Fellowship Programs

Chipstone-CDMC Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

This summer the Center for Design and Material Culture will offer the 4th Annual Chipstone-CDMC Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in collaboration with the Chipstone Foundation. Fellowships through this program are for students studying in each of our three pillars: The Study of Textiles, Design Thinking, and Material Culture. Selected students will receive financial support of up to $2,000 to conduct independent research with a CDMC-affiliated mentor and have the opportunity to present their work in a CDMC research symposium in August.  All enrolled UW—Madison undergraduate students who study in one of the CDMC’s three pillars are eligible to apply.

To apply, please submit a document with the following information to cdmc@sohe.wisc.edu.

The deadline is Wednesday, March 1, 2023

  1. Name, school, major, graduation year (after May 2023)
  2. Your selected faculty mentor, who may be contacted as a reference
  3. A brief description (under 500 words) of the proposed research project
  4. A brief description of the outcomes or deliverables. What do you hope to accomplish?
  5. A rough budget and timeline (you may include your time, travel expenses, and research expenses)

Students will be selected based on the following criteria:

  1. The feasibility of the project
  2. The project’s connection to CDMC pillars and goals
  3. The support and recommendation of the faculty mentor

Selected students will commit to regular check-ins with their mentors and CDMC staff. They will present their work at a symposium in August and may be asked to participate in summer workshop events.

Interested students should reach out to CDMC Operations Manager, Laura Sims Peck (laura.peck@wisc.edu) with any questions.

Meet our Summer 2022 Undergraduate Fellows

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Sam Eklund

Degree Pursuing: Industrial and Systems Engineering Major
Department: College of Engineering
Advisor: Jennifer Angus, Audrey Rothermel Bascom Professor in Human Ecology & Sarah Anne Carter, Associate Professor in Design Studies

This summer, Sam will conduct research in Patan, Nepal (Kathmandu’s Old City) working with a high-end retail organization that partners with local artisans to design and create home decor and accessories. By involving local artisans in the process, this retail organization ensures that the rich, traditional craft culture of Nepal is respected and incorporated into beautiful modern designs. Sam’s research will focus specifically on the development and construction of a handmade lamp, complete with working hinges – the main design challenge he will be facing. Sam will work with the artisans in Nepal and use the Design Thinking process to understand production capabilities and find a solution for this product.

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Maia Rauh

Degree Pursuing: Textile and Fashion Design Major, Certificate in Studio Art with a 3D Concentration
Department: Design Studies, School of Human Ecology
Advisor: Marianne Fairbanks, Associate Professor in Design Studies & Sarah Anne Carter, Associate Professor in Design Studies

Maia’s research this summer is centered on the values and lessons of the WPA Handicraft Project through a series of hand-woven projects based on the work of Elsa Ulbricht, a Milwaukee-based art professor and founding member of the Milwaukee Handicraft Project. Ulbricht designed an inexpensive floor loom to be made by the WPA and was known for her creative use of found materials to weave, like surplus burlap bags. This offered accessible ways for women to learn to weave and create draperies, upholstery fabrics, table runners, rigs, and more. Maia will manipulate this floor loom design to push further the use of unconventional materials as weft, such as rope, foam, wire, and wood, and challenge what a functional textile can be through unconventional weaving techniques that speak to the ingenuity of the loom’s creation for the WPA.

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Abby Sharp

Degree Pursuing: BA in Textile Design (certificates in Material Culture and Gender and Women’s Studies)
Department: Design Studies Department, School of Human Ecology
Advisor: Sarah Anne Carter, Associate Professor in the Design Studies Department

Abby is traveling to Nepal this summer to intern with the Association for Craft Producers.

Through their internship and with the opportunities available to them while in Nepal, Abby will be critically engaging with and examining the relationship with Nepali artisans and Western consumers. Their focus is on gathering information on the Nepali artisans’ experience and the power dynamics involved with transnational craft commerce. Research will be centered on the craftsperson’s experience and how they engage with all parts of textile production. Through this research they will attend to reframe the textile trade dynamic and present a perspective often lost or distorted for their design studies colleagues when they return from their research.

Photograph of a person with short, curly brown hair wearing a black and white shirt. They are looking at the camera and pulling up their shirt collar.

Panagioti Tsiamis

Degree Pursuing: Art History Major (Certificates in Material Culture Studies and Textiles and Fashion Design)
Department: Department of Art History, College of Letters and Sciences
Advisors: Sarah Anne Carter, Associate Professor in Design Studies

Panagioti’s research brings him to the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum to study absence and loss with the context of museums and Greek History. He is analyzing the display methods of the Acropolis Museum and how they show Greek material culture that is present and what is missing due to looting and displacement in other countries around the world. This research examines the way in which this information is shared implicitly and explicitly and looks at the ways in which scholars and museums approach the presence of absence.

image of a person with hair tied back starting in front of a tiled wall that is lite and looks like gold

Joanna Wilson

Degree Pursuing: Art History PhD
Department: Department of Art History, College of Letters and Sciences
Advisors: Ann Smart Martin, Stanley and Polly Stone (Chipstone) Professor Emeritus of American Decorative Arts and Material Culture & Sarah Anne Carter, Associate Professor in Design Studies

The William Ramsay Project is a multi-year engagement with historical evidence of global trade, mercantile practice, and retail sales to re-imagine the material culture and business of colonial America. The core narrative of this project and Joanna’s research is that everyday purchases at a local retail store tell about American society and its place in global trade three centuries ago. It does so by reconstructing consumer actions of men and women— wealthy and poor, free and enslaved, in various ages and occupations—and detailing that behavior in terms accessible and inviting to scholars and the public. Joanna’s research is to find definitions, descriptions, analysis summaries, and images for objects from William Ramsay’s ledger and contribute to the project’s lengthy research on commerce in pre-revolutionary Alexandria, Virginia.


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Summer 2021 Fellows

Woman stands outdoors leaning on a building with a small smile and her arms crossed. She wears a bright red jacket.
Photograph by Naomi Foster.

Eden Foster

Degree Pursuing: BA in Political Science, Philosophy, and International Studies (certificates in French, Global Health, and African Studies)
Department: Political, Philosophy, and International Studies Departments, College of Letters and Science
Advisor: Lesley Sager, Faculty Associate in the Design Studies Department

“This research project highlights how design thinking has been used to create the Annual Rite of Passage (ARP) event to combat Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It also seeks to utilize design thinking skills to further the event’s impact by means of creating holistic health education “playbooks” for participants. With the partnership of Aniceta Kiriga and the Tharaka Women’s Welfare Program, we analyze how design thinking can be used to improve health and social outcomes while maintaining a culture-sensitive lens.”

Headshot portrait of Sarah Olk who smiles in front of a beige wall with a blue shirt, long brown hair, and glasses.
Image courtesy of Sarah Olk.

Sarah Olk

Degree Pursuing: BA History and Art History
Department: History and Art History Departments, College of Letters & Science
Advisor: Jill Casid, Professor in the Art History Department

“My research and fellowship with the Center of Design and Material Culture explores the material culture and graphic design of the music industry from the 1980s to the 1990s with the recordworks of the British synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys as my primary focus. I concentrate on Pet Shop Boys’ 1993 album Very alongside examples of their albums and singles leading up to and following its release. The major themes of interest I explore are how Pet Shop Boys both align with, counter, and innovate the design contexts and phases of the music industry in the 80s-90s; the significance of Very’s design and existence as a dual visual and auditory object; the progression of queer subtext into text in their work; and how the duo blurred the line between art and pop music in a commercial setting.”

headshot photo of Abby Sharp smiling and standing in front of a garden. They wear a black shirt and silver nose ring and have short hair.
Image by Milly Timm.

Abby Sharp

Degree Pursuing: BA in Textile Design (certificates in Material Culture and Gender and Women’s Studies)
Department: Design Studies Department, School of Human Ecology
Advisor: Sarah Anne Carter, Associate Professor in the Design Studies Department

“My research involves holistically examining quilts from the collection to gain a better perspective on textile archive practices. My work involves studying both the physical structure as well as the online database listings for several quilts, alongside reading quilt literature. Many of the collection’s quilts lack robust documentation, research, and exhibition; my research allows me to better understand the root of this problem and its possible solutions. I also found that looking closely at textiles without a predetermined goal is an effective research practice, and one that inherently works to solve the problems of archival under-documentation.”

Headshot photo of Sienna Simmons standing outdoors in front of pine trees. She wears a pink dress and smiles at the camera over her shoulder with her blonde/brown hair worn down.
Image courtesy of Sienna Simmons.

Sienna Simmons

Degree Pursuing: BS Interior Architecture (certificate in Design Strategy)
Department: Design Studies Department, School of Human Ecology
Advisors: Jung-hye Shin, Associate Professor in the Design Studies Department; Marina Moskowitz, Professor in the Design Studies Department

“My fellowship with the Center for Design and Material Culture focuses on further developing a new Bachelor of Design program that will potentially be offered in the School of Human Ecology. To do this, I conducted market research through the development of surveys and analysis of similar programs offered at other universities. My focus is developing a program structure that meets the needs of students, faculty, and future employers. More importantly, the new program would strongly emphasize the importance of design as a cross-functional skill that is becoming increasingly utilized across society.”

Summer 2020 Fellows

Circular Chinese textile
Doily. China. 1910-1929. HLATC# E.A.CH.0721. Gift from the Estate of Professor Helen Louise Allen. Photograph by Dakota Mace for the CDMC.

Zhaojie Zhong

Degree Pursuing: BA Art History and English
Department: Department of Art History, Department of English, College of Letters & Science
Advisor: Yuhang Li, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History

“The research for my fellowship focuses on the development and study of less explored items within the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. Building off of research conducted by graduate students, I concentrate on Premodern Chinese embroidered materials, including quotidian, theatrical, and ceremonial textiles used to adorn furniture and architectural spaces, and popular apparel and accessories. By the completion of the CDMC Textile Fellowship, not only will these items obtain a richer background and be fleshed out in terms of their motifs and techniques, but they will also be made even more accessible to all.”

headshot photograph of a smiling man with a pink T-shirt standing outdoors.
Image courtesy of Noah Mapes

Noah Mapes

Degree Pursuing: BA Art History, Certificate in Material Culture
Department: Department of Art History, College of Letters & Science
Advisor: Ann Smart Martin, Professor in the Department of Art History

“A Colonial Merchant: The Ledger of William Ramsay asks the question: “what can a 250-year-old merchant’s ledger tell us about consumers, their purchases, and their communities?” During my fellowship with the Center for Design and Material Culture, I will join Dr. Ann Smart Martin and her team of student researchers to continue the work completed by Dr. Martin for the exhibition American Enterprise, which opened in 2015 at the Smithsonian Museum of History. This research will explore the social, commercial, and economic influence of the Ramsay-Dixon store on colonial Alexandria, Virginia during the mid-18th century. Ramsay’s ledger, housed at the Smithsonian archives, reflects a global consumer market made tangible in the Ramsay-Dixon store. As this project enters a new phase, I will provide important research and instructions for producing customer profiles; thus, leading a human-centered approach to the study of this ledger and the objects described.”

headshot photograph of a smiling woman with an orange jacket standing outdoors.
Photograph courtesy of Nadia Tahir.

Nadia Tahir

Degree Pursuing: BS Interior Architecture
Department: Design Studies Department, School of Human Ecology
Advisor: Michelle Kwasny, Director of Masters of Science in Design + Innovation

“My fellowship with the Center for Design and Material Culture will focus on designing an online training module for UW-Madison students to learn the basics of design thinking in a convenient, condensed, and friendly way. This will begin by reviewing the previously published online training used in other programs across the country. While other training is a good starting point for learning design thinking, some of it is highly focused on getting innovation and engineering activities started on campus, a problem UW-Madison does not face (our campus is plentiful in innovation and engineering resources). The module resulting from my project will seek to combine the best of the available design thinking resources and experiences to create a training program that is better tailored to the specific needs of our campus student community.”