Tianqiutao Chen 

MA Art + Design Education, 2018

MA Thesis: Image-Textuality: About the Relationships


Chen holds a full-time position as a Lecturer in Photography in the Department of Art & Visual Culture in the College of Design at Iowa State University. He shares:

"While a student in RISD's MFA in Photography program, I enrolled in TLAD's Collegiate Teaching Preparation & Reflection course and soon after, I had an opportunity in Spring 2017 to design and teach an undergraduate Photo class. The challenges and success I encountered during this experience greatly ignited my interest and passion to explore the nature, theories, and methods of teaching and learning in a more well-rounded way.  Therefore, I decided to pursue an MA in Art + Design Education at RISD for an additional year upon completing my MFA in Photography. 

The MA in Art + Design Education proved to be an ideal academic venue where I was able to dedicate myself to investigating a theoretical framework through contemporary pedagogical and creative practices, which would equip me to teach more effectively and efficiently. Also, working with my MA colleagues representing a variety of backgrounds reinforced my awareness of interdisciplinary integration in visual arts pedagogy. My MA thesis "image-textuality: about the relationships" examined the relationships that can exist between image and text in the context of visual-arts making and in educational settings. This investigation has had a significant, positive impact on both my personal artistic practice and my college teaching. I found my MA study in TLAD to be a very valuable experience and know that it will constantly be of great benefit to my future development as a college professor". 


Collen Andrews

MA Art + Design Education, 2017


MA Thesis:  Creating Acess  and Equity in Arts Education: Strategic Partnerships for Systemic  Change

After graduating from RISD with her MA in Art + Design Education, Colleen was appointed as Director of Arts Education at Angels Gate Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California. In a recent communication with us, Colleen shared her reasons for enrolling in the RISD's MA stating: “First, having forged a successful career as a designer, I wanted to explore issues of art education within the context of an art school environment where my passion for design would be valued and encouraged. Secondly, RISD’s MA encourages its grad students to take full advantage of course offerings at neighboring Brown University and other learning hubs within the City of Providence’s diverse range of community organizations. Finally, MA candidates are encouraged to make the program uniquely their own; with only a small core required courses, we had the time to pursue the academic or studio coursework, professional practice internships, or independent study projects we felt most passionate about, and which would best support our unique thesis research. This extraordinary freedom created a diverse cohort where each MA candidate could explore their own interests but with the benefit of endless opportunities to learn from and to collaborate with my fellow MA candidates”.


Chris Cohoon 

MA Art + Design Education, 2016 


MA Thesis: Mentoring and the Golden Mean: Perspectives on the Role of Mentoring in Creative Community Development.          

Chris Cohoon is Manager of Education and Public Programs at the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, California. Chris graduated with his BFA is Studio Art from Illinois State University and in the succeeding years he was involved in youth based programming in Japan and Germany. Immediately prior to his arrival at RISD, Chris was an artist-in-residence at the Bikalpa Art Center in Kathmandu, Nepal. A thread that has run through Chris’ professional and artistic practice has been an interest the role of art within the context of social enterprise. This theme was examined further in his MA thesis Mentoring and the Golden Mean: Perspectives on the Role of   Mentoring in Community Development – a thesis which uniquely Chris involved youth artists and designers at Riverzedge Arts (a community-based arts center) in its design and production. In his final semester at RISD, Chris was awarded a 2016 Maharam Fellowship, which enabled him to return to Japan to develop an empathic design-centered leadership program for high school students and US Marines stationed in Okinawa. Participants were introduced to creative processes that emphasized empathy, collaboration, conflict resolution, and problem solving through research, design, and manufacture of stand-up paddleboards.


Kameko Branchaud

MA Art + Design Education, 2014 


MA Thesis:  Beyond Dialogue: Socially Engaged  Art as Educational Platform


Kameko is a Cultural Funding Specialist for the City of Austin Texas, Division of Economic Development. Prior to this position, she was Director of Education at the Newport Museum of Art (NAM) in Newport Rhode Island; and before that was on the museum education staff at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. Kameko enrolled in RISD's MA in Art + Design Education program having graduated from Rhode Island College as a certified PreK-12 visual arts educator and with a background in youth work where was committed to providing quality arts opportunities to at- and beyond- risk youth, believing that the visual arts can be a positive influence on young lives socially, emotionally, and educationally. This theme was further explored in her MA thesis titled "Beyond Dialogue: Socially Engaged Art as Educational Platform."

Melita Morales

MA Art + Design Education, 2014


MA Thesis: Creative  Inquiry: Student-Initiated Investigations in the Art Room 

Melita is an educational consultant and a doctoral candidate in Curriculum Studies at Boston College. She was previously Program Director at DownCity Design, a design-build non-profit for urban teens based in Providence, RI. Her work immediately after TLAD focused on defining and refining STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) curriculum, experimenting in informal and after-school settings. Her main interests center around the creation of an educational framework for curriculum generation that gives equal value to the types of inquiry that take place in a lab, studio and workshop setting, helping students move between divergent and convergent thinking to formulate a systems understanding of how the things work. This includes utilizing art and design methodologies to break down academic, economic and cultural silos to collaboratively tackle the complex challenges that currently face the world. Prior to coming to RISD, Melita created and directed a design + science summer public/private partnership called WonderLab in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she taught art in schools for 15 years.  The topic of Melita's  MA thesis was "Creative Inquiry: Student-Initiated Investigations in the Art Room", which looked at the ways in which question-posing by a teacher-as-facilitator can encourage a student’s personal pathway to research and discovery within the studio context.



Enling Lu

MA Art + Design Education, 2014


MA Thesis: Creativity, Pass It On  

Enling whose professional background was in pediatric occupational therapy and with an interest in the visual arts traveled from Taiwan to enroll in the MA in Art + Design Education program. Her MA thesis "Creativity, Pass it On" probed into creativity and the creative process through the lens of neuroscience. After graduating from RISD, Enling began her work as a freelance illustrator and visual designer, which has since resulted in involvement in a number of projects with the National Taiwan Science  Education Center. She was especially honored to have been responsible for visual design for the 2018 Asia Pacific Network of Science & Technology Centers (ASPAC) conference. Currently, Enling's creative practice focuses on telling historical stories about her homeland and people. Her published illustrated books include The Ant Story written by Marjorie Landsborough (1884-1984), and Lilian Dickson and Little Joy.



Lauren Watkins

MA Art + Design Education, 2012 


MA Thesis: Facing the Fourth Wall

Lauren joined the Block Museum at Northwestern University in 2016 as its Engagement Manager. She attended Carleton College earning a B.A. in Art History and a concentration in Education.  Although Lauren set out to work with youth and communities in fine art museums, upon graduating with her undergraduate degree, she discovered architecture and design education to be a new and exciting extension of her interests. She first worked with the National Building Museum’s award-winning outreach programs, which aimed to equip youth in the District of Columbia Public Schools with the tools to understand and affect change in their world through design. Lauren continued her work as a design educator at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. where she designed and led multi-disciplinary, place-based learning experiences for youth, families, and educators and where she states she "got to work with people who were passionate about the city and how it has come to be, but who were also committed to actively re-thinking how we use design to solve problems in the places where we live." On graduating from RISD in 2012 with her MA in Art + Design Education, Lauren joined the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago as Programmer of Education where she oversaw programs led by practicing artists who saw their artistic practice and their teaching practice both as critical creative endeavors that fueled and informed one another.

Michael Russo 

MA Art + Design Education, 2012

Thesis: Designing the Machine to Reflect its Users: Digital Media Design Education and Young People          

Michael is currently Director of Marketing for KUCR 89.3 in Kansas City, prior to this he was  Marketing Coordinator at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. On graduation with his MA from RISD, Mike held a number of positions including adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Missouri, Roger Williams University, RI and Bridgewater State University, MA. He also worked as Communications Project Manager for AS220 Youth in Providence. Mike has had a longstanding interest in media and especially in making it accessible to youth. His professional career prior to enrolling in RISD's MA centered on graphic design and video having worked for Atlantic Records, MTV and his own record label "The Record Machine". While at RISD, Mike furthered his interests and practice in community-based media education for urban youth, which informed his MA thesis entitled: "Designing the Machine to Reflect its Users: Digital Media Design Education for Youth".

Amy Boyle 

MA Art + Design Education, 2012

MA Thesis: Toward  a Visitor-Centered Future: Comprehensive  Interpretive Plans and the Art Museum

Amy is Education Associate at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Learning Through Art Program. In this role, she oversees selected Teaching Artists and conducts observations at residency sites while helping to develop curriculum. Amy also assists in professional development opportunities for Teaching Artists and volunteers and teach in the galleries. Prior to her work at the Guggenheim, Amy served as the Education Manager for The Noguchi Museum where she managed programs for a wide range of audiences. In addition to working with teens, adults, and K-12 students in various capacities on and off-site of the Museum, she helped develop and facilitate the Teacher Think Tank program which brought classroom teachers and museum educators together to collaboratively explore topics related to school and museum education. Her RISD MA thesis, “Towards A Visitor-Centered Future: The Comprehensive Interpretative Plan and the Art Museum”, explored how museums are redefining their approach to interpreting and displaying their collections on an institution-wide level.

Mari Robles

MA Art + Design Education, 2012

MA Thesis:  Making in Art Museums

Mari is the Senior Managing Educator, Public Program and Creative Practice at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where she oversees artist and scholarly talks; film screenings and artist residency programs. Prior to working at the Met, she served as Head of Education at the  Pérez Art Museum, Miami and the DreamYard Art Center in the Bronx and encouraged critical and personalized experiences with art-making. Mari's work is guided by a personal mission to empower people of all socio-economic backgrounds to claim their right to creativity and access to quality arts education. Her RISD MA thesis, Re-thinking Museum Galleries: Art-Making and Active Audience Engagement, was a historical survey of art-making in museum pedagogy and an analysis of the role of art-making in contemporary museum education practices.

Patrice Payne 

MA Art + Design Education, 2010


MA Thesis: From Self-Expression to Self-Discovery:  Using Art to Cultivate Identity           

Patrice is a Teaching Artist and a Community Activist on a passionate quest to provide enriching, creative arts experiences to the under-served in various communities. In 2008, Patrice co-founded the grassroots organization, SAVAE, Inc., (Sharing Artistic Vision and Energy) with her sister Petula Payne, where she has developed and honed her curatorial skills. SAVAE is dedicated to fostering cultural understanding and awareness while mobilizing social change through the arts. To date, the organization has sponsored and supported over twenty exhibitions. Patrice as worked for several non-profit organizations and has taught art to middle school youth in Harlem. Her Act with Art workshops, which take place in Brooklyn, New York and which encourage young people to use the visual arts as a way of exploring social and cultural issues have been generously supported by the Puffin Foundation and the Brooklyn Art Council's Community Arts Fund.

Adrienne Gagnon 

MA Art + Design Education, 2008


MA Thesis: Communication,  Collaboration, and Imagination: Creativity as a Catalyst for Change          


Adrienne is a visual artist, arts educator, and adventurer. She is Executive Director of DownCity Design, which she and her husband, architect Manuel Cordero, co-founded in 2009 with the mission of helping people design and build solutions for their communities. Hundreds of youth have since participated in DCD programs, improving their cities using the tools of design. Adrienne’s work was recently awarded the 2013 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship by the Rhode Island Foundation.


DownCity Design Website:


Felice Cleveland 

MA Art + Design Education, 2008  


MA Thesis: Creating Beyond Art, Reading Beyond Books: An Exploration at the Intersection of Art and Literacy.          

Felice is Education and Public Programs Director for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas. Prior to this recent appointment, she was Director of Education at the Mattress Factory, a museum in Pittsburgh focused on contemporary installation art. Felice reports that each day in her work she draws from the knowledge, skills, and experiences she garnered from her time at RISD - from creating dynamic visual arts learning experiences to understanding the inner workings of a non-profit organization to real-world community outreach teaching. In the two years prior to Felice's enrollment in the community arts education track of MA program, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English in a rural Cameroonian village. Immediately after her graduation from RISD Felice was hired as the Education Coordinator at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Saba Qizilbash 

MA Art + Design Education, 2004

MA Thesis: Beyond Henna and Incense: Understanding Issues and Aesthetics of Pakastani Women in the Context of American Art Education          

Saba is an Adjunct Professor at the American University, Dubai. She was born in Lahore; grew up in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and later moved back to Pakistan. Saba has a degree in Philosophy and Psychology from Kinnaird College for Women and also graduated from the prestigious National College of Art (NCA) in Pakistan with a BFA degree in Painting. Soon after, she went to Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the idyllic coast of Oregon on an artist residency. There she created site-specific installations using natural found objects. Saba spent the following year in San Francisco collaborating with local artists. She later enrolled in RISD’s MA in Art + Design Education program. 


Saba has designed and facilitated a number of workshops for the marginalized in Lahore, Sheikhupura, New Delhi, Dubai, and Rhode Island. Her works are personal and feminine illustrating her journey chapter to chapter as she confronts the various realities of life. The concerns shift from feminine death, pre-birth state, symbiotic relationships, beautified minefields and at present a wardrobe that has begun to talk back.

Elizabeth Werbe 

MA Art + Design Education, 2003   


MA Thesis: Place-Based Learning: An Overview of Built Environment Education        

Elizabeth is Director of the Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative at The New School. She is an entrepreneurial leader and educator committed to helping individuals find their voice and realize their full potential. Elizabeth believes everyone has unique gifts to share and is motivated by a desire to awaken young adults to their passions and support them in using their talents to create positive change.  Elizabeth helps young people collaboratively address pressing social challenges by designing experiences that inspire others to connect with themselves and the world through experiential learning, creative self-expression, and human-centered design.


A natural connector who excels at building on individual strengths and thrives in dynamic learning environments, Elizabeth enjoys engaging diverse stakeholders in developing and implementing vision and strategy that increase impact.  She has worked at the intersection of education, design, and social justice for over fifteen years, creating and expanding innovative programs at leading organizations, including The New School, University of Michigan, Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the Municipal Art Society of New York, and Ashoka Youth Venture.  Her pedagogical approach is rooted in a combination of inquiry-based learning, creative problem solving, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Whether teaching a course on social entrepreneurship, engaging low-income students in using design as a tool for social change, or mentoring Tibetan refugee youth in the creation of digital stories, she enjoys inspiring others to find a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.

Rosanna Flouty

MA Art + Design Education, 2001

MA Thesis: Point and Click: The Impact of Technology on Contemporary Art Museum Education.

Dr. Rosanna Flouty is currently a Professor of Museum Studies at New York University. She has over twenty-five years of museum experience, including senior positions at The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Art21, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Since 2011, she has also completed year-long consulting projects for the BMW Guggenheim Lab, The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Rosanna holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the City University of New York (CUNY) – Graduate Center (2016), and a BA in Art History from Emory University (1997). Her current research interests lie at the intersection of art, technology, and education, with an emphasis on experimental museum practice.

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