Meet The Judges: Data And Digital Storytelling Award

The Data And Digital Storytelling Award

RISE:2020 will feature several new awards this year dedicated to recognizing those student projects that excel in the design, art, media, and health fields. Each award is sponsored by one or more colleges within Northeastern University and reflect the academic and research goals of its sponsoring school. In the past, there have been awards that primarily recognized achievements of student projects in the STEM, health, and scientific fields, such as the DATA Award or the COE Solutions awards. However, this year, new Focus Awards seek to widen the scope of RISE, and further reveal the true depth of student work across the arts as well as the sciences. 

The “Data and Digital Storytelling Award” is jointly sponsored by the College of Art, Media and Design and College of Social Sciences and Humanities. This award seeks to highlight and award $1000 to one graduate and one undergraduate awardee whose presentation deftly applies tools of design, data visualization, text mining or mapping, journalistic investigation, or creative storytelling to draw attention to important ideas, problems or challenges. 

The Panel


Hilary Poriss

Holary Poris PrelimHilary Poriss is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Northeastern University. She received her Bachelors of the Arts from Bates College before receiving her Masters of the Arts and PhD in music history from the University of Chicago. In her academic career, Poriss has received fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, and the Columbia University Society of Fellows in the Humanities among others. She has also taught at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Chicago and Columbia University before arriving at Northeastern. She has been published in a variety of publications, such as Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press on topics related to the Prima Donna in the Nineteenth century. Her primary research interests center around 19th century Italian and French opera, performance practice, diva culture, and the aesthetics of 19th century musical culture. 


Nathan Felde

Nathan Felde PrelimNathan Felde is a Professor of Design at the College of Art, Media and Design at Northeastern University. He received his Masters of  Science in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and trained as a classical violinist at the Konservatoriet I Oslo and the Interlochen Arts Academy. Professionally, Felde helped found the Communication Arts and Technology Group and Lightspeed Computers and held the position of President at SimXInc. He was the Executive Director of broadband media research laboratories and university sponsored research programs for NYNEX, now known as Verizon. His past clients include Samsung, the Harvard School of Business and Mercedes Benz among others. Currently, Felde’s primary focus is delineating a new conceptual framework for experience design that studies attention and trust as coefficients of aesthetics and etiquette. 


Brian Romer

Brian Romer PrelimBrian Romer is the Director of Design at Thomson Reuters Labsa company dedicated to researching innovation and applying technological, data-backed solutions to challenges that arise in the modern world. Before his current role, Romer held positions as a Flash Developer and an Interactive Developer at Romer Creative, a company of his own founding, and as a Data Visualization lead at Thomson Reuters where he was responsible for supporting data scientists by developing compelling and functional interfaces for new product prototypes. In his current role, Romer leads a design team that supports data scientists by providing problem workshopping, user research, wireframing, prototyping, UI, data visualization and user testing. Romer specializes in customer interactive visualizations to represent data in a meaningful and memorable way.


Rachel Lake

Rachel Lake PrelimRachel Lake is the Marketing and Community Affairs Manager at the Greenway Conservancy, a non-profit responsible for the care and management of a linear park that spans several Downtown Boston Neighborhoods named after Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, matriarch of the Kennedy Family and Boston native. Lake received her Bachelor of the Arts in International Affairs and Anthropology at Northeastern University. In her professional career, she has held positions as a Research Assistant both for the City of Boston and the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, as well as the Operations and Constituent Services Director for the Massachusetts State Senate. She also held positions as the Deputy Campaign Manager, Campaign Operations Director and Finance Assistant for Julian Cyr’s campaign run for State Senate.


 Mike Swartz

Mike Swartz PrelimMike Swartz is a Principal at Upstatement, a company of his own founding that focuses on digital design having an engineering studio dedicated to developing user-facing brands and products. In his academic career, Swartz obtained his Bachelors of Science in Computer Science at Boston University. Professionally, he has held positions as a designer at the San Jose Mercury News, the Boston Globe, and has worked as a freelance designer for Complex Magazine. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the Massachusetts College of Art where he taught web design and front-end development. Swartz took his experience in the news industry and skills acquired in journalism to start his own company, forging his own entrepreneurial path. 


Sarah Connell

Sarah Connell PrelimSarah Connell is the Assistant Director at the NuLab for Texts, Maps and Networks at Northeastern UniversityConnel received her Bachelors of Arts in English and Classical and Medieval Studies from Bates College and then earned her Ph.D. in English from Northeastern University. She has worked as the Assistant Director and Project Manager in the Women Writers Project at Northeastern University, a Project Research Analyst at the Digital Scholarship Group in Boston, a Postdoctoral Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Literature Section, and as a TEI Developer at Early Caribbean Digital Archive at Northeastern University. Connell has also taught at Northeastern in the Department of English. She has held lectures within the Digital Humanities Speaker Series at MIT and the Barrs Lecture Series at Northeastern University among others.


Sarah Colombo

Sarah Columbo PrelimSarah Colombo, as an Associate Research Scientist at Northeastern University, is responsible for developing new methods to design for experience and ethics with AI and emerging technologies. Colombo received her Bachelors in Industrial Design, her Masters in Design and Engineering, and her PhD in Philosophy and Design from Politecnico di Milano, a technical institute located in ItalyThrough her academic and professional career, she has held positions as a Lecturer, Senior Research Associate and Postdoctoral Researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as positions as lecturer and adjunct professor at Politecnico di Milano and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China. She holds two patents on interactive devices for children’s health as well as having been published in journal articles, conference papers and books in the field of interaction design. Her works have been exhibited at events such as the Rome Maker Faire and Dutch Design Week. 


More RISERise Awards Logo

To read more about the new Focus Awards at this year’s Expo, click here.

To read more about the Expo itself, click here.


Disclaimer: Information regarding judges and their work are sourced online via LinkedIn, associated academic institutions,  and affiliated organizations.


Written by Joseph Burns

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