March 7th Meeting Bios

1) CU Community FabLab

Jeff Ginger is a Program Coordinator with the Illinois Informatics Institute and Adjunct Instructor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His work includes aspects of all three missions of the University of Illinois: public engagement, teaching and research. Jeff draws upon a robust technical, multimedia and social science background, accented by teaching and organizational leadership, and first earned his rabble-rousing reputation as a result of activist research on structural racism as observed on Facebook. His recent doctoral scholarship and teaching is primarily situated in social and community informatics: deciphering the discourse and effects of the digital divide and Web2.0, critical pedagogy in technology education and contextualized study of human-computer interaction. Jeff’s dissertation focused specifically on the investigation of how public libraries foster digital literacies through community engagement, which ultimately led him to his current work as the director of the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab. Here he continues to lend a critical but optimistic perspective to the study and implementation of makerspaces, particularly by tackling some of its most key challenges, such as cultivating and supporting diversity, a prerequisite to innovation, and sustainably establishing capacity-building technology education services in collaboration with underserved communities.

Dot Silverman is a graduate student in Educational Psychology at UIUC working with Dr. Jennifer Amos. She will be redesigning assessment methods for the new undergraduate bioengineering curriculum. She is additionally developing a biohacking space with the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab, partnering with on-campus clubs and classes to bring biology out of the lab and into the community. Dot received her bachelor’s degree in Physics from Pomona College, and worked with Instructables, Autodesk’s BioNano Research Team, and the Wyss Institute before coming to UIUC.

2) Industrial Design RSO

Rachel Flood Heaton is a third year MFA candidate in the Industrial Design program. Before becoming a designer, Rachel spent several years as a computer engineer, designing integrated circuits for processors. As a graduate instructor, she develops and teaches design courses within the School of Art + Design and in the Mechanical Engineering department. Her research centers on the cognitive psychology of interaction with 3D form, investigating how design aesthetics can ultimately encourage sustainable behavior in product users. She will join the Psychology Ph.D. program at Illinois in the fall.

Amanda Henderson is a second year MFA Candidate at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). She completed her undergraduate degree in Industrial Design at Carnegie Mellon University, with a minor in Photography. Her research focuses on how designed forms change human perception of a spatial environment; with the ultimate goal of creating spaces that allow people to feel comfortable and knowledgeable interacting with their surroundings.