Media Lab research assistants Prathima Muniyappa and Alexandra Rieger are among the 2024 cohort of MIT MAD Design Fellows. Supported by the MIT Morningside Academy for Design (MAD), the Design Fellowship is an opportunity for approximately 10 continuing MIT graduate students to engage in MAD’s activities and propose a research-oriented or personal design project throughout the academic year (nine months), while receiving full tuition support, a stipend, and health insurance.
Muniyappa is a PhD candidate in the Space Enabled research group. She is interested in addressing issues of social justice, democratic access for historically marginalized communities and enabling indigenous agency; her research investigates alternative cosmologies and cultural ontologies for their potential to contribute to emerging discourse on techno-imaginaries in the realm of space exploration, synthetic biology, and extended intelligence. As a MAD Fellow, she will explore the storied wisdom embedded in indigenous cosmologies for a decolonial, inclusive, and alternative orientation towards space exploration.
Rieger is a PhD candidate in the Opera of the Future research group. A cognitive neuroscientist, interdisciplinary designer, mechatronic engineer, multi-instrumentalist folk musician, and instructor, Rieger is dedicated to leveraging her multidisciplinary background to design medical interventions to support healthcare access for patients globally. As a MAD Fellow, she will implement her "MediMusical" designs as part of a study with stroke patients at Massachusetts General Hospital.