Under the wire or Nathalie’s Bio

Hello all.  It’s Nathalie Zarisfi.  I was the last one in the classroom last week, and probably the last post up for the bio.  I am hoping to shake that trend.  So I work in the technology and pedagogy realm, as a Director of a Teaching and Learning Center at a private college in Long Island.  I am interested in technology as it relates to equity in higher education.  My day is mostly spent putting out fires and helping folks with their courses.  But I sincerely believe in personal project time, being creative, building and tinkering and failing.  And this class is my laboratory, my way of building safe space for me.  Not because I want to do it undercover or away from my team, or my faculty.  But because I don’t seem to carve out that time for myself at work.  And I need it.  I am desperate to experiment, and learn and explore.

I may have said this in class: I am a firm believer in failure.  Its how our brains are wired.  It has served me well.  I remembering interviewing for a position at a large public institution, and one of the interview questions was something like, “Could you share with us your teaching philosophy” or the equivalent.  And I have to tell you that I completely and totally blew that interview when I told that I encourage failure.  Crickets, blinking stares.  And then just like that, the interview was over.  Discouraging but not unexpected.  They will come around.

I don’t get a profoundly different response in my workshops or consultations.  I work with a core of highly motivated brilliant people, who don’t feel like they have the option of failing at teaching, and most of the time haven’t even had the chance to learn how to teach.  I try to make it more of a misstep, an act of humility, versus a free fall.   Failure is a tactic that works, knowing and forgetting, and learning it all over again.

I am looking forward to learning from you, with you, and failing forward.

Cameron’s Bio

Hi all,

My name is Cameron Rasmussen.  In the last few years I learned (through a very brief google search) that my last name means son of the beloved, so I have that going for me.  I was born and raised in Sacramento, CA where my twin brother and parents still live.  I moved to NYC to do an MSW 7 and a half years ago and haven’t left.  I love music, hip hop and soul in particular, my spotify discover weekly and Friday release radar playlists are two highlights of my week.

Im a second year student in the social welfare program at CUNY and am interested in restorative justice and alternative responses to violence beyond a paradigm of punishment.  Im interested in restorative and transformative accountability, both for responding to serious violence, but also in helping everyone everywhere be in better relationship with themselves and others, and more able to resolve conflict in ways that lead to that.  Im also interested in gender and masculinity, how patriarchy and domination make accountability work much harder, and to identify and further strategies for uprooting patriarchy, both to make accountability more possible, and to help us all be in better relations.



Diana’s Bio

Hi all!

My name full name is Diana Melendez (full version being Diana Alejandra Melendez Romero.) I am the daughter of amazing parents, middle child of three sisters, cousin to many, godmother to a spirited 2 year old, sometimes runner and occasionally an artist, cat mom and enthusiastic friend to awesome people! I am originally from Mexico and have lived in NJ all my US-based life.

My background is in social work as a family therapist, behavioral health crisis services and also have some experience working in a middle-school, psychiatric hospital and doing in-home therapy with youth and families.  While working with the Institute for Family Services, where I completed a post-graduate training, I was also able to participate in the organizing of the Liberation Based Healing Conference over the past couple of years which has been amazing! I also am connected with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and have been in the role of organizer/trainer through the Undoing Racism/Community Organizing Workshop, more so before I started studenting again.

I am currently a second year doctorate student in the Social Welfare program and am finding my interests to be in higher education and liberatory pedagogy.  I am excited to be teaching in the social work programs at Columbia and NYU this semester as an adjunct lecturer and have been working to shape my classes to be the least lectury as possible.  I believe higher education, and other institutional spaces where people come together, can be opportunities for critical-consciousness raising, relationship-building and resistance and that it is important for educators/researchers to use our access to sources/resources with a commitment to equity. I am looking forward to continuing to learn how to integrate interactive technology into these processes and maybe even claim a space within the digital humanities world!


Lisa’s ITP Bio

Hi friends!

My name is Lisa Ng, and I am in my last semester of the Master of Liberal Studies Program in Data Visualization. I received my B.A. in Urban Environmental Policy from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies.  I am currently a student advisor at CityTech. This is my twentieth consecutive year (wow! but also, hopefully my last year) as a student in the New York City public school system. I am currently waiting on results from various PhD programs to determine where I will be for the next few years.

My academic interests lie in waste, race, data, their relationships to one another, and how they are used to tell stories that affect lives. As an undergraduate, I developed an interest in trash and waste as a tool of pedagogy – because everyone interacts with trash, it serves as an accessible means to understand ubiquitous systems such as capitalism, racism, colonialism, etc. At the CUNY Building Performance Lab, I developed an interest in data, which led me to the MALS program at the GC and eventually to the field of Digital Humanities. I am especially interested in how technology can make archives and lesson plans more accessible.

I have been all over the place in terms of my interests, but that is driven by my curiosity of our environment and my genuine love for people. That is what brought me to the ITP Program. I have spent the past five years organizing and participating in multiple conferences. I also have experience working with and in various community organizations with bases in low-income Asian-American communities in New York City. If you have any questions about anything listed above, feel free to contact me!

Elizabeth’s ITP Bio

Hi everyone!

My name is Elizabeth Che (but you can also call me Liz). I am a doctoral student in Educational Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. I received my B.S. degree in Psychology and B.A. degree in Political Science from the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. I am currently serving as the Chair of the Graduate Student Teaching Association (GSTA; APA Division 2: The Society for the Teaching of Psychology) which aims to develop resources and services to support the classroom experiences of graduate student teachers.

My research interests relate to the broad areas of language development, development of effective pedagogy, and the effect of incorporating technological tools in the classroom. I am involved in efforts to evaluate the impact of teaching with Wikipedia in Introductory Psychology, by having students contribute to biographies of distinguished scientists as part of the WikiProject: PSYCH+Feminism.

I participated in the Open Pedagogy Fellowship over this past winter session where I learned how to use the GC Commons and techniques for converting my Introductory Psychology course into a zero-cost course for students. I am still working on the course site, but I plan to have it completed by the end of this or the following semester.

Jeff’s ITP Bio


Jeffrey Suttles is a graduate student at The City University of New York Graduate Center. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Literature, Arts, & Communications from City College of New York. Jeffrey is a self-taught musician that decided to go back to school to fulfill his aspirations to excel in music, media, and life. He is currently employed with the New York City Department of Education as a substitute teacher.

Jeffrey created a Social Justice blog called Humanities Heart as a member and employee of the New Media Lab. He recently completed his Digital Capstone project about BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT, which dissects what it will take to create sustainability in urban communities. He incorporates is musical ability by writing and performing in various venues in New York City. His goal is to engage people through multimedia platforms about the injustices that continue to plague our communities. In this way he believes that he will lend his voice to the movement, as part of the solution, instead of accentuating the problem.

Let’s Do This – Spring, 2019!

I’m Ash. I am a level 2 Ph.D. student in Theatre and Performance. My academic work centers around theatre practices in war zones and areas of conflict. I am a director, actor, and playwright. I am interested in creating work that transforms the way that people see the world. As a millennial artist, I am particularly drawn to how the events of September 11th, 2001 shaped my generation. This has been a question that I have asked in much of my work, which has looked at the implications of the war on terror, patriotism, religion, security and surveillance, xenophobia, and the refugee crisis.

I am loving my time at the Graduate Center, though I am a practitioner at heart. It’s been very exciting to further develop theatrical praxis in a supportive and stimulating atmosphere. Currently, I’m working on creating a one-woman production of Antigone set at the US/Mexico border. I’m often working on multiple projects at once. I like staying busy and motivated.

Upon receiving my Ph.D. my goal is to continue doing what I’m doing now but be paid a living wage to do it… Lately, though I have been thinking a lot about journalism and dabbling with the idea of what having a job in journalism (like at Democracy Now! or an independent organization) would look like. I know it’s impossibly hard, like theatre. I am particularly interested in photojournalism (here is a link to my photo website: www.introublewiththeking.org). My life has some epic scope creep, but I’m okay with it – keeps things interesting at all times.

ITP has been absolutely transformative. It has greatly informed by teaching and I’ve been exposed to exciting new ideas and technological practices that I had only vaguely heard of. I am particularly interested in technology and pedagogy as activism. This is what initially brought me to ITP. I’m looking forward to continuing working with and learning from all of you.

This is my cat, Kirby. Isn’t he great?