Former Action Lab Staff:
Megan Brown was the first Director of the Liberal Arts Action Lab from 2017-2020. She completed her Ph.D. in geography at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she received a National Science Foundation dissertation grant for her study of mobility politics within the $15 wage movement. She earned a master’s degree in public policy from Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University. She brings extensive experience working with community and labor organizations in Baltimore and Seattle and also teaching experience in courses such as Urban Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Statistics and Data Analysis, and Social Justice and the City.
Emily Cummins is an urban ethnographer with specializations in post-industrial U.S. cities, infrastructure, and the intersections of health and urban space. Her work examines the processes of everyday resistance to urban austerity and revitalization plans that reconfigure historical forms of inequality and urban marginality. Her engaged ethnographic work informs her teaching and she encourages her students to learn about cities via conducting their own fieldwork in urban spaces. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Northeastern University. Previously, she taught at the University of Pittsburgh and in 2016-2018 was the inaugural Kelter Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Studies at Trinity College. She re-joins Trinity College as the director of the Liberal Arts Action lab and a Lecturer in Urban Studies.
Jack Dougherty served as the Action Lab’s first Faculty Director at Trinity College from 2017-2020, where he also is a professor of Educational Studies. He has worked with students and community partners to research Cities, Suburbs, and Schools, write a digital history book-in-progress titled On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs, and create a free textbook and online course about Data Visualization for All.
Ilya Ilyankou was a part-time Software Developer for the Action Lab. He completed a double major in computer science and studio arts as a member of the Class of 2018 at Trinity College.
Camilo Ruiz was the Post-Doctoral Fellow for the Liberal Arts Action Lab. He is an anthropologist with more than fifteen years of experience in ethnographic and anthropological work in urban contexts in Colombia and the United States. He uses the combined strengths of participatory action research (PAR), anthropology, public health, and the arts to better understand inequalities in urban communities. His dissertation addressed the effects of the new shapes of the HIV and opioids epidemics in Colombia taking as point of departure the experiences of two neglected populations: heterosexual men living with HIV and young men addicted to heroin. He has also conducted extensive research about the dynamics of Latinx communities settling in new growth communities in the US Midwest. His passion for PAR has transformed his teaching into one aligned with pedagogies accessible and attentive to community needs.
Weixi Zhang was a part-time Graphic Designer for the Action Lab. She completed a double major in studio arts and computer science as a member of the Class of 2018 at Trinity College.