About Our Team

 

Human Mind and Migration is an interdisciplinary AD&A Museum and impactmania internship in collaboration with the Neuroscience Research Institute, Department of Religious Studies, and global partners to deliver a suite of interviews, interactive presentations, and performances.

Our mission is to share the stories of the increasing number of people who are affected by climate, economic, and political migration—especially the untold stories about migrants’ everyday contributions to the cultural, social, and economic wealth of their new communities. We’d like to neutralize the term migration, have a global dialogue, and encourage solutions-based work that improves outcomes. 

Principals

  • Co-Director
  • Neuroscience Research Institute
  • UCSB

Dr. Kosik received his M.D. degree in 1976 from the Medical College of Pennsylvania and completed a neurology residency from Tufts New England Medical Center where he served as chief resident in 1979. From 1980 until 2005 he held various appointments at the Harvard Medical School where he became Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience in 1996. In the fall of 2004 he assumed the co-directorship of the Neuroscience Research Institute and the Harriman Chair in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of California Santa Barbara. 

Paksy Plackis-Cheng
  • Senior Fellow of Research and Media
  • Art Design & Architecture Museum
  • UCSB

Paksy, founder of impactmania, is the Senior Fellow Research and Media at Art, Design & Architecture Museum (UCSB). Paksy created and leads the AD&A Museum/impactmania internship program producing entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary learning experiences. Her work has been awarded with the U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy grant and cited in a number of international media outlets, universities, and the United Nations. Paksy spearheaded Human Mind and Migration to make research more accessible and solutions to societal issues more visible. Paksy graduated from the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

 

  • Chair
  • Department of Religious Studies
  • UCSB

Fabio Rambelli is professor of Japanese religions and International Shinto Foundation endowed chair in Shinto Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include Buddhist Materiality (2007), The Sea and the Sacred in Japan: Aspects of Maritime Religion (2018), and Spirits and Animism in Contemporary Japan (2019). He works at the intersection of philosophical discourses, material practices, and everyday life in premodern Japan.

  • Emeritus Professor
  • Art History and Architecture
  • Art Design & Architecture Museum
  • UCSB

Bruce Robertson (PhD Yale) is a specialist in American and British art, and the history of museums. Bruce is a Professor in the History of Art and Architecture Department, and Director of the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara. He has published books and catalogues across a very wide range of topics, from the 16th-century to the present, collaborating with many major museums on exhibitions. He has held numerous professional appointments and fellowships, including Vice President of the College Art Association.

 

  • Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies
  • UCSB

Ann Taves is Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at UCSB. She is currently working with collaborators on several projects including situating Religious Studies under the wider rubric of Worldview Studies, developing and testing a cross-cultural Inventory of Non-Ordinary Experiences, and co-authoring a primer on "explanation" for scholars of religion and other humanists. In relation to this project, she is particularly interested in how people’s sense of who they are and where they are going changes in the context of migration and resettlement.  

Interns

  • Graduate Contributor

Courtney Applewhite, MA/PhD student in religious studies at UCSB, studies death rituals and afterlife beliefs in the contemporary United States. She is currently doing ethnographic research that will compare the death practices of three institutions in Santa Barbara, California. 

 

  • Undergraduate Contributor

I'm interested in learning about the ethical implications digital nomads have on their influences on the perception of migrant hood.

I'm a philosophy major at the Univeristy of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and interested in the interdisciplinary approach of creating and answering questions on modern issues affecting our world today. Collaboration is a necessary skill that makes interdisciplinary research work. I believe that by working together we can combat single stories being told and tell a holistic story. What attracted me to this program was not only the questions of, how the human mind, migration, and media intersect with each other, I love being able to work with people from so many different disciplines to find solutions and tell their stories.

  • Undergraduate Contributor

When I first learned about “Human Mind and Migration” I was so excited to find something that combined both my scholastic interests— art history and brain science. As I learned more about the project, I began to appreciate the timeliness and wide reaching impact that this project will have. Everyday we are confronted with negative news about immigrants and refugees. However, this misrepresents the majority of immigrants who contribute much to our economy and culture. Immigrants bring with them many new things, such as food, music and new ideas and perspectives. So what makes people react negatively in some cases and positively in others? How are the brains of immigrants affected by their immigration? These are just a few of the questions I am excited to research for this project.

  • Undergraduate Contributor

I am an Art and Asian American Studies double major at UCSB. My research is centered around the experiences of overseas Filipino healthcare workers, and how they are personally impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I aim to specifically highlight the ways in which their transnational experiences inform how they navigate the professional sphere. In doing so, I hope to provide a platform for them to share their unique stories and struggles as a historically underrepresented community. 

Majors: Art and Asian American Studies 

 

Class Level: Sophomore/2nd year 

  • Undergraduate Contributor

I am a student at UCSB majoring in English and a copy editor at the Daily Nexus with a passion for preserving the arts and humanities in our community. Through the Human Mind and Migration project, I hope to help make accessible the individual experiences of migrants, provide education information, and showcase the positive creative output that results from migration. I feel that, now more than ever, humanity must at least attempt empathy and compassion if we are ever going to resolve global issues.

Major: English

Class level: Sophomore/2nd year

Denisse Gonzalez
  • Undergraduate Contributor

HMM Topic: Tracing the migratory movements and assimilation patterns of Chinese migrants in South Africa

Major: History and History of Art and Architecture: Emphasis in Museum Studies

Class level: Senior/4th year

  • Undergraduate Contributor

HMM role: Publicist and Content Manager

Major: Global Studies

Minors: Art History and Professional Writing

Class level: Senior / 4th year

Nicollette Juchum
  • Contributor

HMM Topic: The neurobiology of immigration, and the legality of immigration and political refugees.

Major: History and minor in History of Art

Class level: Graduated

  • Undergraduate Contributor

Working on the templates of social media posts

HMM Topics: Archiecture and Migration

Major: History of Art and Architecture

Minor: Educational Studies

Class Level: Senior/ 4th year

Lizbeth Martinez
  • Undergraduate Contributor

HMM Topic: Analyzing the East L.A. neighborhood of Boyle Heights and its history through its street murals

Major: CCS Biology

Class level: Junior/3rd year

Alex Moon
  • Contributor

Alex Moon is a recent alumna in Psychology and Edible Campus Program Coordinator here at UCSB. Originally from South Korea, Alex moved to Lancaster, CA at the age of 15 to the States. At Antelope Valley College, Alex experienced the hardships of being a first-generation college student and used this newfound interest in order to co-establish and coordinated a mentorship program to promote academic and overall success. Upon transferring to UCSB, his further exposure to mental health issues, cultural divisions, and food insecurity in college students is what ultimately resulted in his passion for helping to expand upon the campus’ network of gardens in order to help aid struggling students. Alex is exploring the migration of culture in global scope and would like to emphasize on the global phenomena that Korean pop culture is creating all in the United States.  

 
  • Undergraduate Contributor

HMM topic: I am interested in learning about the nature of digital nomads and how they experience migration in our modern technologically driven society. For the past decade, there has been a rapid rise in a multitude of online career opportunities; now more than ever, people are escaping to become ‘digital nomads’. These individuals notoriously earn a living by using telecommunications technology, primarily to freelance, to support their unconventionally migratory lifestyle. My research explores the migratory patterns and experiences of this subculture.

  • High School Student
Tess Reinhardt
  • Undergraduate Contributor

HMM Topic: Investigating the reshaping of refugee identity after resettlement in Berlin

Major: History of Art and Architecture

Class level: Sophomore/2nd year

  • Undergraduate Contributor

I am currently a second year student studying art history and environmental studies at UCSB. Originally from Minnesota, I was drawn to the school because of its forward-thinking and interdisciplinary environment. My interests lie in analyzing the multifaceted relationships between visual art, music, and the natural world. By working within impactmania and the Human Mind and Migration Project, I aspire to shed light on the experience of moving to a new place and its connection with the diverse, yet unifying properties of music. 

  • Undergraduate Contributor

Major: Biopshychology
Class level: Junior

Contributors

  • Web Services Manager
  • UCSB
  • Director Ruby City
  • former AD&A Museum Curator
  • Contributor
  • Contributor
  • Professor of Public Practice
  • Department of Art
  • UCSB