Staff & Board

Current Staff

Sophie Adams, Member Services Director

Sophie (she/her) is a physical and digital artist who works at the intersection of art, technology, and science, with a particular love for astronomy. Her mediums include photography, wearable tech/art, embroidery, murals, textiles, graphic design and 2D animation. Her science-based pieces reflect her own curiosity, to spark questions in the viewer about the science behind the world we live in. As a queer woman, some of her work also explores questioning the roles gender, sexuality and sexual violence play in American society. And of course, sometimes she creates cool things just because they’re cool.

Though Adams is a North Shore native, she spent 5 years living in Colorado and graduated with a BS in Technology, Arts and Media from CU’s Engineering School in May of 2021. Previously, she served as an artist in residence within the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Astrophysical and Planetary Science Department, ran multiple creative projects at the Fiske Planetarium, and created/directed a Maker Camp focused on teaching coding, physical computing, and wearable technology to middle and high school students. Adams is passionate about inclusion for all abilities and has previous nonprofit experience leading CU’s Best Buddies chapter for 3 years, fostering friendships between students and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Boulder’s community. Outside of making, you’ll find Sophie fiddling, at a local brewery, barista-ing at Cafe Zing, or exploring a town up north.

Phone: 617-284-6878 x103 | Email: sophie.adams@artisansasylum.com

Kamal Ahmad, Facilities & Art Director

Kamal Ahmad is an artist, educator, and curator who lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a multidisciplinary visual artist who creates painting, sculpture, video, printmaking and design, and sometimes combines those mediums together. His recent work is more personal and psychological which is based on his past of witnessing wars and psychology of wars as well as religious and cultural identities among different ethnicity groups. The inspiration of his themes comes from his unique background, and it transfers and grows into new artistry forms along the time.

Kamal’s artwork has appeared at a number of galleries and museums such as MassMoCA, Boston Sculptors Gallery, MUSA Gallery, Piano Craft Gallery, etc. He has worked as an educator, art technician, designer, curator, coordinator and installer in many different organizations such as University of Sulaimani, BU, MassArt, MIT, PC Gallery, etc. Kamal has most recently worked as a curator and one of the directors of Piano Craft Gallery in Boston as well.

Kamal was born in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan. He received his first MFA from Boston University in 2016 and his second MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2019. He received his BFA from Sulaymaniyah University in Kurdistan in 2010.

Phone: 617-284-6878 x104 | Email: kamal.ahmad@artisansasylum.com

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). Their 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 they 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; they 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 x105 | Email: teach@artisansasylum.com

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.

Phone: 617-284-6878 x106 | Email: fabville@artisansasylum.com

Executive Director

We’re looking for our next executive director. In the meantime we’ll be hiring an interim executive director to get us through the months ahead. Could that be you? If you’re intrigued, view the full job description here.

 

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.

Ramesh Advani, Director (2019-2020; 2021 to present)

Ramesh is a senior finance and operations executive with experience in the non-profit , public and private sectors including financial services, high tech medical and materials manufacturing industries. As former Director, Federal Grants Management, he was responsible for operational and financial oversight of $3+ billion in grants received by MA. As a former VP of Finance with Fidelity Investments, he was instrumental in the start-up of Fidelity’s India operations. Ramesh has also held senior positions in the medical diagnostics manufacturing industry with Corning, Chiron, Novartis, and Bayer. His background is primarily in technology and social change with extensive experience in large program and project management. He became MA’s first Indian American Selectman from 2003-2009.

Ramesh is currently involved on a pro bono basis with SCORE Boston and Mass Challenge as a mentor and counselor to technology entrepreneurs focused on social impact, clean tech and other causes. He is also a Board member and financial oversight committee of Hearth, a Boston nonprofit dedicated to ending elder homelessness and a Board member of Artisan’s Asylum of Somerville. He holds a Masters in Int’l Business from the University of S. Carolina and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Oye Ajewole, Director (2021 to present)

Oyedotun (Oye) Ajewole is a Nigerian mechanical engineer, designer, creative, and educator based in the Boston Area. Inspired early by technology, Oye, went to earn his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University. Shortly after graduating, he was able to combine the principles of engineering with textiles, bridging the gap between both realms. From there he created his company centered around the intersection of technology and textiles. 

In addition to his design work, Oye is very passionate about bridging the gap between technology and underrepresented communities. This is something he realized during his time working as a professional engineer. Eager to make a change he began teaching classes and workshops around the principles of digital fabrication, additive manufacturing, and future technologies in textiles to students in the Boston area. The goal is to level the playing field by empowering underrepresented communities through sharing his knowledge and skills.

Tom Cole, Co-chair of the Board (2020 to present)

Tom is Vice President of Operations at Inkbit, a Boston-area 3D printing startup, where he focuses on building Inkbit’s printers and growing its internal manufacturing capabilities.  Tom has spent his career in manufacturing, entrepreneurship and global operations.  Prior to Inkbit, Tom was a co-founder of Atlantis Components, an early leader in the mass-customization of implantable medical devices.  Tom holds an S.B. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from MIT Sloan.

Tom is active in mentoring entrepreneurs through organizations like MIT’s delta v and the MIT Enterprise Forum.  He is the Chair of the Cole Scholarship where he helps high school students find funding for college.  When the water is warm enough, Tom volunteers at the Falmouth Department of Shellfish, helping to propagate bi-valves.  Finally, Tom has a life goal of creating something fun, beautiful and useful from his pile of random electronic components and his (limited) woodworking skills.  Ideas are welcomed!

Damien Dong, Director (2021 to present)

Damien Paul Dong is a working artist who, after nearly two decades of developing parallel careers in technology and the arts, pivoted to explore the intersection of the two.  As a creative technologist and experience designer, Damien builds immersive and interactive art installations by incorporating emerging mediums into his art such as projection mapping and addressable LED lighting.  His work has been featured throughout the Northeast at arts festivals, concert stages, community events, and in permanent architectural installations.

Prior to embarking on his journey in the arts, Damien developed software solutions by day.  He advised Fortune 500 clients as a consultant at Deloitte and managed IT project portfolios for the Germany-based Merck KGaA.  By night, he worked in Boston’s arts and entertainment industry, as an event producer, talent buyer, and venue developer.  His work earned the attention of local media including Boston 25 News, the Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald with the critical acclaim of a “Best of Boston” award from Boston Magazine and a “Top 100 Clubs” award by DJ Mag.  

Damien will lend their superpowers to help grow and support the community of technology-forward emerging artists at Artisan’s Asylum.  

Nettrice Gaskins, Director (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 Harris, Director (2021 to present)

Scott Harris spends his time mentoring startup companies and students as well as teaching and serving on boards. He is a Trustee and a Distinguished Partner in Engineering & Entrepreneurship at Olin College of Engineering (since 2010) and is a Mentor in Residence at WPI. 

In 1994 he co-founded SolidWorks Corp which quickly became a leader in the computer aided design industry. In 2012 he co-founded Onshape Inc which is leading the industry in full cloud implementation of CAD. At both companies Harris led the team which defined and developed products that improved workflow and design capabilities for millions of engineers. 

Prior to SolidWorks and Onshape, Harris led product definition and geometry development teams for 10 years at Computervision, an early pioneer in the CAD industry. Harris started his career at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, designing, analyzing and testing jet engine components. During that time he developed innovative new computer techniques to define and evaluate aerodynamic surfaces for jet engine nacelles.

Mr. Harris is committed to community service and helped establish Gasabo3D, a Rwandan based technology company which gives a career path for students graduating from schools such as  Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management. Harris also helped establish the Rwandan Innovation Endowment Fund, a UN sponsored program that promotes and funds entrepreneurs in that country.

Domestically, Harris is a board emeritus and active member of the Central Massachusetts Search & Rescue Team and chairman of the Science and Technology Council for the Discovery Museum in Acton, MA. He is also a member of the WPI Technology Advisory Network. Mr. Harris is also an advisor and investor in several technology startups around the Boston area.

Mr. Harris is a 2019 inductee to the WPI Hall of Luminaries, honoring individuals who have brought about extraordinary accomplishments to society and is the 2012 recipient of the Robert H. Goddard Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Mr. Harris holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from WPI and is an avid mountain biker, trail runner and mountain climber. His hobbies include digital and manual metal/woodworking.

Scott N. Miller, Secretary of the Board (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

Kat Nakaji, Director (2021 to present)

Kat Nakaji (they/them) is a maker with an extensive background working in theater and the arts. Kat is a champion for diversity and access, working to make sure all people are welcome and can participate.

Kat is the Production Technical Specialist at the ArtLab at Harvard University where they oversee operations and help artists access the resources they need to conduct artistic research. Kat earned a BFA in Theatre Design/Technology from Emerson College and an MLA in Management from the Harvard Extension School. In their master’s program, Kat focused on non-profit management and started working with non-profits around Boston to create strategic plans and develop organizational goals. In 2019, Kat was recognized as a member of the WBUR’s Artery 25 for their work in diversity and inclusion in theater and the arts. They continue this work with Design/Tech Mutual Aid, a mutual aid group working to support BIPOC students pursuing a degree in Design/Tech and move the theater and production industry one step closer to greater equity and inclusion. Outside of work, Kat has a passion for fiber arts, skateboarding, birding, and complicated board games.

Morgan Pierson, Director (2021 to present)

Morgan Pierson is Director of Development for Berkeley Investments, a Boston based real estate development and investment firm. In this role he oversees Berkeley’s team of project managers across the company’s development projects from due‑diligence through project completion. Prior to joining Berkeley, Morgan held positions at Greystar and The Mount Vernon company where he oversaw the permitting and development of commercial and housing projects as well as the redevelopment of The Revolution Hotel in Boston’s South End. Currently at Berkeley Morgan is overseeing the 1 million square foot redevelopment of 176 Lincoln Street adjacent to Artisan’s Asylum’s new home in Allston/Brighton. The mixed-use project will incorporate future retail space for A2, further expanding the organizations campus and footprint in the area. Morgan is a member of ULI and NAIOP and a longtime Boston resident. He holds a BA in Economics from George Washington University and an MSRED from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Art and entrepreneurship have long been a part of his life although less so in recent years and he hopes to be inspired by the incredible membership at Artisan’s while contributing to the organization’s bright and boundless future potential.

Preeti Tadikonda, Director (2022 to present)

Preeti Tadikonda is a senior financial executive with over 20 years of experience in Corporate Finance. She brings significant experience having worked in global business environments, optimizing financial management processes, enhancing business operations using KPIs and strategic planning.

Currently, Preeti is an independent Financial Consultant who works with startups and helps them through different stages of growth from financial and administrative needs to strategic planning, financial modeling and Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) activities. 

Previously, Preeti was a Controller at Virtify responsible for global financial operations in India and Philippines. Prior to Virtify, she was a Business Operations Manager at Progress Software managing data rollups and migration over several merger activities. She has also worked at Tufts Health Plan and C-Bridge and eXcelon analyzing financial statements and identifying potential risks and opportunities. Preeti has worked with customers in diverse industry sectors, such as, technology, biotech, pharmaceutical, healthcare, manufacturing, etc.

Preeti has an MBA in Finance from Bentley University. She is an active mentor at Founders Institute, Boston. In the past year, she has been a member of the finance committee at Artisan’s Asylum helping with financial projects. As a way of giving back to the local community, she is a volunteer at the Burlington Food pantry.

Preeti has always wished she was an artist. To pursue her passion for art she has tried painting for fun with mixed media, designed hand crafted jewelry, a bit of interior designing, calligraphy and metalworking. Her mornings start with, Daily Mini Crossword and Letter Boxed from New York Times and more recently she has been addicted to Wordle. She loves doing Jigsaw puzzles with her son and playing Bridge and Rummy with friends.

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.