Carnegie Mellon University

BXA Intercollege Degree Programs

Interdisciplinary Academics + Arts

Capstone Project

All BXA seniors complete a year-long, research-intensive Capstone Project. Capstones range from papers, performances and games to apps, installations, business plans and beyond. The goal of the Capstone is to show how a student has woven together the interdisciplinary elements of their coursework into an integrated project. In addition, the Capstone project provides a concrete representation of the interdisciplinary work the student has done. BXA students present their Capstones at the annual Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium held each May.

Theresa Abalos
BHA 2020, Global Studies and Music Performance with a minor in Hispanic Studies
Magsalin: A Translation of Diaspora from Memory to Expression

Magsalin—“to translate” in Tagalog. In diaspora, there are many kinds of translation: from one language to another, from generations in one geographical space to another. This performance of creative writing and music translates the speaker’s shame from growing up in diaspora, into a sense of place that is embodied and expressed.

Alec Albright
BHA 2020, Statistics and Audio Recording & Production
What Makes a Song "Pop"?

This project dives into the question of whether modern pop music is as predictable as many listeners believe. By using statistical analysis of song components and features, this project looks to exploit commonalities in modern pop music and hopes to find differences as well.

Stephen Chabassol
BHA 2020, Creative Writing and Music Technology with a minor in Sound Design
Enhance Christian Artistry in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's Christian music artists lack unity, quality and visibility. This project seeks to enhance artists' creativity and discoverability. Through researching and interviewing Christian artists and arts organizations, this project reveals current challenges and solutions. Research data informs plans for a business, non-profit or collective to enhance Christian artistry in Pittsburgh.

Connie Chau
BHA 2020, Economics and Music Performance with an additional major in Human-Computer Interaction
Mono no Aware Mannequin

Mono no Aware Mannequin is a multimedia project that combines passive interactive ambient sound, a mannequin and the Japanese artistic technique of kintsugi to create intrigue and wonder about the aesthetics and Japanese philosophy of "mono no aware."

Nana Cheon
BHA 2020, Global Systems & Management and Art
Madonna Without Child

Madonna Without Child is a multi-channel video installation and collage where the artist aims to visually redefine and restructure traditional notions of domesticity. The imagery, symbolism and performances are derived from cross-examining Catholic Colonial ideals as well as Baroque and Renaissance portraiture.

Tamao Cmiral
BHA 2016, Philosophy and Music Performance
The Space Camel EP

This capstone project is an extended play record (EP). It is a compilation of songs written, performed and produced by my band, Spring Wizard.

Tyler Destremps
BSA 2020, Neurobiology and Music Performance
A Senior Recital as a Bagpipe Performance Major

This capstone project is a senior bagpipe recital which acts as a cap on and portrayal of four years of performance development and refinement.

Selina Du
BHA 2020, Economics and Art with an additional major in Business Administration
Comfort Food for Thought

The goal of Comfort Food for Thought is to create integration between food, formalities of dining, art and exploration of cultural and social significance. The end product is a dinner experience in the form of an installation.

Liza Goncharova
BHA 2020, Russian Studies and Art
A Game in Hell: Theatrics of Destruction and Play

This capstone project is a thesis addressing the aesthetic relationship between nonsense and rationality in Russian Futurist book art, specifically the poem “A Game in Hell.”

Yixin He
BCSA 2020, Computer Science and Art
Victo Ngai-ify

This project is a series of art directable stylization shaders that transform 3D scenes and models into an approximation of Victo Ngai's art style in real time.

Lingdong Huang
BCSA 2019, Computer Science and Art
Pose Estimation Playrooms

Pose Estimation Playrooms is an online multiuser interactive experience, where users move their bodies and body parts in front of webcam to engage in playful activities in a series of virtual worlds that they share with each other.

Clelia Knox
BHA 2020, Humanities Analytics and Art
The Dummy: A “Cyborg” Comic

This project investigates the potential of introducing computational methods for generating text to the process of developing a comic adaptation of Susan Sontag’s short-story, The Dummy.

Diane Lee
BSA 2020, Chemistry and Art with a minor in Photography
There is no world without women

There is no world without women is an artist's book project exploring the conversations between women's health and environmental health.

Brooke Ley
BCSA 2020, Music Technology
QueerPGH Podcast

This podcast is an interview series with Queer folks and leaders living in the Pittsburgh Region.

Tiffany Li
BCSA 2020, Computer Science and Art with a minor in Game Design
PolyRhythm Painter

PolyRhythm Painter is a rhythm-based drawing game inspired by Dance Dance Revolution.

Zachary Rapaport
BHA 2020, Global Studies and Art with an additional major in Hispanic Studies
WaterWalks: Creative Action for Community Justice

WaterWalks is a socially engaged art project working to center overlooked histories and marginalized perspectives in Pittsburgh’s ongoing water crisis. This goal is accomplished through artist- and community-led “Walks,” participatory experiences that advocate for environmental justice.

Bethany Rispoli
BHA 2020, Cognitive Neuroscience and Design
PupCycled: The Sustainable Pet Apparel Brand

PupCycled is a sustainable pet apparel start-up that disrupts the waste cycle by taking unwanted textiles and upcycling them into unique and innovative dog products. This start-up project aims to call attention to the problem of textile waste in the fashion industry while making dogs look and feel great.

Natalie Schmidt
BHA 2020, Professional Writing and Drama with a minor in Game Design
Scholar & Painter

Scholar & Painter is a movement-based play written in collaboration with student director Rachel Pospíšil, intended to be mounted for a School of Drama production. It tells a love story of a connection that exceeds the difficulties presented by distance, time, disease and our own memories.

Isobel Stephen
BHA 2020, Cognitive Neuroscience and Art with a minor in Human-Computer Interaction
Random Access Memory Palace

This series of paintings and digital artwork investigates what artificial intelligence can show about the nature of human consciousness, especially memory and loss.

Charlene Sun
BHA 2020, Economics and Art

Dream is a collection of six dresses inspired by fairy tale elements. This project attempts to visualize the dreamlike environments in literary fairy tales and explores their commercial appeal. The final collection is intended to be wearable art.

Clair Sun
BHA 2020, Decision Science and Art with an additional major in Human-Computer Interaction

This online crowd-sourcing platform includes a timeline and visualizations of job-related information. Students contribute data of their past experience of the job application process (e.g. time for rounds of interview, interview questions, etc.) to help each other better plan for the process.  

Helen Tsui
BHA 2020, Psychology and Art
Music Social Experience Reimagined

Music can be a significant part of one’s personal experience that evokes emotions, memories and feelings. It can also be a social experience that is able to bridge people together in unimagined ways, especially in such a special time where people are physically in isolation. This project aims to explore ways of collaborative music listening and sharing on digital platforms.

Jeena Yin
BCSA 2020, Computer Science and Music Technology with minors in Game Design and Music

Fvsion is an audio-visualization VJ software designed in Max/MSP with live-coded Jitter shaders and JavaScript. It is an intuitive program that visualizes sound and creates organic virtual worlds.

Léann Bahi
BCSA 2019, Computer Science and Art with a minor in Human-Computer Interaction
Infectious Overlay

Infectious Overlay is an augmented reality installation in which virtual wraiths infest the viewer’s immediate surroundings. The project explores the imminent encroachment of virtual entities into physical space, and the speed at which visual symbols can recondition human habit.

Anna Jamieson Beck
Politics & Public Policy and Drama with a minor in Professional Writing
Politics, Performance and Power

Politics, Performance and Power is an exploration of how theatre and politics intersect, especially when it comes to politicians. The project takes the form of a staged reading of a script devised from various plays, books, articles, movies, student voices and historical events. The project hopes to start conversations about where there is overlap between politics and theatre and what that means for society as a whole.

Parley Belsey
BSA 2019, Neurobiology and Art

Pub(lic)SCIENCE is a series of photographs and paintings focused on carrying out the goal of the now defunct article repository PubSCIENCE, a DOE website slated to “disseminate and improve access to scientific information,” but in a fashion meant for public consumption. This project aims to share the scientific research process in an interesting and digestible way, in order combat gaps in public information that could be contributing to the ongoing wave of doubt facing the scientific community.

Odelia Cheng
BSA 2019, Biological Sciences and Art
Let’s Vaccinate! Reaching Anti-Vaxxers through Scientific, Emotional and Moral Arguments within a Narrative Structure

Let’s Vaccinate! attempts to reach anti-vaxxers through use of a narrative and educational animatic. The video will ultimately be published online for accessibility. The second part of this project includes the creation of an informational flyer to accompany the video and distribute to physicians.

Carolyn Chheath
BHA 2019, Cognitive Science and Design
3 years, 8 months, 20 days: Coping with Intergenerational Trauma in Cambodian Families

3 years, 8 months, 20 days is a collection of interviews and photographs that explores intergenerational trauma in families of first-generation and second-generation Cambodian genocide survivors. By sharing their stories and perspectives to a broader community, this project aims to reduce the stigma around mental health and promote the topic of multiculturally competent mental health resources.

Anne Crumley
BHA 2019, Statistics and Art with an additional major in Social and Political History
Why Does It Work? An Introduction to the Art Critique

Through the creation of a workbook, this project introduces students to the concept of the art critique and to supply novice participants with the tools needed to both participate in group discussions and to conduct personal critiques outside of the classroom.

Chloé Desaulles
BHA 2019, Cognitive Neuroscience and Art with a minor in Intelligent Environments
Dedications I-V

Dedications I-V is a short volumetric film composed of individual tales on memory as told by people with progressive memory loss. The short is inspired by neuroscientific research which suggests that selective memories can be made resistant to degenerative disorders through active recall. This short film is a visual collection of five people’s favorite memories. It is meant to act as a poetic document of those experiences, as well as a tool to strengthen the neural pathways related to them.

Mauricio Gil-Silva
BSA 2019, Neurobiology and Music Technology
Sonifying Mice

The capstone project is a model for converting data from mice walking on a treadmill to elements of sound. For example, the position of the mice’s feet can be mapped to pitch. The goal is to provide scientists with an auditory display that can help them engage data in a novel way.

Archana Goparaju
BHA 2019, Ethics, History & Public Policy and Art
Kinship in the Emerging Epoch

This paper studies the ways in which conceptions of kinship have been continuously altered during the Anthropocene and what significance these alterations have in relation to our current ecological crisis.

Shuangni Huang
BHA 2019, Decision Science and Art with an additional major in Human-Computer Interaction
1-Day Persona

This project is a booklet that tries to capture a fascinating phenomenon of how people in East Asia use colored lenses as a new way of self-expression.

Grace Huddleston
BHA 2019, Global Studies and Art with a minor in Hispanic Studies
Modern Marianismo

Modern Marianismo explores themes of motherhood, feminism and family in the south of Chile. Paintings and writings are based off of interviews conducted with women who identify as mothers, take place in Makewe, a rural sector with a large indigenous population. While the paintings share the stories of my host family, my writings situate their thoughts and experiences in the larger context of indigenous feminist movements and the history of colonialism.

Antonia James
BHA 2019, Logic & Computation and Art

This project is an animation about emotions.

Bo Kim
BHA 2019, Ethics, History & Public Policy and Art with an additional major in Human-Computer Interaction
The Commonplace Music

Commonplace Music is a system for composing and performing music with everyday objects. It challenges the notion of perfect performance and explores how to represent music apart from traditional syntax. The system lets anyone, regardless of one’s background in music, to build a notation system and play music. It incorporates ml5.js, an open source machine learning library for creatives and students, to recognize the object’s orientation and movement, and assign a particular sound for each case.

Dayoung Kwon
BCSA 2019, Computer Science and Music Technology with a minor in Physics
Sounds to Express

The project centers around the idea of musique concrete, a style of music composition that uses pre-recorded sounds to create interesting sounds. Most of the pre-recorded sounds are based on Carnegie Mellon campus noises, and the sounds are used to create an odd, eerie feeling that represents fear and anxiety.

Kevin Lee
BHA 2018, Global Systems & Management and Music Performance with a minor in Human-Computer Interaction
Creative Collaboration App

This mobile application connects creatives with each other within their area. Creatives can preview other peoples’ work, music, portfolio, etc.

Kearnie Lin
BCSA 2019, Computer Science and Art
Halcyon Days

“Stay soft. Don’t let the world make you hard.” This project’s reflective imagery is about the time and experiences spent here, and an introspective effort to create an emotional sanctuary.

Renee Madrigal
BHA 2019, Anthropology and Drama
Unlocking Xicana Identity: Ancestry, Indigeneity and Storytelling

Unlocking Xicana Identity is a multifaceted autoethnographic project combining family history, self-identity and the lost traditions of Purépecha culture. The project moves away from the dual nature of Mexican-American ethnicity and instead embraces a singular hybrid identity: Xicana. Through dramatic writing and earring-making, the project reflects the journey a young Xicana must embark on to reconnect to ancestral traditions in a modern world.

Abbey Mandracchia
BHA 2019, Cognitive Neuroscience and Music Performance
Music, Mindfulness and Mood: Implementation of Music in Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

There is considerable evidence that music interventions can supplement treatment of various neuropsychiatric disorders, and this project reflects upon how this evidence can be applied to treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The ultimate goal of this project is to reflect upon the current research that exists regarding music therapy and BPD treatment, propose an argument for implementing music in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and create sample music therapy exercises for BPD treatment.

Yoon Seo Mok
BHA 2018, Cognitive Science and Art with a minor in Animation and Special Effects
Orfiel’s Nursery: Midnight Crime

Orfiel’s Nursery: Midnight Crime is a short two-dimensional animation that experiments with different visual styles. The styles randomly change throughout a linear narrative of six children and their caretaker.

Gabriella Orbach
BHA 2018, Cognitive Neuroscience and Music Performance
Singing for Parkinson’s Disease: Analyzing the Vocal and Psychological Efficacy of a Parkinson’s Group Choir

This project explores a group choir as a potential alternative, singing-based therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients experiencing hypophonia (quiet speech). Additionally, this paper addresses the possible psychological impact group choir participation may have on patients with PD who are experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation, which so often accompany debilitating illness.

Christine Phang
BHA 2019, Psychology and Art with a minor in Religious Studies
Little Mouse’s Search: Exploring Meaning through Children’s Literature

Little Mouse’s Search is a children’s book created through combining creative processes with research on readers’ preferences. Little Mouse feels like something is missing from his life. His friends each offer a solution but nothing seems to satisfy. Then he hears about the Gardener… Could the Gardener hold the answer?

Coby Rangel
BHA 2019, Cognitive Neuroscience and Music Performance with a minor in Sound Design
Racial Attitudes and Musical Preference: A Correlational Study

This study explores the relationship between the racial attitudes and musical preferences of an individual. Participants were asked to rate several song clips on a likeability scale in order to determine their openness or aversion to certain genres of music. Their implicit racial preferences were measured using a conventional black-white implicit association test and then compared across subjects in order to determine if there is a statistically significant relationship between the two.

Juliana Schnerr
BHA 2019, Creative Writing and Design
Eat Well, Learn Well, Do Well: Enhancing CMU and the Pittsburgh Community through an Urban Garden

Rooted in the fields of sustainable urbanization and non-traditional education, this project aims to lay out an effective project proposal and logistical plan for an urban community garden that would allow for accessible produce, community building and educational opportunities in the Pittsburgh area.

SooJin Sohn
BHA 2019, Global Systems & Management and Art with a minot in Animation and Special Effects
Loen’s Pieces

Loen’s Pieces is a fantasy action web comic, published on LINE Webtoon, made to explore various artistic and storytelling techniques including camera dynamics, fictional world building and touches upon concerns with self-identity by illustrating recollections of personal struggles.

Minjung Suh
BHA 2019, Economics and Art
Immortal Garden

The world today is born a destroyer of the world yesterday, and who is in charge is homo sapiens. Immortal Garden is a series of oil paintings that explore how one evolves an ego along with the internal and external worlds. This series aims to visualize the consciousness in constant flux mainly through the depiction of the physical bodies that lie between reality and fiction.

Xinyi Wang
BCSA 2019, Computer Science and Drama
Curating the Public Sphere: A Study of Op-eds on Twitter

This study uses online ethnography methods to analyze discourse patterns around op-eds shared by major news agencies on Twitter. It aims to inform news professionals in their creation and curation of op-eds on social media, for the goal of facilitating informed public discourse.

Kristin Yin
BCSA 2018, Computer Science and Art
Masked: A Game About Underrepresentation of Women in Technology

Masked is a text based choose your own adventure game that walks players through a series of conversations about women in the technology industry.

Shelby Zasacky
BSA 2019, Mathematical Sciences and Art with a minor in Computer Science
Incremental Fractal Urbanization

Incremental Fractal Urbanization is a mapping project that explores New York City’s historical urban boundary computed as a fractal. The project uses a combination of three-dimensional and two-dimensional data to create a visual tool that aims to provide understanding about the changing urban environment and ecological encroachment of the New York City region.

Olanrewaju Adetola
BHA 2018, Global Systems & Management and Art

Interrogations is an experimental fashion film that follows four black men on their inquisition of masculinity, what they have been taught about it, and the implications these teachings have had on their lives. Toxicity and pain dissolve in the delicate images of disarmed black men sporting the Pan-African clothing collection Messiah, designed by Adetola.

Sara Adkins
BCSA 2018, Computer Science and Music Technology with a minor in Sound Design
Creating with the Machine: Interactive Algorithmic Composition for Live Performance

Creating with the Machine is a set of compositions that combine algorithmic and traditional methods of music composition into live performances. It explores how interactive generative algorithms can influence creativity in musical improvisation and create a compelling listening experience for the audience. Three compositions were created and premiered, each showcasing a different algorithmic composition technique. These performances aim to meld the themes of creativity and computation in order to expose the audience to the use of automation and randomness for artistic purposes.

Melanie Anderson
BHA 2018, Japanese Studies and Art
The Turning of Tables

The Turning of Tables is a series of drawings that reworks famous Western art pieces in the Japanese ukiyo-e style. It incorporates personal experiences from travel in Japan.

Joshua Brown
BHA 2018, Technical Writing and Music Technology with a minor in Sound Design
Compōs-it Opera

Compōs-it Opera is an exploration into the process of opera-making in the new media age. Through hands-on inquiry of writing libretti, composing music and producing pieces, this project seeks to explore opera’s place in modern theatre practice. The project’s total span is five new operatic works written, composed or produced by Joshua Brown that premiered at two local new works festivals. Overall, Compōs-it Opera will be responsible for producing and developing over fifteen works of musical drama by its conclusion in May 2019.

Kevin Darr
BHA 2018, Logic & Computation and Music Technology
Applied Algorithms in Music

Applied Algorithms in Music is a collection of programs that analyze musical data and produce new music based on the input using algorithms from statistics and machine learning. These tools allow composers to extract the essential properties of the music they analyze.

Anthony Didonato
BHA 2018, Behavioral Economics, Policy & Organizations and Music Performance
Musical Mischief: Does Exposure to Music Affect Cognitive Reflection?

This project investigates the effect of music, acting through an affect channel, on a specific cognitive measure—the cognitive reflection task, which measures individuals’ capacity to override immediate gut selections when making decisions. Existing literature has tested subjects’ spatial reasoning performance during moderate affective arousal. Musical Mischief aims to extend this literature by investigating whether more extreme levels of arousal, induced by musical selections, impact cognitive reflection.

Spencer Dunnison
BHA 2018, Cognitive Neuroscience and Music Performance
An Exploration of Music’s Effect on Emotion and Pain: A Senior Recital

The voice recital is themed as my personal journey, with songs selected and organized to invoke an emotional connection in myself. The purpose is to explore whether performance of music is able to be used as a pain management tool for the performer, the same as listening is, and help manage my chronic pain. This recital attempts to bridge research and real-world applications of a non-pharmacological pain management tool.

David Gordon
BCSA 2018, Computer Science and Art
Infectious Overlay

Infectious Overlay is an augmented reality installation in which virtual wraiths infest the viewer’s immediate surroundings. The project explores the imminent encroachment of virtual entities into physical space, and the speed at which visual symbols can recondition human habit.

Aisha Han
BHA 2018, Economics and Musicology with an additional major in International Relations and Politics
Internal Exile: A Detailed Study on the Uyghurs and Chinese Governance in Xinjiang

A research paper, photo set and testimonials outline the successes and failures of Chinese socioeconomic and counterterrorist policies of Xinjiang in the context of the region’s historical, cultural and economic background. By setting an agenda of policy recommendations, this paper aims to portray alternative approaches in governing Xinjiang that align with the Chinese government’s systematic mandate but mitigates ethnic separatism and radicalization.

Russell Hawkins
BCSA 2018, Computer Science and Drama

Dramatech is a software suite made for disciplines within the drama field.

Ella Hepner
BHA 2018, Global Studies and Art with an additional major in Hispanic Studies
Your voice is not as beautiful over the phone y me siento vacía cuando despierto temprano, tranquila y fresca

This project takes the form of paintings and prints and draws from years of research on civil society in Cuba, as well as a personal take on estrangement and idealization caused by politics and institution. The work incorporates memory, fantasy and legal documents to discuss the presence of bureaucracy in relationships where the two parties hail from different countries.

Caroline Hermans
BS 2018, Electrical and Computer Engineering with an additional major in Engineering and Art and a minor in Media Design
Sending Love through Wearable Technology

Sending Love explores romantic wearable technology in the form of a pair of scarves. Partners communicate by touching a capacitive sensor embedded in their scarf, which signals the other partner’s scarf to warm up using a heating pad. These objects facilitate the wordless exchange of warmth, love and attention.

Jenna Houston
BHA 2018, Gender Studies and Art
Pass the Butter

Pass the Butter, an exhibition in the Ellis Gallery on CMU’s campus, queers suburban fantasy through personal imagery alongside addressing a lack of LGBTQIA+ neighborhood space in Pittsburgh. The exhibition included video, photo and installation art.

Zaria Howard
BHA 2018, Statistics & Machine Learning and Art
I am a black artist and machine learning engineer.

The Joy and Magic series is an exploration of black portraiture through the millennial lens. It is a reflection of the modern day black struggle of leading a thriving life under a system of oppression. These portraits expose a new facet of black culture frequently left out of mainstream representation.

Youhyun Jang
BHA 2018, Economics and Art
Stories Behind the Prices of Art Works

“How much is this painting?” or “How much would this painting cost?” Due to this high interest in artwork’s economical value, art auctions and art wealth management have been a huge hype amongst those who seek to earn economic benefits. This essay aims to examine this ongoing phenomenon and further analyze the importance of the economic value of artworks and the evolving relationship between artists and their public.

Amy Lin
BHA 2018, Psychology and Art

Expressive! is an art therapy activity book that uses the medium of art to facilitate expressive communication. This book aims to reduce stress and promote self-reflection by prompting different activities in which the user can participate.

Madeline Quasebarth
BHA 2017, Anthropology and Art
Gender Bias Education Zines

A project that examines gender bias on CMU’s campus through the interview of 20 undergraduate women. The aim of the project is to provide an educational format that opens dialogue and provides validity about gender issues. Through the use of the easy-to-read format of zines and photography, the aim is to create literature that makes people want to read.

Morgan Rolland
BHA 2018, Psychology and Art
The Unsolvable Problem

The Unsolvable Problem is a children’s book directed towards boys 5-7 years of age. Its aim is to teach boys how to better deal with emotions and support their friends through hard times. The book is meant to address how gendered socialization affects emotional intelligence in boys, often leaving them unequipped and without the social support to deal with emotional problems effectively.

Ruth Scherr
BSA 2018, Mathematical Sciences and Drama

Laborious is a text-based video game that explains and explores emotional labor’s impact on an individual as a method of examining how and whether we can teach complex concepts effectively through new mediums, as well as how to engender empathy and understanding in the player of a video game.

Valerie Senavsky
BSA 2018, Chemistry and Music Performance
Playfulness in Performance: The Intersection of Musical Meaning and Entertainment

This project searches for the balance between musical artistry, aesthetic pleasure and humorous entertainment through modifying a French horn with flames. The resulting performance reflects on experimental, improvisatory and contemporary music genres.

Olivia Smith
BHA 2017, Ethics, History & Public Policy and Art with a minor in Architecture
Considerations Regarding the Stephen Foster Statue in Oakland

The project takes the form of a policy recommendation in response to the question: should the City of Pittsburgh take steps to respond to the controversy surrounding the Stephen Foster statue? And if so, what is the most suitable course of action? While taking into consideration various arguments, the paper contends that racist artifacts have no place on public property in this city and provides an ethical basis for the relocation of the Stephen Foster statue to a museum.

Emily Stewart
BHA 2018, Global Studies and Musicology
Music, Movement and Mindfulness

Music, Movement and Mindfulness is conceived as an initiative to combat the pervasive stress culture at Carnegie Mellon through an exploration of mindfulness practices—specifically through the lens of music and movement. This project took the form of a series of four workshops, each focusing on a different aspect of music or movement. The four workshops include: Beginning Irish Dance, Tranquillo Music Spa, Exploring Music and Play, and an Open Dance Class from Infra Dance Company. In addition to these workshops, supplementary research was conducted on the history and social context of mindfulness and music therapy.

Sarah Stinson Hurwitz
BHA 2018, Gender Studies and Art
Trying to Remember the Ones I Never Knew: A Memorial to the Lives Lost at Pulse

Processing tragedy is an impossible and inevitable part of the human experience. This project uses iterative painting as a meditation on understanding grief while working toward commemoration.

Chantal Striepe
BHA 2018, East Asian Studies and Art

Untangling is a series of sculptures and paintings that focused on using line, form and space in order to portray a tangible representation of the artist’s mind and body while in a state of both mindfulness and awareness. By presenting a contingent quality, or spontaneity, of the human gesture, the artworks aimed to speak to the relationship between patterns in the artist’s thought process as they are translated through movement.

Gowri Sunder
BHA 2018, Psychology and Art
Rough and Tumble

Rough and Tumble is a series of paintings, drawings and digital collages that explores victimhood and subverts expectations of feminine passivity. It is inspired by spaces of performative displays of power and lived experiences of violence. The work explores the roles of aggressor, protector and victim using the glamor and vibrancy inspired by professional wrestling and comic book aesthetics. These paintings subvert traditions of hypermasculine and nationalistic power fantasy through iconography of the feminine, queer and other. From this language of absurdism and magical realism, these pieces transform historical and personal trauma into expressions of beauty and strength.

Colin Tait
BHA 2018, Ethics, History & Public Policy and Music Performance with a minor in Arabic Studies
The Transnational Diffusion of Peace Agreements: Northern Ireland’s Impact on the Accords Achieved in Colombia

Preceding research suggests that peace agreements between insurgent groups and governments are more likely to succeed if third parties become involved throughout the peace process and implementation period. However, the literature has overlooked the influence that some peace agreements have had on peace negotiations in other countries. This thesis traces the influence the 1998 Irish Good Friday Agreement had onto the 2016 Colombian Agreement. The “Irish Model” of peace shaped the outcome achieved in Colombia and has important consequences on how we understand conflict-resolution.

Theodore Teichman
BSA 2018, Neurobiology and Music Composition
Tree Hugger

Tree Hugger consists of a series of soft sculpture “parasites” that wrap around trees and transform tree self-regulatory processes and environmental air data into sound. This project dwells in the parallel processes of how humans/communities and trees/ecosystems cope with stressors in their environment. By making present the complex web of interactions and reactions that lie hidden within trees and whole ecosystems, this project hopes to strengthen the understanding of our ecosystems and reconsider humans as members of these natural systems rather than in opposition to them.

Spenser Tejada
BSA 2017, Chemistry and Music Performance
Elemental Instruments

This project utilizes the similar spatial structure of harmonic frequencies and atomic energy levels to generate timbres for elements on the periodic table. Each element has a specific way its electrons stack up energetically, and mathematically manipulating the electronic structure of different elements allows for the creation of different “instruments” by converting electron energies into sonic frequencies.

Katherine Tsai
BHA 2017, Psychology and Art with a minor in Animation and Special Effects
GIRL GANG Graphic Novel Pitch

A pitch for a graphic novel that explores the ways female identities and relationships can be represented in a narrative accessible to the mainstream public.

Charlotte-Alyss Weissglass
BCSA 2018, Computer Science and Art

Pride is a narrative video game chronicling a young trans woman’s coming-out story. The player is invited to take on the role of a high school trans woman as she navigates her parents, classmates, teachers and the pathways of her own mind. This project is the result of many thoughtful anonymous stories, which will be presented alongside the game.

Ran Weng
BCSA 2018, Computer Science and Art
Why Am I Like This?

Why Am I Like This? is an interactive visual novel/dating sim navigating the cultural identity of a young Asian-American woman during her transition into adulthood and growing disillusionment for herself and everything else.

Grace Wong
BHA 2018, Global Systems & Management and Art with an additional major in Human-Computer Interaction
Finding Tiananmen

Finding Tiananmen is a multimedia investigation on how the 1989 massacre continues to be remembered in America through the people and memories that still exist, first-hand interviews with exiles, photographs of Tiananmen memories, personal writings and resurfaced images from history. This serves to leverage art and media as an ongoing critical space for free and open communication.

Jiayin Xie
BCSA 2018, Computer Science and Music Performance
Is That a Clarinet?

This project explores creating a realistic MIDI-compatible clarinet synthesizer based on how instruments respond under normal conditions in order to make playback of new compositions more realistic.

Sun Young Ahn
BSA 2017, Mathematical Sciences and Architecture
Brainer!: A Brain Training Mobile Game for Children to Improve Concentration

Brainer! is a 2D children’s mobile game to train brain skills while enjoying playing. A few simple mini games, such as matching the same pictures, are included to stimulate different senses, like the sense of space, and level of concentration. The game is developed on a mobile platform with Unity for easy access. This project helps young people who wish to improve concentration for better educational achievement.

Amanda Branson
BHA 2017, Decision Science and Music Performance
BXA Student Showcase

The BXA Student Showcase is an interactive evening of creative work informed by our interdisciplinary study. The showcase includes a variety of live performances, video and multimedia works, poetry, 2D and 3D artwork, theatrical garments, digital games, robotics, and other inventive works. The goal of the showcase is to illuminate the diversity of BXA student work and demonstrate the way that our interdisciplinary education has affected our perspective and creativity.

Clare Burdeshaw
BHA 2017, English and Art with a minor in Business Administration
The Pilot Project

The Pilot Project is a 60-minute dramatic television pilot targeted at and about the college demographic. Alongside the screenplay, this project also contains the various supplementary documents a writer would include in a pitch to studio executives, which include: show logline, episode summary, season summary, series summary, character bios, episode breakdown, and a plot breakdown, amongst others.

Bonnie Chan
BHA 2017, Professional Writing and Art
Perceptions into Realities

The world is composed of different realities, realities that are subjective to everyone’s individual perceptions and experiences. This series of paintings represent what I perceive as reality. They portray moments from my everyday life in analytical but disoriented ways. They visually represent my constant confusion with how people and things interact.

John Choi
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Art
Fostering Interdisciplinary Learning with Robot Movie Actors

Humanoid robot movie actors star in a series of short films parodying famous movies along the likes of Harry Botter, Saving Private Robot, and Fortran Gump. The line between artist and engineer becomes so blurred that there is literally no distinction between producing creative art and building creative invention.

Diana Connolly
BHA 2017, Cognitive Neuroscience and Art
Symbols for Autism

This project is the creation of a symbol library for Temple Sinai, a local synagogue, to represent each of their Shabbat prayers. These symbols are shown during their sensory-friendly Shabbats on a large on-stage poster as well as personal sticker booklets. These visual supports help to engage those with sensory needs throughout the service. 

Erika Cox
BHA 2017, Ethics, History, & Public Policy and Architecture
Greening a Brownfield: A Comparative Analysis of Planning Mechanisms

As an emerging post-industrial society, cities face the challenging dilemma of how to re-purpose these sites. This project analyses several brownfield development projects constructed under differing sets of planning mechanisms. This project engages in a critical discourse by asking: How do cities engage in the processes of urban planning and zoning to ensure that development outcomes are successful in terms of building regional strength, strengthening local economies, and improving quality of life for its citizens?

Luca Damasco
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Art
The Wick Editor

The Wick Editor is a free online multimedia tool, which allows users to create anything from animations to video games by combining images, drawings and sounds with code snippets. The tool exists entirely on the web at with no need to download anything, and makes it easy to share work on the internet.

Guy De Bree
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Art
Measuring and Valuing Needs: A Hierarchical Approach to Happiness Economics

The project is an investigation into a new approach to measuring happiness based on the satisfaction of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a popular theory of human motivation. The measure intended to potentially replace Gross Domestic Product as a measure, but ultimately proved to be unsuccessful.

Erik Fredriksen
BSA 2017, Mathematical Sciences and Music Technology with a minor in Conducting
Subsist Live: A Study in Translating Electronic Composition to Ensemble Performance

This capstone project is the production of two works through composing electronic music, where electronic music is music primarily composed for synthesizers and digitally created or manipulated sounds. First is a performance consisting of newly composed electronic music with a small ensemble of musicians in a recital format. Second is a score of the songs and a written reference that describes in detail the notes performed on each instrument, such that other musicians could perform the works accurately without hearing a reference recording or additional direction from the composer. 

Andrea Gershuny
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Art
Hot Off the Forge: Accessible Innovation in Cosplay

This project is the creation of a glowing prop axe for cosplay that looks realistic both lit and unlit, while using the most accessible methods and materials possible.

Autumn Hill
BHA 2017, Professional Writing and Art
Pittsburgh and Fashion: A Promising Pair in the Making

This capstone project is an analysis of Pittsburgh as a fashion city, its relationship to major fashion capitals, and its potential to ever join their ranks.

Dante Horvath
BHA 2017, Linguistics and Music Performance
Folk Sounds: An Exploration of How Language and Music Interact

This project is an artistic experiment to paint an aural picture of how the way composers write music may be affected by the language in which it is written. The project involves two personally created conlangs (constructed languages), designed to mimic two opposite language structures. In collaboration with a School of Music composition student, poems written in these new languages are transformed into folk songs, which show off rhythmic and melodic content that is driven by the structure of the language itself.

Eileen Huang
BHA 2017, Japanese Studies and Design
Speculating the Future of Clothing and Its Relationship to the Wearer from Applied Concepts Found in Traditional Japanese Garments

Construction methods of traditional Japanese clothing (e.g., the kimono) are utilized in order to speculate upon how these garments can provide greater insight into the role modern clothing plays in relation to the consumer within the dominating world of today’s fast-fashion industry.

Alicia Iott
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Art
Memory Rooms

The project is an installation in which the viewer can watch objects and rooms remodeled from memory move through time around them. Memory Rooms explores the potential for virtual reality to both capture memories and fabricate reality as well as to portray domestic, feminine, and personal content.

Jerilyn James
BHA 2017, Psychology and Design
Men, Media, and Muscularity: The Impact of Male Objectification

This capstone project examines the impact of hyper-masculine images on men’s self-esteem, body image, and romantic relationships.

Justin Kelly
BHA 2017, Technical Writing and Music Performance
Movement Zero: A Preconcert Podcast

Movement Zero is a short, listen-before-you-go podcast that explores the story behind live concert programs. Movement Zero includes excerpts from the music on the concert interwoven with explanations of the music’s background, storyline, and technical features. 

Nat Kent
BHA 2017, Creative Writing and Art with a minor in Japanese Studies
Hero by Proxy: Queerness in Young Adult Literature

This project seeks to further queer progressiveness in young adult genre fiction, an area of media that tends to consider queer a genre that cannot overlap with fantasy or science fiction.

Janice Kim
BHA 2017, Global Systems & Management and Art

The rising popularity of Korean hip hop street fashion borrows heavily from its Western counterpart. The Hanbok, a once ubiquitous piece of traditional Korean clothing, has long since become an anachronism. YUCCI is a fusion of the Hanbok and present-day streetwear, a wearable series that appeals to modern hip hop fashion while also reviving an ever-fleeting Korean tradition.

Shoshana Klein
BHA 2017, Psychology and Music Performance
Evaluating Music Organizations with Regard to Effectiveness and Value to the Immediate and Greater Community

This project examines music-related organizations that affect the greater community, analyzing why they are effective, and what makes them interesting. This information will be used to help new or existing organizations have a framework to model themselves after.

Bronwyn Kuehler
BHA 2017, Professional Writing and Art
Steel City Sorcery: Investigating Pittsburgh Witchcraft

Pittsburgh is home to a startlingly large magick community—tucked away in pockets all over the city. This project explores the details and eccentricities of Pittsburgh’s many magick societies to discover how local people maintain and adapt fringe traditions. The research culminates in a video art piece depicting the labor and strangeness of crafting spells.

David Last
BSA 2017, Physics and Music Composition
Physics Music: Representing Analytical Approaches in New Musical Creations

Relatively little creative work to date has explicitly engaged the intersections of music composition and the principles of physics as a source of inspiration. This project rests in the conceptual space of music inspired by physics concepts and practices. The project consists of a recital featuring a newly composed work inspired by analytical problem solving. 

Michelle Ma
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Art with a minor in Animation and Special Effects
The Clinic

The Clinic
 is a virtual reality experience that allows users to explore a virtual space and investigate a macabre character with interactive, jiggling organs. The project is an investigation into the immersive capabilities of virtual reality through visuals, sound, and haptic touch, as well as an experience that allows laughter and play in an imagined reality.

Kabir Mantha
BSA 2017, Mathematical Sciences and Music Technology with a minor in Sound Design
The Operatic Manifesto

This capstone is a study of the practice of opera in an age of immersive, interactive, site-specific, and distributed digital media. The project culminates in a paper studying the translation of operatic works into mediated experiences, as well as a performance of an adaptation of Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle that serves as an example of this translation.

Mark Mendell
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Music Technology
Survey of Neural Network Audio Generation

Toward the end of 2016, generative neural networks like WaveNet and SampleRNN mimicked gibberish human speech and piano music after training on audio alone. This project uses these networks to generate a diverse set of sounds such as broken glass, restaurant noise, and animal cries.

Anna Menkis
BHA 2017, Linguistics and Music Performance
Orchestra Librarians: A Catalogue

All music that reaches the stands of orchestra musicians first goes through the orchestra library, where librarians carefully edit, mark, and maintain the parts. The tasks required of an orchestra librarian attract a wonderfully unique assortment of characters. This catalogue of librarians explores methods, attitudes, and personalities as they differ from librarian to librarian via stories, anecdotes, and examples from my recent trip visiting orchestra libraries. 

Seowon Oh
BHA 2017, Japanese Studies and Art
Steampunk, Fantasy, and Detectives?: Making a Mock Film Artbook

An artbook for a film is the product of numerous processes, and the collaboration of people working in different fields, but all related to the film. What kind of work goes into developing the concept art for the movie, and what kind of work is needed to make a physical book that contains such concept? This project is about not just the creative process of making concepts for a movie, but also the work on the production side and processes of commercializing artwork.

Miles Peyton
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Art
Looking Inside

In Looking Inside, four endoscopy simulators have been hijacked by an organism who uses the machines to explore its body. The work is shown in the Miller Gallery as a rear projection on a medical privacy screen.

Caroline Santilli
BHA 2017, Psychology and Art
Authenticity, Creativity, and Recovery: Enhancing Therapeutic Experiences for Young Artists

This project is a digital resource for art educators that focuses on students with neuro-developmental disabilities. The site draws on art therapy theories and concepts in order to maximize the student’s developmental potential. The educators can also find project ideas along with resources and related articles to enhance their teaching methods.

Keaton Shapiro
BHA 2017, Linguistics and Drama
Malefaction: A Reflection on Mediation and Abuse through Love Poems and Dance

How does distillation through different forms of media change and distill a story? This capstone studies the way abuse manifests in three classic Disney princess film stories compared to their original or most well-known written versions. The project inspired by these analyses is a written book of sonnets and a theatre performance of narrative improvised dance duet, to see if the multiple minds and media the stories go through change or distill them and if they retain their essence and remain recognizable regardless.

Christine Shen
BSA 2017, Mathematical Sciences and Art
Word Play

Language is more than syllables and phrases. It holds power; the power to define and confine. Language is about perception, thoughts, identity, voice, history, culture, power, and systems. Language is about the expansion into a world not yet known, a venture into a game not yet played. Word Play is a series of text paintings made in exploration of language.

Char Stiles
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Art with a minor in Media Design
Performing Coding

Performing Coding recontextualizes live coding as performance art. Live coding is where a programmer codes algorithmically generated music and/or visuals for an audience. Performing Coding subverts live coding, which is based on a reverence for technology and math, by reconfiguring it as just a tool in an expressive, person-centric performance. This manifests as a custom environment for live coding visuals using webcam feed and intergraded personalized code completion. This is taking what is strong and impactful about live coding, but through the addition of footage, it grounds the visualization, and creates a feedback loop, which accentuates the current performance, instead of dominating it.

Joan Sullivan
BHA 2017, Psychology and Art
Reflections of Home

Dappled light, pattern, a stain on a wall; some remembered sound of the clock, an appliance’s hum: these moments follow us through unfamiliar territory, influencing our interaction with and development of spaces. The way individuals build their environment is the focus of this capstone, culminating in a series of paintings.

Matthew Turnshek
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Music Technology
Poltr: Fast Online Polling

 is a website for fast strawpolls. While there are other similar websites, they are lacking in both functionality and design. Poltr seeks to fill that niche as the clear best of its kind.

Keith Yeung
BCSA 2017, Computer Science and Architecture
Keith Maverick.Com 2.0

This capstone project is a redevelopment of my current portfolio website. The new site is a webapp-based production and utilizes ReactJS for the Front-end and Python for the back-end to dynamically input personal data onto the site. The project incorporates ideas learned and developed since the first website, as well as many improvements such as scalability, responsiveness, user experience based on past feedbacks, dynamic data, and new technologies. The entire development can be followed on Github at

Nicole Yoon
BHA 2017, Professional Writing and Art
Young Girl: An Exploration through Paintings of the Young Girl as Object

Young Girl explores the manipulation of identity through the Internet. The project examines the calculative nature of social media platforms and how it gives individuals the power to curate their online presence to construct a different reality.

Catherine Zheng
BHA 2017, Global Systems & Management and Design with a minor in Chinese Studies
Lunar Gala 2017: Designing Experiences, Processes, and Systems

This project studies the Lunar Gala production as a type of experience design, where multi-discipline teams work together to curate, define, and produce a creative fashion showcase. It aims to take all persons interactions and repackage the production process as a curated experience and system design effort that connects to the outside world. It helps future producers have a holistic understanding of Lunar Gala, from perspectives of designing creative experiences, working through production processes, and considering the logistical systems behind an organization, a brand, and a show.

Emily Zhou
BHA 2017, Computer Science and Art with a minor in Animation and Special Effects
Silk and Stone: Merging Ancient China and Ancient Rome in 3D Game Environments Using Generative Scripts and 3D Sculpting

Silk and Stone
 is a 3D fantasy game containing environments inspired by the architecture, mythology and lifestyles of ancient China and ancient Rome. This project makes use of programmatic scripts to generate towering structures as well as 3D modeling to sculpt newly invented creatures. Ultimately, Silk and Stone encourages players to step into this virtual world and envision two distant locations as one natural entity.