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Staff & Board

Current Staff

Chris Duval, Director of Facilities and Operations

Determined to find an outlet for both his work experience and passion for creativity, Chris came to Artisan’s Asylum as an Awesomenaut volunteer in January 2019. He later served as Awesomenaut coordinator (a role that he continues to fill), and in July, assumed the role of Facilities Manager. He is a retired tech executive with extensive experience in product development, project management and manufacturing. He is also a trained and experienced multi-instrumentalist, who composes and records original music for documentary films and other multimedia work. Chris views the role of Facilities Manager as one where “the goal is to minimize the time between ideation and creation by maintaining an organized, efficient, well-maintained and safe workspace”. Yes, he actually has said that. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, shredding incandescent, mind-numbing riffs on electric guitar, and spending time with his family.

Phone: 617-284-6878 | Email: facilities@


Anukriti Kaushik, Education Coordinator

Anukriti Kaushik (b. 1998, India) is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Boston and New Delhi. Predominantly working with drawing, painting, sculpture, video, text and curatorial practices, their practice involves rendering the Queer, femme body to recontextualise it as sacred and sublime. Prior to joining the Asylum as Education Coordinator, Anukriti worked as a museum installer, gallery attendant and exhibition preparator at MassArt Art Museum (MAAM). Her responsibilities included assisting in the preparation of the following exhibits; Joanna Vasconcelos’ “The Valkyrie Mumbet,” “Ghost of a Dream’s Yesterday is Here,” and MAAM’s group exhibit “Game Changers.” In this role Anukriti was part of the core crew of preparators responsible for the gallery’s opening as well as communication between artists and lead curators. Anukriti has also assisted with the MassArt Auction as a gallery attendant and art handler; and she worked as a fundraiser for the Annual Fund department and the Justice, Equity and Transformation Department. Previous to that Anukriti interned at grassroots organizations Anhad and Sangat based in New Delhi as a research and design intern; she also worked at Pravah, an Indian NGO in New Delhi, as a democratic education intern teaching rudimentary subjects to students aged 10-16 years..

Phone: 617-284-6878 x 113 | Email: teach@


Elisha Rennert, Outreach Fellow

After getting her BA in psychology and studio art at the University of Vermont, Elisha moved to Boston where she provided clinical mental health services to struggling youth. All the while, Elisha was constantly drawing and creating in her spare time. This desire to work creatively and to support other artists brought her to Artisan’s Asylum, where Elisha is working to support and expand ongoing outreach efforts. Whether she’s making new connections at Artisans’ Asylum or hanging out with friends, Elisha loves to talk about, build upon, and make new art.

Email: outreach@


Alex Swaisgood, FabVille Lab Manager

Alex is a passionate and exploratory creator. Over the years he has developed a unique background in maker space management, youth program development, and freelance design and fabrication. Alex has been an instructor at the Asylum since 2019; his courses have included tool training on various lasers and 3D printers, jewelry making, introductory robotics and design thinking. Prior to joining the Asylum team, Alex has taught as a kindergarten teacher at a private school, served as a middle school paraeducator, and as an after school STEM instructor in Burlington, Vermont. An entrepreneur at heart, Alex has developed art and technology curricula and lesson plans, coached LEGO robotics teams, and started his own art and design fabrication business.

Email: fabville@


Lars Hasselblad Torres, Executive Director

Lars is an artist, writer, educator and entrepreneur with a passion for arts-driven economic development. Lars has created and led arts, coworking and maker spaces in Washington, DC and Vermont as well as the state’s Backpacker Guide to creativity. In the fall of 2017, with a grant from the Democracy Fund, Lars traveled 14,000 miles around the country interviewing Americans about the ways our democratic aspirations are represented in the arts.

Prior to joining the Artisan’s Asylum, Lars served as Director of Vermont’s Office of the Creative Economy, Innovation Prize Advisor to the US Agency for International Development, lead designer and head of MIT’s Global Challenge, and director of AmericaSpeaks’ Democracy Lab for innovation and research. Lars was a founding faculty member of the Booker T. Washington Public Charter School for Technical Arts in Washington, DC where he was recognized for excellence in learning design for his arts-based combined DC History and Urban Studies curriculum.

In his down time Lars is a collage and mixed media artist, producing work for theater, dance, and large-scale installation. He has been working over the last fifteen years to develop the Global Peace Tiles Project in partnership with communities around the world. An avid reader, walker of woods, and board game enthusiast, Lars serves on the board of AYWA International and is mentor for the Mentor Capital Network.

Email: ed@ | Book an appointment

 

Board of Directors

The Artisan’s Asylum volunteer Board of Directors is responsible for keeping Artisan’s Asylum fiscally and legally sound. The board, comprised of members and community leadership, provides strategic direction, governance and policy oversight, outreach and networking, and fundraising support to the Executive Director, staff and community.

More information on current directors and board activities available On Our Wiki.


Steve Derezinski (2019 to present)

Steve holds an S.B. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from MIT Sloan. Prior to MOxST, Steve was Founder and Director of Georgia Tech’s VentureLab. He was President of the MIT Alumni Club of Atlanta, and has served on MIT’s National Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is active in the Clean Energy community.

Steve is Co-founder of Metal Oxygen Separation Technologies, Inc. and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. A quintessential serial entrepreneur, Steve has formed eight companies from University IP that raised $43M in startup capital including $25M in venture investments form Silicon Valley, Boston and Atlanta Venture Capital firms. Over the years Steve’s ventures have been awarded and managed $23M in government contracts. He has helped launch over 80 startups which have cumulatively raised over $250M to date.

Nettrice Gaskins (2020 to present)

Dr. Nettrice R. Gaskins is an African American digital artist, academic, cultural critic and advocate of STEAM fields. In her work she explores “techno-vernacular creativity” and Afrofuturism.

Dr. Gaskins’ work explores how to generate art using algorithms in different ways, especially through coding. She also teaches, writes, “fabs” or makes, and does other things. She has taught multimedia, computational media, visual art, and even Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles with high school students who majored in the arts. She earned a BFA in Computer Graphics with Honors from Pratt Institute in 1992 and an MFA in Art and Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994. She received a doctorate in Digital Media from Georgia Tech in 2014. She has taught at the secondary and post-secondary levels in the Boston Public Schools and at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Currently, Dr. Gaskins is the assistant director of the Lesley STEAM Learning Lab at Lesley University. She will publish her first full-length book, Techno-Vernacular Creativity and Innovation through The MIT Press.


Scott N. Miller (2020 to present)

Scott N. Miller is the Managing Director of Dragon Ventures, where he focuses on helping hardware companies navigate the journey from prototype through production via Consulting, Advising and Angel Investing. Previously, Scott was the CEO and Co-Founder of Dragon Innovation, a company dedicated to helping hardware companies of all sizes scale from prototype through production.

Scott is a mechanical engineer by training, with extensive hands-on and leadership experience designing and manufacturing software controlled electro-mechanical systems. He began his career building robots, including biomimetic robotic tuna fish at MIT, undersea remotely operated vehicles at Deep Sea Systems, and full-size walking dinosaurs at Walt Disney Imagineering R&D. For more information: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottnmiller


Pamela Rosario, Director (2019 to present)

Pamela is an award-winning business leader in the areas of customer experience strategy, diversity & inclusion within the high tech industry. Her commitment to bridging the gap between the innovation economy and historically marginalized communities led her to launch initiatives such as the CyberWarrior Academy, Massachusetts’ first certified cybersecurity and machine learning apprenticeship for women, veterans, and people of color. This, together with her passion for real estate investing led her to found Rocena Real Estate Strategies, an investment firm that teaches Black and Latinx youth how to build wealth through real estate and offers scholarships to high school students looking to drive change in their communities.

Pamela’s accolades include: El Mundo’s 30 under 30 Most Influential Latino Leaders Award, Hubspot’s L4 Services Award, and Chica Project’s Mentor of the Year Award. Her unconventional upbringing and immigration story are covered in The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children by Harvard economist Ronald Ferguson and award-winning journalist Tatsha Robertson. Today, you can find Pamela having a blast traveling the world in her role as Rapid7’s Program Manager of Customer Experience Strategy.


Sapna Tyagi, Director (2019 to present)

Currently Sapna oversees product, engineering, and data functions at Virtudent; a series A funded startup headquartered in Boston. Their primary role oversees the design and manufacturing of our pop-up, mobile dental kit.

Sapna has held leadership positions in the Boston chapter of Women In Product; a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women in product management and advocating for equal representation. She is closely involved with Boston chapter of The Founder Institute; an American business incubator, entrepreneur training, and startup launch program that was founded in Palo Alto, California in 2009.

Sapna will lend their superpowers to help steer Artisan’s Asylum’s strategic direction.


Romaine Waite, Director (2019 to present)

Romaine loves community service and brainstorming solutions. In elementary school Romaine aspired to be an inventor, an engineer. He went on to earn a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. During his time in college he developed his understanding of the problems affecting underserved communities as well as the technologies and approaches most effective for addressing them. He has honed his skills in mechatronics, fabrication, programming, rapid prototyping, and product design to help better address these problems. In the years to come Romaine hopes to strengthen communities and push creative thresholds.

Romaine will lend their superpowers to help steer Artisan’s Asylum’s expansion into youth STEAM efforts.


Nicolas Warren (2019 to present)

Nicolas is a business and investment professional, bullish on impact investing and mission-driven social enterprises. Currently, Nicolas is a senior associate at Valencia RC, a commercial real estate finance firm, where he is responsible for analysis and management of transactions between $1-50 million.

Prior to Valencia, in 2016, Nicolas created the real estate investment partnership Warren Nicaragua and established a sustainable timber plantation in Nicaragua. Before his career in real estate and impact investing, Nicolas created the performance nutrition brand, Perfect Fuel Chocolate in 2011. He launched his line of products in 2012, raised $500K in 2014, and sold his business to the private equity company, Home Market Ventures, in 2016.

Prior to Perfect Fuel, Nicolas lead a new business vertical for the Google Ventures-funded mobile software startup, LevelUp. Early on, Nicolas started a software company directly out of college and won admission to the competitive venture-backed accelerator for software companies, DreamIt Ventures.

Nicolas will lend their superpowers to help steer Artisan’s Asylum’s evaluation of commercial real estate options.