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Tianqiutao Chen 

MA Art + Design Education, 2018

Thesis: Image-Textuality: About the Relationships


Lecturer in Photography, Department of Art & Visual Culture, College of Design

Iowa State University


Chen 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". 

Colleen Andrews

MA Art + Design Education, 2017

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

Director of Arts Education, Angels Gate Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA

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.”


Mudita Pasari 

MA Art + Design Education, 2017 

Thesis: Traversing Ambiguities - Rebuilding Perspectives Through  Designed Visual Education


Associate Dean of Academics and Educational Design Strategist, Design Village, India


In Mudita's work at Design Village, a progressive design school in India, she works with educational systems and designed visual interventions through decentralized museological experiences.  Mudita's art practice is embedded in co-habitation advocacy, formed at the cross-section of human interaction and other ecological components in our immediate environments. 


Chris Cohoon 

MA Art + Design Education, 2016 

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


Manager of Education and Public Programs, Monterey Museum of Arts, Monterey, CA


Chris graduated with his BFA in 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 interested in 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 

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

Cultural Funding Specialist, Division of Economic Development, City of Austin, TX


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, a  heme was further explored in her MA thesis.

Melita Morales

MA Art + Design Education, 2014

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


Educational Consultant, Doctoral Candidate, Curriculum  Studies, Boston College  

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 2014

Enling Lu

MA Art + Design Education, 2014

Thesis: Creativity, Pass It On  

Freelance Illustrator

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 

Thesis: Facing the Fourth Wall

Engagement Manager, Block Museum, Northwestern University

 Lauren attended Carleton College earning a B.A. in Art History and a concentration in Education. Although she 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  


Director of Marketing, KUCR 89.3, Kansas City


Prior to his current position, Michael 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

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

Education Associate, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Amy in her role in the Guggenheim's Learning Through Art Program has the responsibility for overseeing selected teaching artists and conducting observations at residency sites while helping to develop the curriculum. Amy also assists in professional development opportunities for teaching artists and volunteers that 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

Thesis: Re-thinking Museum Galleries: ArtMaking and Active Audience Engagement

Executive Director, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California

Mari oversees artist and scholarly talks; film screenings and artist residency programs. Prior to her position at Headlands, Mari was Senior Managing Educator, Public Program & Creative Practice, Metropolitan Museum of Art. And she previously served as Head of Education at the Pérez Art Museum, Miami, and the DreamYard Art Center in the Bronx where she 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 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

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

Visual Arts Educator & Community Activist

Patrice is 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 has 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

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


Executive Director, DownCity Design, Providence, RI      


Adrienne is a visual artist, arts educator, and adventurer. She and her husband, architect Manuel Cordero, co-founded DownCityDesign 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 awarded the first Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship by the Rhode Island Foundation.


DownCity Design website:


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