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Brian Belak, Information Studies
Brian Belak is a first-year MLIS student specializing in media archives. His interests include orphan films, home movies, format obsolescence, and community archives, with emphasis on expansive access to preservation techniques and resources. Brian received his B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago and previously worked as Collections Manager at Chicago Film Archives and as a projectionist for Doc Films in Chicago
Yana Demeshko is an incoming Ph.D. student in the Department of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures. Her areas of interest include Russian literature, architecture, politics, history, and culture. She has specific expertise in the architecture of Russia and Europe, having studied different architectural styles and how they were utilized in urban design throughout history, and an interest in Los Angeles architecture, including works by Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Richard Neutra. Yana will be processing correspondence from the Richard and Dion Neutra papers. This unprocessed chunk of correspondence totals 14 linear feet and relates to various projects of Richard Neutra, some of which will never be built. Description will be integrated into the existing finding aid for the collection.
Kearra Amaya Gopee, Art Department
Kearra Amaya Gopee is a first-year MFA student in the Art Department with a concentration in Interdisciplinary Studio. Gopee is a multidisciplinary visual artist from Carapichaima, Trinidad and Tobago, based in Los Angeles, CA. Their research-based practice focuses on the nature of violence and erasure and the particularities of those that are inflicted on the Caribbean and its diaspora by the global north. Using lived experiences as a point of departure, they address themes of migration, intergenerational trauma, queerness, difference, and healing. Gopee brings a wealth of experience with Wikipedia communities, including work as a Regional Proxy for the Black Lunch Table, a Wikipedia driven initiative to increase the visibility of Black artists, and organizing with Wikimedians of the Caribbean to increase the visibility of and access to Caribbean interests. They will be working as the Wiki Scholar, contributing to an ongoing CFPRT project to integrate information about Special Collections holdings into Wikipedia articles with a focus on collections from Los Angeles communities.
Selina Portera, Information Studies
Reference Services Scholar
Selina Portera is a second-year MLIS student in the Department of Information Studies. She received her BA in Anthropology at UCLA via Moorpark College where she focused on Indigenous peoples, evolution, and artifacts. Her interests include equitable information access for marginalized communities, archiving her family’s Purépecha rituals, and Xicanisma.
Mary Senyonga, Department of Education
Centennial Wiki Scholar
Mary Senyonga is a doctoral candidate in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education division with a specialization in Race and Ethnic Studies within the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Her dissertation investigates how Black women and femmes both resist and heal as they attend what she calls Traditionally Oppressive Institutions. Her work employs Black feminism, Critical Race Theory, and Queer of Color Critique to surface liberatory possibilities in the face of marginalization.
Allison Yang, Master of Urban and Regional Planning
Allison Yang is a first-year graduate student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program with a BA in Urban Studies and a minor in Architecture. Before grad school, she interned at 10-19 Architecture where she became familiar with reading and handling drawings and blueprints. Her research focuses on issues of equity, particularly how urban planners can make housing and transportation more equitable for underrepresented communities. She has also conducted archival research around the Chinese community’s struggle against racism and colonial oppression in Los Angeles for the Southern California Library. Allison will be processing the architectural drawings (125 rolls and oversize portfolios) from the papers of Robert A. Kennard, an African American architect in Los Angeles who designed over 40 residences and later focused on public works, including the City of Carson City Hall and Community Center and LAPD Headquarters. Description will be integrated into the finding aid started by former CFPRT scholar Amy Zhou who processed the project binders, photographs, correspondence, and other collection documentation.