall 2017, she was a visiting researcher at the University of Vale do Rio Dos Sinos (UNISINOS) in southern Brazil.

Dr. Zhabiz Shafieyoun is currently a research scholar at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign. She holds a Ph.D. in Design with a concentration in Design Research from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy with a background in Industrial Design from both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Art University of Tabriz. Additionally, she has 10 years of industry experience as a designer, researcher and creative director in three different countries at five major companies in Iran. Her doctoral work explored a variety of topics including emotional design, service design, and healthcare design. Using the Japanese method of Kansei Engineering, she studied emotional design in healthcare centers focusing on increasing positive emotions and designing a new method for determining the emotional impact of the waiting areas. She co-founded the European Kansei Engineering Group in 2014.

Yaguang Sun is a Ph.D. student at University of Illinois. He has worked for more than a decade on the influence of advanced technology on design theory development. He aims to explore the impact of strategies for product design, architectural design, and innovation of new technology, new materials, new structural forms, and new green and energy-saving concepts. Currently, Yaguang’s research is looking at design information and resource management in the context of light rail train styling.


Dr. Ricardo Triska
is a Professor in the Graduate Design Program (Master and Doctoral) at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. He has worked on Information Science projects on which the information transfer process was the main issue, resulting in planning of services and products using an information system approach. His current research focus is Information Design for the Corporate Process (Decision Making), using subliminal language concepts in order to achieve better understanding of design demands, from the briefing process (comprehension and description) up to the result delivery (evaluation included). Dr. Triska is currently a Visiting Professor at the School of Art + Design, University of Illinois.

Jiameng Wong is a visiting scholar, working on visual metaphors for STEAM education. In particular, she has been collaborating with Dr. Mutha Gunasekera from the Department of Chemistry on images for large-format introductory lecture courses. Jamie came to U of Illinois from Beijing, where she was Artistic Director in the Visual Communication Department of Excellent Craftsman Media. Her team produced commercial and animation design.