1st Year Students
Alicia Blakey is a technology researcher, UI specialist and graphic designer; creating blueprints and methodologies for various projects in the field of communication and technology. Alicia started working in the digital field with major medical distributors in Canada such as Medicom. As an artist and graphic designer she has created posters for some major labels such as Barcardi. She has been featured in exhibitions for children’s programs such as the Hamilton Children’s Museum. 3D holographic technology has held a special interest for her and she began studying its capabilities as a communication tool. Her research interests envelope a possible theoretical contribution to the body of knowledge related to marketing and socially responsible change with a particular emphasis on holographic technology. She is extremely passionate about project research through immersive environments.
Amreen is a design thinking facilitator, human centered researcher and entrepreneur with a focus on using design as catalyst to drive collaborative and transformative solutions. Amreen has worked with diverse teams from Canada, Germany, South Asia and USA with a focus on technology start-ups, manufacturing and retail platforms. Amreen is driven by the need to understand a problem through a process-focused lens while maintaining the attitude of “creative play”. Apart from working with management and innovation teams, Amreen has also worked with students, educators, NGO’s and government institutions. Amreen also has an undergraduate degree in Finance from Boston University.
April De Zen
April started her career as a graphic designer, visual communication is part of who she is. She has experience in grocery retail design, in-store decor and marketing promotions. Her responsibilities ranged from the development of strong marketing strategies to managing the execution of deployment. April is a passionate person always willing to learn. Most of her experience is based in print graphics and she is eager to jump into the world of digital strategies.
Georgina Yeboah is an aspiring new media artist born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She specializes in VR/Tangible interaction design, HCI research and digital media development. In 2015 she graduated with a BFA in New Media at Ryerson University. Shortly after graduating, she started working as a research assistant at the Synaesthetic Media Lab under Dr.Ali Mazalek. For over three years Georgina has been designing, building and implementing VR/tangible systems to explore its effects on spatial ability in STEM learning practices. Georgina has also used her research and design skills for the lab's other projects such as the Participatory Campus Planning project (PCP): which focuses on efficient urban campus planning through interactive devices and the RE/TK project: a toolkit that makes multi-device communication simpler to program and prototype with. She has run workshops for project development with the game engine Unity along with tutorials on filming, scripting and editing for producing research documentation videos.
Georgina's interest lies in user presence, its involvement in interactive spaces/machines and the powerful and meaningful connections between the two. She also loves to draw, take photos and creates comics. Georgina mainly works with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create digital portraits, vector illustrations and posters. She is currently working on her second webcomic "Over 8 Miles" that can be found on Tapas or Wordpress.
Jingpo is an advertising art director and a profit driven designer. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree at Syracuse University in 2018. She and her copywriter, Emily, become first undergraduate university advertising students to win a Cannes Future Lion in 2018 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes. There were over 2,000 competition participants from 386 schools across 55 countries in 2018, but only five Future Lions are awarded worldwide each year. She also won Graphis New Talent Annual Gold Award in 2018. As an art director, she has the crazy idea; as a Digital Futures student in OCAD University, She wants to make it work.
Frank Ferrao has spent over two decades in kids television and educational games. He has worked in India, Hong Kong and now settled in Canada where he works for TVO designing games.During his time in Hong Kong he worked as a Project Officer for the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in a branch that bridged academia with the game Industry. He has also worked on animation shorts for Cartoon Network, Disney and commercials.Frank loves all things kids related and has pursued the Digital Futures (M.Des) graduate program to bridge the gap of learning code and future technologies by making it affordable and accessible.
Lauren Connell- Whitney
Maria Denise Yala is an artist, storyteller and designer. She has a BSc in Computer Science from Drexel University and finds herself drawn to creative computing and ‘code for good’ type projects. She likes to draw people with interesting faces and write stories about people in various states of imperfect humanity. She is curious about what is at the intersection of her interests in art, writing, and technology and how whatever it is, can be used to better disenfranchised communities. You can find her online @seyandmari
Muhammad Arsalan Akhtar
Nick is a Toronto-born design professional who has worked as a writer, marketer, game designer, director, producer, and activist. With a background in performance and critical analysis, Nick has made a career out of crafting lasting and meaningful experiences. He is fascinated by the mechanisms through which ideas propagate, especially in this information-driven digital world. Nick is a founding member and design lead of immersive theatre company Truesight Collective, and hosts his podcast Page of the Wind daily.
Olivia Prior is an interdisciplinary artist, software developer, and arts community organizer with an interest in creating interactive works that engage with the public. Olivia received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria where she focused on making interactive sculptures that responded to the audience’s proximity, touch, and sound. Her work has been shown in The Fifty Fifty Arts Collective, TEDX: Victoria, and Limbic Media. After her education she worked as a software developer on a team that produced enterprise software for the University of Victoria. During this time she volunteered in the arts community as a primary organizer for Integrate Arts Festival, a weekend long art crawl spanning all of the arts community in Victoria, British Columbia. Olivia draws upon her programming experience, sculptural practice, and love of engaging with communities to design new ways public art can better serve public spaces and their inhabitants.
Omid is a graduate from the University of Toronto, with a BASc in Electrical Engineering. During his undergrad, he got the chance to work on many different projects from "Auto-scheduling" Startup to designing an SLP Application. He is currently working on completing his SLP application with a team of creators. Apart from his studies, Omid always had a passion for photography and filmmaking. It was working in these fields that made him realized the need for a better method of communication between creators and their customers. His goal is to reduce the time creators spend on marketing and business plan development and allowing them to spend that extra time creating.
Peiheng is a designer, writer and curator. He graduated with a bachelor of visual and communication design at Hunan University, China in 2014. He has worked in the publishing company, magazine and contemporary art museum in Shanghai for the last several years. He is obsessed with Intercultural Communication, urban design, cyberpunk culture, information freedom under Authoritarianism and Matcha. In the next two years of OCADU, Peiheng is eager to explore the digital experience design on museum, and try to eliminate the barrier of art education for vulnerable group by digital technologies.
Tabitha has worked in the Animation industry for over a decade and has recently shifted her focus to teaching at the College level as well as the development of her own artistic projects. In 2011 she wrote and directed the short film “Missed Connection” as part of the National Film Board‘s Hothouse program for emerging filmmakers. Recently she has developed workshops and courses for Sheridan, MTM and U of T as well as redesigning the 2D Layout curriculum for Sheridan’s Animation BFA program. Tabitha’s creative work stems from the assumptions we make about strangers when we meet in public spaces and has evolved from an ongoing practice of drawing from life in urban settings. She currently maintains a web presence through her Instagram page @tabithadraws where the sketchbook becomes both a document of her experience and a product of her narrative imagination.
Tyson is a cross-disciplinary digital designer. He graduated with a Bachelor of Architectural Design at Carleton University in 2016. His award-winning 4th year studio work with Shawn Duke was published on the cover of the September 2016 issue of ARCHITECT magazine, the journal of the American Institute of Architects. Fascinated by digital computing technologies, Tyson regularly participates in game jams and collaborative digital projects and spent the last two years studying computer science at the University of Toronto. As a Digital Futures (M.Des) student, Tyson seeks to merge procedural creation paradigms with non-conventional applications to create design tools for physical and virtual environments
Veda Adnani is a digital designer and strategist, with an expertise in brand focused digital experiences. She graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore, with a BA in Design Communication and a major in Advertisement design. She has shaped impactful digital identities and experiences for some of the most influential brands in India, over the last six years. Veda is a WYSE Fellow (wyse-ngo.org) and has also been a core team member at the Bal Asha Trust - an institutional orphanage and adoption centre in India, where she focused on strategic fund-raising, operations, and design. Inspired by her past roles, Veda’s passion lies in harnessing the potential of emerging technologies such as Wearables, Augmented Reality, and Voice Led Interfaces, to promote inclusion, upliftment and empowerment for better futures around the world
2nd Year Students
Savaya Shinkaruk is a digital designer with a well-rounded portfolio in lifestyle and fashion communication work. After graduating honors with a Bachelor in Communications majoring in Journalism, Savaya went on to work for Dote Magazine, a Calgary lifestyle publication as a freelance website designer in addition to running her own styling business. After attending multiple Society News Design conferences and having a passion for lifestyle topics, Savaya is interested in enhancing the online shopping experience for the fashion and interior design industries. Imagine a 3D or holographic experience when creating your dream kitchen. With an in-depth experience digital background, Savaya is looking forward to the new challenges and new opportunities that OCAD University will teach her in the digital design world.
Sana (Roxolyana) Shepko
Sana (Roxolyana) Shepko is a graphic designer and artist from New York and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Graphic Design from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Sana has freelanced for music organizations, nonprofits, small businesses, and is the principal designer for the Women’s Bandura Ensemble of North America. She has worked with various web design companies, and most recently interned with Moonfarmer, a creative digital studio specializing in custom website design and development. She manages and plays as a violinist and vocalist in the Ukrainian folk band Korinya and plays bandura (a traditional Ukrainian instrument) in several ensembles. Her cultural heritage has had a deep impact on her understanding of the world and has shaped her approach to graphic design and art. She is passionate about inclusivity in design, and believes in building and designing a digital environment in which all perspectives and voices are heard.
Roxanne Henry has had a longtime fascination with human nature, drawing and portraiture, and technology, -through computer science. Now, she has chosen to combine her interests and focus on the intersection of both in the field of human-computer interaction. Her goals are to research and develop systems, both in 2D and 3D/VR, which are powerful and intuitive to all users, as well as work on impactful projects. She hopes to refine her skills in the Digital Futures program in order to accomplish these goals.
Roxanne is a multidisciplinary research-creator and designer from Montréal. Their bachelor at Concordia mixed Sciences of Religion and Communications studies, a unique outlook to follow up in their master program at OCAD. They started making games after completing Pixelles' Incubator, a women in game initiative, after which they joined Concordia’s TAG, Montreal’s biggest academic game research lab. Their research on the aesthetic of confusion was presented during Canadian Game Study Association conference and they were published in First Person Scholar. Now focusing on digital embodiment, they will look into and create video games as experiences, in relation to the feeling of sublime. Coming from a background in fashion and graphic design, they are furthermore interested in the aesthetics of procedurality and computational arts, having always been fascinated by the unique affordances of virtual worlds.
Dikla is a graduate of the photography and multimedia department of the Hadassah College, Israel, and the National Manga Center in Osaka, Japan. Dikla has over 20 years’ experience with online marketing and products, including; SAAS products as Product Manager, UX/UI, GUI and CRO in a Start-up environment. She is married, has a German shepherd named Lola, and on her free time, she enjoys CrossFit, yoga, cross-stitch, cooking and Manga sketching. Dikla volunteer’s at "Common Ground" -an organization established to promote gender equality through the Academy-Community Connection. She hopes that her studies at OCADU will provide the opportunity to explore her research interests and get to know new and inspiring people.
Kylie Caraway is a media designer specializing in illustration, animation, video game development, and virtual reality systems. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin. She recently relocated to Toronto where she continues to work as an animator and teach immersive game design at the University of Toronto Mississauga. During her time at OCAD University, Kylie plans to explore the use of interactive media technologies to make complex topics more accessible for general audiences. She is interested in furthering our understanding of recent scientific developments, the history of urbanization, community development, environmental protections, resource conservation, and government policy.
Yiyi Shao considers herself as a young and promising digital artist who is looking to promote Chinese culture as part of her proud heritage through merging traditional Chinese arts with current technology. Her initial forte was in oil painting and art modelling, however she ventured into graphic design during her stint as a student in the United Kingdom. She is interested in China's social and environmental problems, such as air pollution, a project she has worked on previously drew some attention from design societies in China. A bubbly and amicable character, she loves spending time with her Airedale Terrier and creating new dishes in her free time. Her current research intent is to venture into areas of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, while looking to improve her knowledge and skills of programming.
Jad Rabbaa is an emerging multimedia strategist, digital designer and editor. His interdisciplinary background is the combination of his passion for communication aesthetics and his interest in digital technology.
Jad’s exposure to different fields keeps expanding, spanning over three different continents, two majors and five languages. Over the past decade, he has worked for a wide array of clients around the world, ranging from TV channels to SMEs and even the public sector. Lately, he has been involved with the United Nations working as a UX designer and strategist at the peacekeeping mission UNIFIL. His experience covers interactive design through web and mobile, incorporating illustrations, animations and video to serve a seamless user experience and communication.
Jad’s research at the Masters of Digital Futures will focus on creating innovative digital experiences and visualizing data through multi-sensory and wearable technology.
David is a digital photographic artist residing in Toronto, with a special interest in macro photography. Following a career in Information Technology, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from York University in 2017. David has volunteered and mentored students at the Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part Time students. From the age of thirteen, David has enjoyed photographing people, places and things, as well as exploring other visual media. Influenced by his studies in visual art, particularly in digital photography, David became interested in exploring the visual process itself, including; various forms of human perception and how digital manipulation of visual data can modify or enhance our perceptions. Studying perception in this way may have an impact on urban, domestic, and industrial design and perhaps even accident and injury prevention.
Karo is interested in intimacy and relationships vs the internet and AI. His past work deals in net content, classical media, and robotically assisted works. His background of thought stems from Artificial Intelligence Research and Festivals. His intention for the future is to encourage people to explore and give to the world and people immediately around them via Augmented Reality and AI.
Feng Yuan, is a passionate multimedia designer who is devoted to creating eye-catching graphics, intuitive interactions, and innovative systems. She has worked as a UI+UX Designer for several years, starting from the concept up to the final result. With wide range of design background, such as web-design, creative computing, motion graphics, advertising, branding have equipped her with various skills to identify, analyze and solve design questions. Her ultimate goal is always to constantly create designs that truly help users.
Emilia is a Nicaraguan-Canadian content creator, maker and storyteller. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy and has experience working with community-based projects. Emilia was part of De Humo TV, a news outlet for youth in Nicaragua, focused on inspiring and informing Nicaraguan youth on human rights, democracy, active citizenship, sexual education, women’s health issues and gender equality. The show is a project by Kids News Network for Free Press Unlimited and is part of the Wadada News for Kids Network. The network is currently active in 20 countries, broadcasted in 12 languages and reaches over 100 million people. Emilia also lead the non-for-profit organization Movimiento Puente, with the purpose of developing and strengthening democracy, governability and human rights of young people in Nicaragua. Her work in these organizations have shown her the need, value and impact of art, technology and innovation as pillars for developing educational and social projects. She looks forward to exploring new fields and all the possibilities consciously designed technology may bring to society in the future.
Prior to joining the Digital Futures program, Tommy was a Production Coordinator at The Capture Lab, a motion capture studio at Electronic Arts Canada in Vancouver. He received BA (Hon) Photography from London College of Communication (UK) in 2012 and was an Associate Artist at Open School East, a free art school in London, UK that focuses on learning that is experimental and collaborative from 2013 to 2014. He has exhibited his projects at galleries and festivals both nationally and internationally such as Nanaimo Art Gallery (CAN), Peer Gallery (UK), Liverpool Biennale (UK) and Organhaus Art Space (CN).
Sean is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, with a BSc Hons in Product Design and Innovation. During his undergrad in his hometown of Glasgow, he worked on a wide range of projects that have all inspired him to further his education in this field. Some areas of expertise include visual communication, graphic design, and both physical and digital products and services. Since graduating, he has worked on a wide array of freelance projects, including branding and marketing design for a number of small-to-medium start-up companies. Sean is excited to return to his studies and approach his craft from a new angle while completing his Masters at OCAD.
Finlay Braithwaite is an emerging digital designer. Leveraging his passion and professional experience in audio production, Finlay endeavours to create a positionally aware microphone system. To achieve this, Finlay is actively engaging and exploring wearable technology, motion tracking, digital signal processing, and the principles of industrial design. Through his work, Finlay hopes to eke the benchmark of perceived quality of recorded audio higher.
Finlay's current and past practice focuses on sound production, design, and engineering for film, television, music, interactive, and installation. Recently, Finlay has focused on documentary film audio editorial & mixing. As Sound Supervisor, Finlay played a critical role in the Hugh Gibson's acclaimed documentary The Stairs, recipient of Canada's largest prize for the arts, the Toronto Film Critics Association award for Best Canadian Film.
Finlay also practices as a composer, musician, and performer. Most notably, Finlay was an anchor member of the experimental avant garde recording and performance group Gravity Wave.
In addition, Finlay has a passion for interactive installation art. His work has contributed to two successful Nuit Blanche installations in 2011 (Observer FX) and 2013 (Echo Chasm)
Finlay has taught as a contract lecturer since 2006 in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University. Finlay has taught at all levels in the sound production curriculum and has acted as a practicum thesis advisor for final year students. Finlay has become a leader in curriculum redevelopment, highlighted by his rebuild with Dr. Michael Murphy of the introductory sound course RTA104.
Finlay is a founding member of Victory Social Club, an interdisciplinary collaborative community in Toronto.
N. Maxwell Lander is a photographer, designer, game-maker and hedonist. His work often blurs the line between disgust and desire, and involves a lot of fake and real blood. He enjoys making things that engage with gender, kink, violence, and neon. In particular, his work critically engages with masculinity in ways that range from the subtle and playful to brutal and unnerving. He is part of the queer trash collective Only Dead Men and an active member of the feminist video game organization Dames Making Games. He is deeply interested in VR as a physically disruptive medium (plus it is f****** cool). He also enjoys making t-shirts that piss people off. Will take headshots for money.