Co-Principals

Eugene Park

Eugene Park

Associate Professor of Graphic Design
Eugene has been a member of the College of Design’s graphic design faculty since 2013. His scholarship is primarily dedicated to understanding better how data visualization can serve as an extension of graphic design practice, as a creative form of inquiry that can be accessible to those outside of science and academia. In his classes, Eugene challenges his students to think of graphic design beyond industry trends and encourages form-driven experimentations and tinkering of code. Eugene’s creative work has been exhibited through AIGA Minnesota and the Weisman Art Museum and has gained recognition in PRINT magazine, HOW Design, and the Society of Typographic Arts.

Jessica-Rossi-Mastracci-old-headshot.jpeg

Jessica Rossi-Mastracci

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture
Jessica has been a member of the College of Design’s landscape architecture department since 2017. From 2010–2019, she gained professional experience in award-winning landscape architecture and urbanism firms, including TEN x TEN in Minneapolis, MN; Bionic Landscape in San Francisco, CA; TLS Landscape Architecture in Berkeley, CA; and West8 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Jessica is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architecture, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, and is a licensed landscape architect.

Staff

Alanna Nissen

Alanna Nissen

Kusske Design Initiative Coordinator
Alanna is an arts administrator and project manager with experience in a range of creative fields, including craft, design, and fine arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Grinnell College and a Master of Arts in liberal studies from the State University of New York. Her graduate research focused on gender and supernatural belief in late medieval and early modern England. Alanna joined the College of Design in 2021 as coordinator for the Kusske Design Initiative.

The KDI coordinator supports the overall Initiative and KDI participants; develops high-level planning, oversight, and implementation of events and activities; and manages all aspects of KDI operations. These include arranging an annual lecture and related events, collaborating with college and University colleagues to implement these events, contracting with external participants, managing collaborative processes for identifying and selecting faculty and student participants, ensuring integration of KDI participants and events with programs across the College of Design, and coordinating engagements with professional and civic communities.

Carol Strohecker

Carol Strohecker

Dean of the College of Design
Carol studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she received the Master of Science in visual studies and the PhD in media arts and sciences. She has published and presented widely on the development of environments in which people learn through creative processes. Her portfolio includes interaction designs in various media and collaborative work involving and generating computational tools and methods, which resulted in four US patents.

She brings a wealth of experience to the College of Design, having advanced transdisciplinary research, education, and creative work in academic, corporate, governmental, and nonprofit settings. Previously, Carol was vice provost for academic affairs at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the inaugural director of the University of North Carolina’s multicampus Center for Design Innovation (CDI). She has taught at CDI, Media Lab Europe (a partner of the MIT Media Lab), the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art).

Student Cohort

Torey Erin

Torey Erin

Landscape Architecture
KDI Research Assistant, Fall 2021–present

Torey is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and writer. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the University of Minnesota and is currently pursuing her Master of Landscape Architecture. Torey is the recipient of the Jo Tushie Endowed Fellowship, Minnesota Artist Initiative Grant, UMN Landscape Architecture Recruitment Fellowship, and Springboard Hinge Artist Residency. Her films, sculptures, and installations are centered around impermanence. Her work has been exhibited in multiple venues including Silverwood Park, Franconia Sculpture Park, Rosalux Gallery, Mirrorlab, FilmNorth, and Soo Visual Arts Center. As a KDI research assistant, Torey works with Co-Principal Jessica Rossi-Mastracci.

Noah Hertel

Noah Hertel

Product Design
Kusske Scholar 2021–2023

Noah Hertel has a deep-seated passion for the outdoors. Originally from Wisconsin, his childhood was spent camping with family at local state parks and drawing pictures inspired by nature. Now, in addition to studying product design, Noah shares his love for the natural world by guiding outdoor expeditions. In the summer of 2021, Noah interned at Bass Pro Shops, where he designed products with outdoor recreation, conservation, and sustainability in mind.

Valeria Lopez

Valeria Lopez

Graphic Design
KDI Research Assistant Spring 2021–present

Valeria is a graphic design PhD student at the College of Design. Her research interests and expertise lie at the intersection of art, design, and technology. Currently she is investigating the cultural effects and opportunities brought about by image-making techniques that use artificial intelligence. As a KDI research assistant, Valeria works with Co-Principal Eugene Park.

Aubrey Olson

Aubrey Olson

Landscape Architecture
KDI Teaching and Research Assistant Spring 2021–present

Aubrey just completed her second year of the Master of Landscape Architecture program. After double-majoring in biology and Chinese at St. Olaf College, she found a combinationof science and culture in landscape architecture, allowing her to further explore an interdisciplinary approach to the world. This past year, Aubrey was part of a S.O.I.L. (Student Objectives in Landscape) team who received the College of Design’s Environmental Action Team Award. She also received the Department of Landscape Architecture’s Student Academic Excellence Award. Aubrey has worked as both a teaching and research assistant with KDI Co-Principal Jessica Rossi-Mastracci on land-based interventions for climate change infrastructure.

Paith Philemon

Paith Philemon

Human Factors and Ergonomics
KDI Research Assistant, Fall 2021–present

As an MS Student in the Human Factors and Ergonomics program, Paith’s research interests are designing programming models and programming tools to make it easier for people to create the software they intended and applying these ideas to theory and implementation in the Wearable Technology Lab. Originally from South Sudan, Paith is a developer enthusiast, fueled by her passion to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to as many communities as she can reach. As a KDI research assistant, she works with Co-Principal Eugene Park.

Paige Tomfohrde

Paige Tomfohrde

Apparel Studies: Dress, History, and Culture
KDI Administrative Assistant Fall 2021–present

As a student in the College of Design’s Design Graduate Program, Paige conducts research around the intersection of sustainable design and equity issues. She aims to understand and reduce barriers between sustainable apparel behaviors and marginalized people, while increasing knowledge of critical theories and environmental justice. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota through the DOVE Fellowship program, Paige worked in the apparel design and graphic design industries for seven years, primarily in textile design and fashion trend research. Paige will be joining the KDI cohort in the fall of 2021.

Ashani Trinh

Ashani Trinh

Architecture
Kusske Fellow 2021–2023

Ashani received her Bachelor of Design in Architecture from the University of Minnesota in 2020 and is now pursuing her Master of Architecture. Prior to attending the University, Ashani received her associate’s degree from Century College, where she was a Dean’s List recipient. As an undergraduate in the College of Design, Ashani received the Women’s Club Scholarship (2018–2020). A first-generation college graduate, she is interested in residential architecture, sustainability, and regenerative design.

Angelica Valencia

Angelica Valencia

Interior Design
Kusske Scholar 2021–2023

Angelia was born in Colombia, moving to the United States in 1999. She earned a bachelor’s degree in international business in Colombia and worked in the corporate world for more than a decade before pursuing her studies in interior design. Angelica’s ambition is to join a multicultural international design firm where she can contribute to society and leave a signature of quality, commitment, creativity, and hard work.

KDI Alumni

Marla Brown — MLA ’21 (KDI Research Assistant, Spring 2021)
Cholong Kim — MFA, Graphic Design ’21 (KDI Research Assistant, Spring 2021)