Graduate Colloquium

Colloquium Overview

Date and Time: Colloquium sessions are by invitation only

Location: Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center and online.

The Graduate Colloquium is a program for Master’s and PhD students to present their work and explore professional pathways. Participation is by invitation only.

Participants’ Work

“So Where Do We Go From Here?” Insights From an Indigenous-led, Collaborative Dissertation Project About Information and Communication Technologies

Ana Ramirez, Doctoral Researcher, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ana will discuss lessons learned from conducting Indigenous-led, community-engaged research in rural western North Carolina. As an Indigenous woman, Ana’s work will unpack the power play in research while developing techniques to do research with BIPOC communities. Ana’s goal is to unsettle our foundational legacies of ethnographic research by introducing critical and creative engagements with research. 

Ana Ramirez is a proud Indigenous woman (Maya Akateka) and an experienced researcher with hands-on experience in schools, nonprofits, healthcare, and technology. She believes in the opportunity to leverage qualitative data to advance the well-being of others. She is a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Ethical and Political Design of Consumer Fintech

Rachael Aalders, PhD Candidate, The Australian National University

Recent years have seen the rise of fintech, which is the use of emerging digital technologies in a range of financial sectors including consumer credit. Fintech lenders often frame their products in moral rhetoric, claiming they are driven by purpose, but these claims contrast starkly with the moral ambiguity of consumer credit, which is often considered irresponsible and even predatory. My PhD examines how the moral claims of fintech lenders are realised in their digital interfaces and the political implications of these moralised platforms.

⁤⁤⁤Rachel Aalders is a PhD candidate in sociology at the Australian National University, where she researches the political and ethical design of fintech. Before her PhD, Rachel managed a range of national data collections at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. She has honours degrees in sociocultural anthropology and cognitive psychology, a masters in health and international development, and a masters in applied cybernetics.

Does Generative AI Enhance or Erode Marginalised People’s Narrative Agency? A Manus Island and Nauru Case Study

Joseph Hincks, MsC Candidate, Freelance Journalist, University of Oxford

In April 2023, law firm Maurice Blackburn exhibited photolike images of Australia’s Manus Island and Nauru offshore asylum processing centers. The images—depicting abuse in remote detention facilities closed to journalists—had one thing in common: all were produced by former detainees using the text-to-image AI program Midjourney. Amid concern over the explosion of synthetic media, or “deep fakes” online, “Exhibit AI: The Refugee Account” offers a compelling example of how Generative AI can give traditionally underrepresented people a voice and platform. Through image analysis and interviews, this paper explores whether using AI enhanced or eroded Exhibit AI’s refugee co-creators’ narrative agency.

Joseph Hincks is a former journalist and communications advisor now reading an MSc at the University of Oxford. Joseph served on TIME Magazine’s staff for four-and-a-half years, based mainly in Hong Kong and Istanbul, and has published freelance work with the New York Times, National Geographic, and Newsweek. He has also consulted on UN communications projects in Indonesia, Iran, and Sri Lanka. At Oxford, Joseph is researching the way technologies shape migrants’ journeys and narrative agency.

Contested Sovereignties: Defining State Jurisdiction and Investor Rights in Honduran Special Economic Zones

Jess Slattery, Anthropology PhD Student, UC Irvine

Jess’s dissertation research examines new forms of private governance being piloted in special economic zones in Honduras. She conducts ethnographic research with lawyers, entrepreneurs, investors, and activists from Honduras, Latin America, and the U.S. who work and conduct business in Honduran zones. Through ethnography and legal analysis, she explores political and legal debates regarding investor rights and sovereignty.

Jess Slattery is a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on government technology, private cities, venture capital, and investor-state relations. Since 2019, she has been carrying out a longitudinal study of semi-autonomous special economic zones in Honduras through legal analysis and ethnographic research with entrepreneurs, investors, lawyers, and activists. She is currently writing her dissertation.

The Agency of Artificial Intelligence in Microsocial Decision Making in the Licensing Division of the Ministry of Works and Transport in Trinidad & Tobago

Jason Leach, PhD Student, University of Ottawa

The implementation of the U-Turn system in Trinidad & Tobago has revolutionized traffic management and behavior change by leveraging powerful information communication technology to enhance road safety and reinforce adherence to the law. The system connects key law enforcement agencies and the judiciary in real time. Through ethnographic research guided by a practice-based study framework, the study follows different levels of the organization and investigates how this system has impacted decision-making processes within the Licensing Division of the Ministry of Works and Transport, shedding light on the broader implications for organizational policies and practices.

⁤⁤⁤Jason is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ottawa, studying organizational communication, hailing from Trinidad and immersing myself in the Canadian academic landscape. My research focuses on the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and the public sector. Currently, I encompassing roles as both adjunct faculty and research assistant. This diverse experience has given me a comprehensive understanding and allowed me to blend my research with practical insights.

Body and Masculinity Perceptions Around Prostate Cancer

Aidee Orozco, Student, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana

Juan Gonzalez, Student, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana

Masculinity is a sociocultural construction that affects men’s health care. In particular, in Mexico, several men stereotypes are barriers in prostate cancer prevention, such as being strong, hypersexuality, heterosexuality and homophobia. Our research focuses on studying young men’s masculinity perception to create communicational materials to promote prostate cancer prevention using emerging technologies.

Aidee is a graduate in Philosophy from the Panamerican University and in Marketing from the School of Banking and Commerce. She was editor and social media manager at Blackout Studios. At the National Bioethics Commission, Secretariat of Health, she served as editor and coordinator of the state commissions department. She is currently studying a Master’s Degree in Design, Information and Communication at the Autonomous Metropolitan University.

Juan is a graduate in Social Communication from the Autonomous Metropolitan University. He took the Specialization in Visual Semiotics and Semiotics of the Image, the Course of Script for Cinema, the Course of Image Editing in Photoshop and the Course of Political Image. He also worked as a copywriter and content creator for CICER Clinic. He is currently studying a Master’s Degree in Design, Information and Communication at the Autonomous Metropolitan University.

Exploring Digital Intimacy: Dating Apps and the Middle Eastern LGBTQ+ Diaspora

Reha Atakan Cetin, PhD Candidate & UX Researcher, University of Florida

This study delves into the experiences of Middle Eastern LGBTQ+ diaspora in the United States, focusing on their utilization of dating apps to establish relationships and social networks. It explores the unique challenges they encounter, including racism and discrimination, while emphasizing the crucial role of inclusive digital spaces. By examining the intersection of migration, gender, and sexuality, this research illuminates the complex experiences of marginalized groups in digital socio-sexual networking. The insights gained not only contribute to academic discourse but also inform the development of more inclusive digital platforms, fostering a better understanding of how sociomaterial systems impact marginalized communities.

⁤⁤⁤As a UX researcher and PhD candidate in Sociology, my research centers on the relationship of technology and society – with an emphasis on race, ethnicity, and sexuality. My goal is to conduct research for the promotion of digital equity towards a more human-centered digital environment, which could be accomplished by integrating user experience strategies, together with academic insights, to ensure that the technologies will be more inclusive and that they represent all user backgrounds.⁤

The Digital Experience in Autonomous Vehicles

Nik Bonovich, Master’s Student, San Jose State

This study contributes to research on autonomous vehicles by showing various digital experiences people want in an autonomous vehicle. Participants believe their time in an autonomous vehicle allows them to reclaim time and do things traditionally done in different places. The autonomous vehicle is a space like any other where a person can connect digitally and be productive or simply unwind. The study was conducted in partnership with the design research consultancy SonicRim.

Nik is completing his M.A. in Applied Anthropology at San Jose State University. He has performed both quantitative and qualitative research in various industries including automotive, politics, insurance, and tech. He is a forever a researcher, always asking questions and observing the world around him.

A Trace of Coffee: Mapping the Value Chain of Specialty Coffee in Coatepec, Veracruz

Sara Margarita Bustamante Loya, UX/UI designer, Information Designer, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
Hermas Agustín Paniagua Hernández, Journalist & Communications Student, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
Juan Francisco Flores Ayala, Integral Designer, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
Gabriela Elena Gutiérez Sosa, Communications Student, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana

Representing the intricacies of specialty coffee poses significant challenges. By employing methodologies such as gigamapping (Sevaldson, 2011) and Interface Analysis (Scolari, 2019), we aim to construct a comprehensive depiction of the crucible of relationships that define specialty coffee. To achieve this objective, we utilize life histories, semi-structured interviews, and audiovisual documentation, thereby illustrating that a multitude of worlds exist within a single cup of coffee.

⁤⁤⁤Sara is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Design, Information and Communication at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa. She is an information designer as well as an experience and user interface designer with skills in web and mobile application design. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Administration by the Universidad Veracruzana, where she also studied Advertising and Public Relations.

Hermas is a journalist who graduated from the Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Sciences at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He has experience in radio, television, web and written press, specialist in investigative reporting, database management and content creation. Hermas is an editor and fact checker with experience in the journalistic and narrative field.

Juan is a creative and designer with training at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Campus Cuajimalpa, and NYU. In 2022, he obtained a scholarship from Banco Santander to attend the European Innovation Academy and continue developing his skills in entrepreneurship and innovation. Currently, he works as a designer and co-founder of Ilumiplant, a start-up dedicated to the development of clean energy through the process of plant photosynthesis.

Gabriela graduated as a Bachelor of Audiovisual Communication at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana. Since 2012 she has collaborated with NGOs and academic institutions in the creation of outreach content for environmental projects in Mexico. She has contributed to the generation of content on the sustainable management of ecosystems, agroecosystems, biodiversity, and climate change, as well as materials for management of native plant species and restoration of mangroves and cloud forests.

The Digital Fabric of Hyperpop: Internet Culture and Collective Identity

Elisa Krieger, Cultural Anthropology Graduate Researcher, San Francisco State University

In my ethnographic research with the hyperpop community, I will explore how their collective identity has been shaped by the internet and how they, in turn, create cultural artifacts and meaning unique to their online identities. Illuminating these interdependencies can provide helpful information for improving users’ experience in a cross-platform, “ecological” capacity.

Elisa Krieger is currently pursuing a MA in Cultural Anthropology at San Francisco State University, focusing on the intersection of internet culture and identity formation within the hyperpop music community. Elisa has contributed to several projects exploring art, globalization, and technology. To supplement her research background, Elisa is learning UX/UI design. After graduation, Elisa aims to apply her expertise in the field of UX research.