The BXA Intercollege Degree Programs support an outstanding group of innovative students. These students are creative thinkers who have unique visions of how their two (or more) disciplines combine to offer them an individualized education. They are often campus leaders who are honored with both artistic and scholarly awards. BXA students frequently complete internships and senior projects that contribute to shaping their career path. Post-graduation may include graduate school, service (such as the Teach for America Program), or employment related to one or both of their chosen concentrations.

As of August 2014, 367 students have graduated from BHA, 56 from BSA, and 16 from BCSA.

Alumni, Parents and Friends of BXA can Give in the Following Ways:

Go to, and from the pull-down "Designation" menu on the second page select "Other" and type in the name of the program you would like to support (BXA). Follow the rest of the steps and you're done.

When you get an appeal through the mail from the Office of Annual Giving, fill out the pledge card, select “Other” and write in the program you would like to support (BXA). Then mail it, along with a check (made out to Carnegie Mellon University) or credit card info, back to Carnegie Mellon in the envelope provided.

Throughout the year, the Student Telefund Program attempts to reach alumni. When you take the call, the student caller will be happy to help you make a donation allocated to BXA. Or you can call the Office of Annual Giving at 412-268-2021 to make your donation.

Gifts will go directly to the BXA Intercollege Degree Programs to fund activities, lectures, and projects for current students.

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Alumni Highlights

It is always a great joy to hear from BHA, BSA, and BCSA alumni. Their lives continue to reflect their beautifully textured and individualized undergraduate experiences.

Chris Barley
BHA 2004, Architecture, Anthropology and Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University
M.Arch 2009, Master of Architecture, Columbia University

Chris BarleySince graduating from CMU, I completed my most recent studies with a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University, where I received the William Kinne traveling prize upon graduation. Together with Troy Conrad Therrien I founded Therrien—Barley, named as one of the 20 Top American Influencers for 2012 (PDF) by Surface Magazine. Therrien—Barley is a creative design office, part think-tank, part creative agency, acting as designers, producers, and consultants. The office works with academic and cultural institutions as well as brands and industry on digital, physical, and conceptual projects. As independent architectural curators, we have organized the Young Architects Program 10th Anniversary Review at MoMA/PS.1 as well as Project New York, an exhibition on the future of New York City, as part of the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas for the New City.

In 2011 and 2012 we curated Experiments in Motion a year-long research initiative that partnered Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in partnership with Audi of America. As curators of the initiative, Therrien—Barley produced a series of events and think-tanks aimed at exploring new ways of thinking about motion, which then became the basis for three architectural design studios that produced architectural proposals for the future of mobility in cities. Experiments in Motion culminated in an exhibition and event series during the month of September that converted an abandoned building in Manhattan's Lower East Side into a community event space.

The BHA program positioned me to find my own path and create my identity while also allowing me access to amazing courses and professors. Interdisciplinarity has continually been a key component to my professional DNA. The uniquely BXA ability and willingness to synthesize and connect has allowed to me to go from working on a master plan for the Hermitage Museum with OMA, to designing a skyscraper at SOM, to curating an exhibition at MoMA/P.S.1, to starting my own office. Communicating across disciplines and between different worlds, i.e. finding a way for a car brand and an architecture school to work together, has been an asset that I acquired as a BHA student and have continued to use as an alum. Many of my projects have involved not only making connects between worlds, but explaining the value that these connections have. Every time I pitch a new project to a prospective client I am reminded of the similar feeling I had making decisions about what my degree meant and how to express its value to world.

Marisa MacIsaac
BHA 2002, 20th Century Visual Culture with an additional major in European Studies, Carnegie Mellon University

Marisa MacIsaacAs I travel the world, the people I meet can never quite understand how I ended up in that particular place, doing that particular thing, whether it’s pursuing a Masters in law, politics and economics of the European Union in Germany with colleagues who are shaping European innovation policy or working on a tall ship in Maine or a dotcom in Boston or learning Kuchipudi dance in India. Yet it all makes sense to me. Just like in my time at CMU, I’m able to pursue whatever strikes my fancy and do it in a way that is cost effective and builds on all my prior experiences.

At CMU, I studied the relationship between art and society. I coordinated Kaleidoscope 2000 and 2002, completed a research project about the Carnegie International Exhibition and worked with another student to create a video about how CMU students work for Meeting of the Minds. But more than this, I gained a lot of skills which serve me well today, such as understanding the technical side of things, knowing how to manage and market, visual skills and grasping that no project exists in a vacuum. Most importantly, I know that anything is possible.

I spent a semester in Prague studying arts and social change and fell in love with travel. After graduation, I wanted to travel more and so I did the logical thing and joined the tourism industry. I started a seasonal tour business on the small Maine island where my family resides. I purchased a six passenger golf cart and started taking people on 90 minute tours that explained the visual development of the island. Knowing how to relate the story of a small island to the bigger world won me many repeat customers and media coverage. I was able to save enough during the summer to travel and pursue other avenues in the winter. I spent several seasons leading student tours in Washington, D.C. and New York. I learned Czech and German and co-wrote a guide for theatre artists in Boston. Recently I’ve shifted to a job with the State Department and am opening the new U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad, India.

In many ways I feel that I am still pursuing my BHA degree. I’m still striving to understand the relationship between arts and society. I don’t worry about being one thing or the other, because I need all of my experiences and skills and knowledge to complete my next project, whatever it may be.

Natasha Patamapongs
BHA 2008, International Relations and Music Technology with minors in History of the Arts and Jazz Vocal Performance, Carnegie Mellon University

Natasha PatamapongsMellow Motif

I am a major label artist (Warner Music Group, Thailand; 2009). I recently released a self-titled album with "Mellow Motif", a jazz/latin band that I formed with a CMU colleague, Eugene Ang. Since its national release, Mellow Motif has gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews and press coverage and will soon launch in various countries throughout Southeast Asia. Incidentally I will be the first Thai Jazz vocalist to be internationally released, and have made appearances on national TVs and have been interviewed by many major newspapers and magazines. I am currently working as an artist, singer, arranger, producer, songwriter, and project manager for a cross-cultural music project that I started.

I was recently invited by the Brazilian Ambassador of Thailand to perform a concert on the Brazilian national day on behalf of the Brazilian Embassy for all the Ambassadors in Thailand and for the public. With support from the Brazilian Embassy, my next project will be a full-scale Brazilian Music album featuring Thai instruments, arrangements, and lyrics. I hope for this album to combine the cultures of both countries and to create a new musical landscape that has never been done before.

I received my Bachelor of Humanities and Artsin International Relations and Music Technology, with minors in History of the Arts and Jazz Vocal Performance from CMU exactly a year ago in 2008. I have to admit that I felt a little vague at first when I was still in school, but now my career has really employed every single little thing I've learned from my degree. I followed my heart and went where my interests lead me, and somehow everything came together nicely. Everything that I've learned from the BHA program has really sharpened me as a person with interdisciplinary interests. I am not doing many separate things at the same time, but rather combining everything I can do, making them into one piece. With my Music Technology concentration, I have the required knowledge to produce and work in a studio as well as to perform. Being able to design my own curriculum in my International Relations concentration apparently raised my awareness of Music in the different context of many cultures in the world, as well as made me a better coordinator and manager for projects that use music as a medium to connect different cultures together. Without the strong interdisciplinary emphasis of the BHA program, I really couldn't imagine myself doing what I am doing today.

Joana Ricou
BSA 2004, Biological Sciences and Art, Carnegie Mellon University

Joana RicouTo me, biology has always been a tool to discover the increasing complexity of the world. How do we deal and think about this constantly evolving and incomplete knowledge? How do we transform this knowledge to understanding of ourselves and the world? Since graduating from CMU, I’ve worked as a fine artist on these themes (and more) and showed in many venues in Pittsburgh, including the Andy Warhol Museum (2007), and had work cast in the Hollywood movie Love & Other Drugs. Also since then, I have worked as an artist and art director with Dr. John A. Pollock, on a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), an outreach grant from the National Institutes of Health. I’m interested in exploring complex and cutting-edge themes, where art can provide visualization to support science and contribute new hypotheses, both creating interest and awareness in the general public and hopefully providing scientists with a new visual framework to support further discussion. With SEPA, I’ve created educational tools, from videogames, to animated movies, to web projects and public art - each project needing a different team, different technology, different skills and experts. In 2008-10, Pollock and I created a project called Spiral of Life that proposes a new symbol for evolution that challenges traditional tenets of the field, and installed a series of art works based on it at several Pittsburgh museums including the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquariums and the Children’s Museum.

I knew I had to go to CMU when I discovered the Bachelor of Science and Arts. I was able to do research, immerse myself in the scientist role, and then go into the studio, and do the artist thing. I am sure these unique circumstances allowed me to find/create my path, where I continuously go between the two communities. In 2004, I collaborated with CMU neuroscientists Dr. Alison Barth and Dr. Nathan Urban, to create a series of oil paintings on the role of the individual neuron in decision-making and, during embryonic development, in the formation of innate memories and reflexes in mice. In 2005, the piece Hippocampus of transgenic mice became the cover for The Journal of Neuroscience (issue of April 27th, 2005) the first milestone on the path…

View Multitudes, Joana's on-line show at the Arte Institute and watch her video interview below.

Julia Stein (JULIACKS)
BHA 2008, Creative Writing and Art, Carnegie Mellon University

Julia Stein - Photo Courtesy of Sanna LehtoThe picture of me is on the set for the film, Invisible Forces or Näkymättömiä Voimia which I directed, wrote and produced while on a Fulbright Fellowship for Performance Art.

Situated within art, film, comics, and performance this Finnish American film slips between boundaries and will be showed in venues ranging from an installation in a gallery space, a chair installation in Stockholm's music/film/comics library, to the grand ol' cinema-Orion in Helsinki, a performance studies conference and an abandoned fortress comics festival in Rome. There is a comic book of the same name that is also being completed right now. There have been performance installations made in the past as part of the research development of the film that I made while on a Fulbright Fellowship for Performance Art.

Since 2009, I have formed the mutational artist collective and production company Innertube with Amy Johnson (BFA'08). Multi-faceted with an international focus, Inner Tube creates site-specific and psychologically driven adventures that encourage positive self-expression.

I have started development on another transmedia film/comics-painting/performance research project-The Infinite Whistle. It should be shot in different places in the world with many different collaborators. Perhaps I could shoot a scene in Pittsburgh soon.

Since 2007 while studying abroad and as a student at CMU, I've been developing the graphic novel and series of performances, Swell. This graphic novel is now complete and the performances are coming to a head with a collaboration with fellow CMU alum, Kathleen Amshoff (MFA Directing 08') who is directing and adapting this story for the stage. We are combining my performance art research and experimental comics aesthetic with the narrative and a theatrical setting.

The BXA program helped in my artistic, academic and professional development by giving me the freedom to explore, pushing me to integrate and innovate and fostering an entrepreneurial independent spirit. The BXA program fosters a self motivated approach to life and education.

Julia's Photo Courtesy of Sanna Lehto

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