Meet the 2022 LEGO Papert Fellows


Helen Gao

Helen Gao

In 2017, the LEGO Foundation endowed the LEGO Papert Fellowship program in honor of Media Lab founding faculty member Seymour Papert. Each year, the Program in Media Arts and Sciences selects as fellows three graduate students whose work embodies Papert’s legacy of learning, creativity, and play empowered by new technologies. 

“Seymour Papert laid the foundation for the distinctive Media Lab approach to learning and education," says Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research, who worked closely with Papert for many years and leads the selection process for the LEGO Papert Fellows. "It’s exciting to announce three new LEGO Papert Fellows who will apply and extend Seymour’s innovative ideas.”

The new LEGO Papert Fellows will serve for the 2022-2023 academic year, and will travel to LEGO headquarters in Denmark during the fall semester to share ideas and collaborate on projects.

“We are so happy that the LEGO Foundation is supporting this remarkable group of fellows!" says Elisabeth McClure, Evidence Specialist at the LEGO Foundation. "I’m particularly excited about the work that Cecilé, Chelsi, and Yun are doing to support the inclusion of all children from all backgrounds in creative, playful learning experiences and communities. We are really looking forward to working together in the coming year.”

About the 2022 Fellows

Kyung Yun Choi (Tangible Media)

Kyung Yun Choi (goes by Yun) joined the Media Lab in fall 2017 and completed her MS in Media Arts and Sciences in June 2019. Now she is continuing her path for a PhD in HCI research. Prior to joining the Lab, she got a BS in Mechanical Engineering at Yonsei University, South Korea. After coming to the US, she got an MS in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and her work on developing a mechanism of low-cost myoelectric prosthetic hand was presented in IEEE ICRA'17 and featured in IEEE Spectrum. During her MS at the Media Lab, Yun presented one of her research works at ACM TEI '20 and received the FastCompany design award (honorable mention). She has been pursuing her passion for developing tangible interfaces that foster interpersonal connectedness and mental health. Her research proposes a concept of Tangible Telepresence, which creates a presence of someone in the real world over distance and time to shorten the users' psychological distance. To achieve her research goal, she is working on creating distributed and synchronous (or pseudo-synchronous) tangible interfaces—Tele-Tangibles—which provide three different interaction spaces; on the users' body (wearable); in their hands (graspable); as part of the environment (ambient). With her research focus on the haptic interface for mental support and social connectedness, she has been actively collaborating with ML member Hyundai Motor Company and the Affective Computing group. Other than research work, she contributes to the MIT community as a president of the MIT Korean Graduate Students Association.

Chelsi Cocking (Future Sketches)

Chelsi Cocking is a current research assistant in the Future Sketches group. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Chelsi is a Jamaican-American media artist, designer, and computer programmer. The foundation of her practice falls within using computing and media technologies for craft in art and design, particularly within the visual arts and the performing arts. The goal of her research and art is to use computing to aid and enhance human creativity and expression, empowering people with new ways to create and express themselves through computing—and also creating new ways in which people experience art, design, and performance in the world today through technology. More singularly, her work also explores the inherent possibilities of understanding the human body and motion through computing and utilizing that understanding to create updated and novel experiences within the computational arts and interaction design. A lover of creative minds and spaces, she thrives off of community and collaboration; she aims to create both through her work by notoriously collaborating with other artists, practitioners, experts in their fields, and ultimately friends on projects and works. This interdisciplinary nature means a wide variety of outputs in her work from artworks and exhibitions to digital and physical products, to new tools for creative expression, and other various forms of solutions. While her career is about her work as an artist, designer, and researcher, it is also equally, and more importantly, about working to move the needle across these industries and institutions by opening doors and opportunities for underrepresented minorities, women, and those from marginalized backgrounds to access and be a part of these fields and thrive within them.

Cecilé Sadler (Lifelong Kindergarten)


Cecilé Sadler

Cecilé Sadler is a current graduate student and research assistant in the Lifelong Kindergarten group. Her research focuses on investigating how students of color develop their self-perception and cultural identity through computing and creation. Cecilé is interested in exploring how technology can be designed to create authentic and transformative experiences for minority youth, so they can engage with their community through the development of new pathways and approaches to creative learning. This includes reimagining how computing can be taught in a way that provides voice and visibility to those with non-dominant identities. She believes there is value in intentionally creating spaces that allow these groups to not only survive, but also thrive by valuing them as experts of their own lived experiences. Prior to joining the Media Lab, Cecilé earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer engineering from North Carolina State University and Duke University respectively. The core of her personal and professional interests lies at the crossroads of computing and education, and she seeks to design tools for exploration that empower students to envision liberatory futures. A self-proclaimed big kid at heart, Cecilé continuously seeks out opportunities to engage with young people and aspires to create meaningful experiences through technology designed for and with students who have historically been excluded from the freedom of playful learning. Through her research, she hopes to fuse critical theory and computing education with the intent of achieving a more equitable future for students in these spaces. 

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