Against the Grain

Soodeh Montazeri

Dr. Soodeh Montazeri is currently a research fellow and adjunct faculty at UofM, experienced in human-centered design, design with intent, and user-experience thinking and methodology. A native of Iran and an alumni of the Design Science PhD Program, she believes that good design brings out the best in people and induces positive social and pro-social changes.

Victor Strecher

Dr. Strecher has been a Professor of Public Health since 1995. With the University, Dr. Strecher founded HealthMedia Inc., an Ann Arbor-based company that develops tailored health interventions for millions of users. Currently, as Director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, Dr. Strecher is helping the University disseminate research in order to improve global health.


Nesha Haniff

Dr. Haniff’s work focuses on empowerment pedagogies of marginalized populations. She has developed several innovative educational modules on HIV/AIDS, violence and women’s reproductive health. Her work emphasizes intersectionality by highlighting the need to integrate race, gender, and sexual orientation in human rights advocacy.

Robert Alexander

Robert Alexander is a Sonification Specialist with the Solar Heliospheric Research Group at the University of Michigan, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Design Science program. He has constructed interfaces for sonifying data from sources including the human genome, real-time EEG data streams, weather patterns, celestial orbits, and binary-star systems.


Glenn Green & Scott Hollister

Glenn E. Green, MD. is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Otolaryngology with a clinical interest in complex airway reconstruction. Scott J. Hollister, PhD, is a Professor of Bioengineering, who has an interest in 3D-printed biomaterials for tissue reconstruction. Their work focuses on implementing new discoveries into clinical practice, improving results for patients with trauma and cancer defects, and clarifying the long-term uses of 3D-printing.

Michelle Aebersold

Dr. Aebersold is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Clinical Learning Center. Her career is focused on developing innovative educational techniques and technologies. Her research examines simulation including virtual reality simulation and its impact on skill development in nursing from the undergraduate to the post-licensure level.


Gary Hammer

Gary D. Hammer, M.D., Ph.D. serves as the Director of the Endocrine Oncology Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center at UM where he holds the Millie Schembechler Professorship in Adrenal Cancer. Under his leadership the Program has been uniquely recognized internationally for research and clinical excellence.

Jennifer Lee Johnson

Jennifer Lee Johnson is an advanced Ph.D. Candidate at the School of Natural Resources and Environment and a current graduate fellow in residence at the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan. Her dissertation retheorizes gender and sustainability in relation to the contemporary social life and history of working with fish in Uganda, where she has conducted fieldwork since 2007.


Alex Madda & Mary Naoum

Acting Out! formed through a partnership between two student organizations, Michigan Performance Outreach Workshop (MPOW) and Basements Arts. The group is dedicated to engaging Detroit students in educational performance art exercises. Alex Madda, a senior Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting major, is the Artistic Director. Mary Naoum, a senior Bachelor of Theatre Arts major, is the Troupe Manager.

Nancy Xiao

Prior to co-founding the Creators Co-op, Nancy has worked with nonprofit organizations such as Startup Weekend and the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship in addition to interning at two tech startups and the design firm Wolff Olins. A native of Seattle, she is currently a senior pursuing dual degrees in English and Business Administration, with a minor in Chinese.


Dominique Lee

Dominique D. Lee is the Founder and Executive Director of Building Responsible Intelligent Creative Kids (BRICK). After graduating from U of M, he served in Teach For America as an educator in Newark, NJ. He lead the formation of BRICK as an education management non-profit that transformed Avon Avenue, a persistently failing school, into the BRICK Avon Academy.

Bright Sheng

The MacArthur Fellow Bright Sheng was born in Shanghai, China. He is currently the Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor at University of Michigan. Since 2000, he has been studying and researching the music phenomenon of the Silk Road culture, and has served as the Artistic Advisor to Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project Inc.


Petra Bartosiewicz

Petra Bartosiewicz is a freelance writer living in New York City. Her forthcoming book, “The Best Terrorists We Could Find,” is an investigation of terrorism trials in the U.S. since 9/11. She is the recipient of a 2009 Alicia Patterson Fellowship. She got her start in journalism at The New York Observer and later attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Anne Curzan

Anne Curzan is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English at the University of Michigan. As an expert in the history of the English language, Curzan describes herself as a fount of random linguistic information about how English works and how it got to be that way. Anne blogs about language for The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Lingua Franca and appears every Sunday morning on Michigan Radio’s “That What They Say.”


Sekou Andrews

A schoolteacher turned national poetry slam champion, Sekou Andrews has become the world’s leading Poetic Voice - a cutting-edge category of speaking that combines strategic storytelling, inspirational speaking, and spoken word poetry to give voice to powerful messages. Sekou does more than inspire us with his story; he inspires us with our story.