Innovation Scholars

Each academic year, a cohort of dedicated and creative students join us at the Ahmanson Lab as Innovation Scholars. Innovation Scholars work over the year with faculty, experts, artists, designers, and fellow students in one of our team-based Collaboratories. As part of their yearlong residence Innovation Scholars are also awarded $1000 stipend and given access to the Lab’s technology and space.

A call for applications is announced each summer. Let us know if you’d like to receive our next call.

Innovation Scholars: 2021-2022

headshot of katie chan
Media Arts + Practice

Katie Chan (she/her) is a multidisciplinary designer & creative technologist based in Los Angeles, CA/ Toronto, Canada. She focuses on creating imaginative and compelling work and building delightful products. She is currently a senior at the University of Southern California in the Media Arts + Practice program at the School of Cinematic Arts and has done work for Annenberg Innovation Lab, Generation She, and Toronto Star. She is also an avid foodie and aspiring polyglot (does Duolingo count?).

Headshot of jessica zhang
Geodesign & Computer Science

Zhang Yiyun is an undergraduate student majoring in Geodesign and minoring Computer Programming at USC. She is interested in history, linguistics, and computer science. She considers herself an adventurer and is always open to new knowledge and perspectives. During her free time, she enjoys calligraphy, photography, reading and writing novels. She is looking forward to diving deeper to connect urban history with data analysis tools in USC.

headshot of sherry gao
Compuer Science & East Asian Languages and Culture

Sherry is a Junior majoring in computer science and minoring in EALC. She is from Beijing, China and is very interested in the idea of documenting and presenting cultures with current technologies. In her free time, she likes reading, traveling, and going to escape rooms.

headshot of bo kim
Asian American Studies & Media Arts + Practice

Bo is a current sophomore double majoring in Asian American Studies and Media Arts + Practice and a cultural garment worker in LA Koreatown. They are especially interested in visual media, ethnic enclaves, and elderly, disabled, and working class populations within those areas and mutual aid.

headshot of ashley espinoza
Urban Studies and Planning & Landscape Architecture.

Ashley Espinosa was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, to Dominican parents. She now attends the University of Southern California, majoring in Urban Studies and Planning with a minor in Landscape Architecture. Ashley is specifically interested in sustainability and smart cities within the field of urban planning. After college, she hopes to help America obtain more affordable housing and eventually help developing nations develop their infrastructures to help produce an equitable society around the world. However, in her free time now, she enjoys reading Korean comics, watching Netflix, and listening to Albanian and Spanish music. 

headshot of uma chatterjee
Cinema and Media Studies & Documentary

Uma Chatterjee is a 21 year old photographer and filmmaker from Miami, Florida. She is specifically interested in documentary media, and specializes in analog photography. Most of her photographic work is observational in nature, dealing with themes of nostalgia and introspection. Apart from creating media projects, she enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, and watching cartoons with her friends.


headshot of will forker
Geodesign & Music Recording

Will Forker is currently a senior studying Geodesign with a minor in Music Recording here at USC. He is a lover of music, maps, architecture, and the technologies that allow us to create and analyze such things. When not doing schoolwork, one can find him at the student radio station, KXSC, of which he is a staff member and DJ! He is excited to utilize his skills in GIS (Geographic Information Systems), love of Los Angeles history, and certification as an FAA licensed drone pilot to dig deeper into what identities and stories existed within the now nearly-forgotten neighborhood of Bunker Hill.