HAAARCH!!! 2016

HAAARCH!!! is a yearly showcase of undergraduate research, creative work, and achievement. This forum provides students the opportunity to exhibit, present and promote their research and experiential learning activities.

HAAARCH!!! 2016 will take place in the Cloister and University Art Gallery of the Frick Fine Arts Building on March 21, from 4-6 pm.

HAAARCH!!! 2016

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    James Rush

    James Rush is a senior majoring in Architectural Studies. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, he grew up being fascinated with the city's unique landform dictated built environment which directed his decision to attend the University of Pittsburgh. He is expected to graduate in the spring of 2016.

    James has completed multiple design studios and digital media courses and is currently enrolled in the honors studio that is focused on sustainable design. He is also currently an intern at Brenenborg Brown Group where he enjoys learning about the design, construction, and business aspects of architecture. He believes these experiences have furnished him with the knowledge and tools necessary to starting his journey towards becoming a registered architect. 

    James will be presenting his entire portfolio of design work.

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    Blair Wegescheide

    Blair Wegescheide is a senior Architectural Studies and Urban Studies major, with a minor in History.  She is originally from New York, where she became interested in the diverse interactions within the urban environment and the established structures of the city that shape peoples’ perception of their surroundings.  Blair has previously researched the adaptive reuse of abandoned underground Tube stations in London this past summer and is currently researching cultural conservation and historic preservation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for her Urban Studies Capstone.  She is excited to graduate this Spring 2016 and to pursue a master’s degree in International Development with the intent of becoming an Urban Designer and Planner.  Blair is also a member of the University of Pittsburgh Women’s swim team, serving as both a captain and scholar athlete over the past four years.

    She will be presenting her Honor’s Thesis research for HAAARCH, which explores the contrasting user groups and emotions of the World Trade Center Memorial and Site in NYC.

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    Anika Shah

    Anika Shah is a sophomore Architectural Studies major graduating in Spring 2018. She is also pursing a double minor in Studio Arts and Sociology. At first she was unsure which educational path to take, but architecture has shown itself to be the perfect fit thus far.

    Studying in both Paris and Prague this past summer, she explored varieties of architecture through different cultures and perspectives. She is fascinated by the influential nature of architecture and the experiences it evokes. After completing her bachelors degree, she will go on to obtain her masters in Architecture and continue traveling to broaden her cultural and artistic perspectives.

    At HAAARCH Anika will be presenting her Foundations Studio final project, as well as her Approaches to the Built Environment group installation with Justin Shaffer, Allison Smyth, Thais Coimbra, and Abigail Sobotka-Briner.

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    Aby Sobotka-Briner

    Aby Sobotka-Briner is a junior Architectural Studies and Studio Arts double major from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

    Over the next year, Aby plans on thoroughly exploring all that the Architecture department has to offer through internships and leadership positions. She plans on studying abroad this summer through the Architectural Studies in Central Europe program. In her spare time, Aby works for The Pitt News as a staff illustrator and volunteers as a designer for WPTS radio station. 

    Aby will be presenting her work from Foundations Studio and a group installation project from Approaches to the Built Environment.

     

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    CMoA Visitor Evaluation: She Who Tells A Story

    Museum Studies Intern at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History - Spring 2016

    As an intern at the Carnegie Museums, I work closely with Assistant Curator Dr. Erin Peters on analyzing visitor evaluations of the recent exhibition She Who Tells A Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World. The exhibition displayed the works of 12 women photographers with themes ranging from personal identity to the social and political issues of the Middle East. In one gallery of the exhibition the museum provided visitor comment cards, each of which corresponded to particular artworks on view. My work this semester has been to code and analyze visitor experiences from these comment cards.

    Myself and two other interns categorized and entered the visitor’s self-reported demographic data from the comment cards by age, gender, location, and other information written on the cards. We then created codes for when visitors responded to a specific work from the show, as well as their general responses to the themes from the exhibition. I broke down the transcribed data further by extracting more specific qualitative information such as the percentages of visitors’ age ranges, languages, genders, and works that received the most response. The quantitative information that we gathered is what we presented at HAAARCH, a showcase of undergraduate research for the History of Art and Architecture and the Architectural Studies programs.

    Once we completed the quantitative aspects of our analysis, we moved onto more in-depth qualitative analysis. Again, we came up with codes but this time focusing more on the content of the cards. I have just finished coding the cards into groups such as comments thanking the artist and/or museum, positive reactions to the exhibition, negative or differing opinions to exhibition content – this includes comments on Muslim traditions negatively or positively, and on political or human rights more broadly – personal stories, quotes, visual analysis and many more. Data analysis based on these new codes is integral to our understanding of the impact of the exhibition on its audience and has proven to be very telling of viewer experiences.

    Dr. Peters has since presented our project in its quantitative stage to the CMOA staff and they have shown interest in hearing about our final results. We have recently been invited to present our project at the Women’s Committee monthly meeting at the CMOA. It is great to see that our work has reached other people outside of the academic audience we presented to in the past.

    Myself and one other intern will continue to work on this project next semester. In the fall we plan to analyze and consolidate the data further. We hope to eventually write everything up as a research paper and then develop a more finalized presentation for the CMOA staff. My time as an intern working on the She Who Tells A Story project has shown me the importance of visitor evaluation and the role it could play in the Carnegie museum’s (or any museum’s) approach to exhibition curation. Our project has served to reinforce the value of evaluating visitor response and also help to establish a process for future evaluation. After Dr. Peters presented our initial findings to the CMOA staff, it seems that future visitor evaluation internships at the Carnegie Museum may be a possibility. This makes my current position even more crucial to the development, ideas, and articulation of our methods for this initiative.

    Our visitor evaluations and analysis could lead to the development of new viewer engagement activities and help us to further understand how demographic data and visitors’ responses can be applied to the planning of future exhibitions. Our research documents the museum’s efforts to present difficult subject matter, such as Muslim traditions and women’s experiences. This data not only provides visitor feedback that can be taken into consideration when approaching sensitive topics in the future, but also reassures the museum that exhibitions like She Who Tells A Story are important to present to the public and act as a step towards being more inclusive. My work on this project has shown me the impact that the addition of simple, interactive elements such as comment cards, can have on visitor reception of exhibitions and why it is important to investigate further into future use of these elements. I have learned so much about museum work, evaluation, and possible museum careers through this experience. I am very excited to continue working on this project next semester and hopefully help the museum create a reliable system for continued visitor evaluation.

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    Sean O' Connor

    Sean O’Connor is a double-major Urban and Architectural Studies major with a minor in Studio Arts expecting a degree in 2017. His initial interest in architecture began to blend with Urban Planning theory when exposed to the changing built environment of his hometown, Pittsburgh. Sean has been involved in multiple sustainability groups at Pitt, including the Give a Thread campaign, Pitt Environmental Action Coalition, and he was president of Students for Sustainability. Currently, he is focusing on the Hazelwood’s community health in his Architecture Studio and Urban Studies writing intensive course. After his team won the Sustainable Solutions Competition in September of 2015, awarding them $10,000 to create a sustainable “solution” on campus, he designed a plan for a garden at the intersection of Bigelow and O’Hara Street with technical help from student geologists and environmental studies majors. The garden is self-sustaining, being made of plants indigenous to Pennsylvania, and acts as an educational public space for students. Construction of the plan is to take place in April of 2016. Sean has a strong interest in sustainability and bringing different communities together through the built environment, which he incorporated into his garden design. After college, Sean plans to eventually attend graduate school for either Architecture, Urban Planning, or a combination of both. 

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    Bridgette Mekkelsen

    A Pittsburgh native, Bridgette received her Associates in Architecture from Valencia College in the spring of 2015. She is majoring in Architectural Studies at the University of Pittsburgh and expects to graduate in Spring 2017.  Bridgette has always been interested in the fields of art and design and found her niche when taking design classes at Valencia. With a great concern for the environment, she began to do independent research on sustainable design. The combination of environmental awareness and design joined two concerns that Bridgette found to be most important. Being in Design III and tackling environmental issues in a studio setting has been an eye opening and valuable learning experience. She plans on taking her LEED Green Associate test within the next year at the university. Upon graduation, Bridgette plans on going to grad school to fulfill her Masters in Architecture and eventually become a licensed architect. At HAAARCH!!!  Bridgette will be presenting work from her Design Studio III course, involving climate analysis and designs of residential units that incorporate passive design strategies and sustainable materials.

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    Colin van‘t Veld

    Colin van ‘t Veld is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Architectural Studies with a minor in Studio Arts. He is from Laramie, Wyoming and came to Pittsburgh to gain a new perspective as he pursues higher education.He loves to travel, and took an architectural studio course in the summer of 2015 studying abroad in Copenhagen. He hopes to complete an architectural internship this summer, and eventually become a licensed architect after he graduates in the spring of 2017. 

    Colin will be presenting his portfolio at HAAARCH 2016.

                                                                                                             

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    Justin Shaffer

    Justin Shaffer is currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Architectural Studies. Justin took drafting as well as computer drawing courses in high school where he found a keen interest in architectural design. Since then, he has studied many architectural theories and finds the work of Louis Sullivan and his contributions to modern architecture as the most compelling of theories. Justin plans on attending graduate school after graduating from the University in pursuit of a Master’s of Architecture Degree. Before graduating from the University, he will be working as an intern at a firm in Williamsport.

    At HAAARCH!!, Justin will be among a group representing the Approaches to the Built Environment course, HAA 0940.

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    Maria Flanagan

    Mariah Flanagan is a junior anthropology major pursuing minors in museum studies and American history as well as a certificate in American Sign Language. In the past, Mariah has researched at the Pitt Center for Learning in Out of School Environments as well as under Dr. Gretchen Bender within the HAA department. She has also interned at the American Academy of Rome, Italy, as part of a study abroad program there, served as education team leader in developing the recent UAG exhibit Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts under Janet McCall, and is a docent at the Nationality Rooms. Since August, Mariah and two other undergraduates have been interning under Dr. Erin Peters within the Carnegie Museums working on exhibit evaluation, professional interviews, and visitor response. At HAAARCH!!!, they will be presenting their current project: analyzing visitor response cards from the CMoA’s recent exhibit She Who Tells a Story, a traveling exhibition that shows Iran and the Arab world through the female lens. After graduation, Mariah hopes to enter directly into the museum field, working in education, outreach, or curation. Still, as Swiss explorer Bertrand Piccard once warned, "If everything happens according to plan, it's a business plan, not an adventure."

     

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