Meet the Inaugural Science Sandbox @ New Lab Fellows

Science Sandbox launches a fellowship at Brooklyn’s New Lab designed to develop new projects that connect science, technology and research to society

Photo by Spencer Lowell

Science Sandbox @ New Lab is a hybrid residency/incubator fellowship program housed at New Lab, a sprawling, multidisciplinary center for advanced technology located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The program enables scientists, researchers, technologists, journalists, artists and other creative innovators to work on unexpected and transformative projects that further the Science Sandbox mission to unlock scientific thinking in all people.

The fellowship provides space, resources and a community for nurturing, building and remixing inspired projects that build connections between emerging research and society.

Fellows spend three months working on projects in New Lab’s state-of-the-art space and product realization labs. As members of the invited “beta class,” the inaugural Science Sandbox @ New Lab fellows will actively help shape the new program.

New terms begin on June 1, 2017; September 1, 2017; and December 1, 2017. Applications for these terms are now open. Find more information about the program and how to apply here.

Here is the inaugural class of fellows for the current term, which began on March 1:


Amanda Schochet

Computational Ecologist

Amanda Schochet is a computational ecologist and the co-founder of Micro, a fleet of 6-foot-tall museums that introduce people to fundamental scientific principles in locations where they least expect to encounter them. Founded in 2016 by Schochet and Charles Philipp (also a Science Sandbox @ New Lab fellow), Micro brings together designers, scientists, storytellers and artists to squeeze the best parts of museums down into boxes that can go anywhere. Micro’s fleet introduces viewers to the core sciences, with a museum on a new topic released every six months. Its first museum, the Smallest Mollusk Museum, debuted in 2016 and is about to be released around New York City. The museum uses 15 exhibits, five screens, eight sculptures, three optical illusions, a giant hologram and a liter of slime to tell a story about natural selection and environmental systems spanning millions of years. Before launching Micro, Schochet worked with NASA and the Smithsonian Institution.

For Science Sandbox @ New Lab, Schochet and Philipp will develop the second museum in Micro’s fleet, the Perpetual Motion Museum. This museum will bring together the creative team from the Smallest Mollusk Museum to tell the story of humanity’s age-old struggle to harness and understand energy. Micro will also scale up distribution operations to install the Smallest Mollusk Museum in locations across New York City.


Campbell Watson

Atmospheric Scientist

Campbell Watson is a numerical weather prediction scientist for the Weather Company/IBM Research, where he helps build new models for environmental monitoring and remediation. He is also closely involved in developing IBM’s next step in automated weather forecasting. Watson earned a doctorate in atmospheric science from the University of Melbourne and completed his postdoctoral research at Yale University.

For Science Sandbox @ New Lab, Watson will install small rooftop weather stations at the New Lab and at the Ace Hotel in New York City. The weather stations will be integrated into the Weather Company’s IoT (Internet of Things) platform (via Weather Underground’s personal weather station network) to augment data provided by national meteorological agencies and improve weather forecasts. Watson will develop online tools for accessing, visualizing and manipulating the observed weather data, to convey the predictable and chaotic aspects of the atmosphere that surrounds us. He also hopes to develop a new work that demystifies the world of weather models, in collaboration with other Fellows.


Charles Philipp

Science Experience Designer

Charles Philipp is a producer and the co-founder of Micro, a fleet of 6-foot-tall museums that introduce people to fundamental scientific principles in locations where they least expect to encounter them. Founded in 2016 by Philipp and computational ecologist Amanda Schochet (also a Science Sandbox @ New Lab fellow), Micro brings together designers, scientists, storytellers and artists to squeeze the best parts of museums down into boxes that can go anywhere. (See Amanda Schochet’s summary above for details on this joint project.)


Ekene Ijeoma

Data Visual Designer

Ekene Ijeoma is an artist, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in design/architecture, and a member of NEW INC. He uses various mediums, including interactive media, to create socially conscious, data-driven artwork. Ijeoma’s work has been exhibited at galleries and museums including the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Neuberger Museum of Art, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Design Museum, and the Istanbul Design Biennial. He has presented at events and spaces including New Museum’s IdeasCity, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the International Center of Photography, the Neuberger Museum of Art, and Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum. Ijeoma has a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in interaction design from Domus Academy.

For Science Sandbox @ New Lab, Ijeoma plans to work on two projects: America Offline and “The New Greenbook.” America Offline (AØL) identifies, maps and profiles the people who don’t have an internet connection, about 15 percent of the U.S. population according to a 2015 Pew Research study, or about 47 million people, including one in five African-Americans and 18 percent of Hispanics. AØL focuses on cities, communities and their access to technology.

Inspired by the Green Book, a travel guide that helped black tourists avoid unsafe spaces during the Jim Crow era, “The New Greenbook” will focus on cities and community access through the lens of data science. It will also map areas where people of color are disproportionately affected by high incarceration rates.


Emilie Baltz

Multimedia Educator

Through her work as a food technologist, experience designer, multimedia artist and educator, Emilie Baltz inspires meaningful conversations about how, and why, we consume. She is an award-winning author and public speaker and one of the founding members of NEW INC, an arts and technology incubator hosted at the New Museum. She is also a founding faculty member of the Products of Design MFA program at the School of Visual Arts and the founder of the Food Design Studio at the Pratt Institute. Baltz is the author of the award-winning “L.O.V.E FOODBOOK,” as well as the nationally featured cookbook “Junk Foodie: 51 Delicious Recipes for the Lowbrow Gourmand.” She lectures and consults internationally on the transformative power of sensory experience in the lives of creators and consumers.

For Science Sandbox @ New Lab, Baltz will explore the science of human perception through the lens of sweetness. Combining research in the sensory sciences with interactive technology and, of course, food, she will create a “sweet shop” that reveals how the human senses affect (and construct) our perception of sweetness. The resulting multisensory buffet will serve up immersive sensory science education while also deconstructing one of the most desirable, dangerous and addictive flavors in our contemporary palate.


Jana Grcevich

Data Scientist, Astronomer

Jana Grcevich is a data scientist and astronomer whose academic work focuses on dwarf galaxies and interstellar gas. She has always had a strong interest in communicating science to the public and is the co-author of the forthcoming book “Vacation Guide to the Solar System.” She is working with the science experience organization Guerilla Science to develop a virtual-reality space vacation app. Recently she has become fascinated by natural language processing and other subfields of data science, with a particular emphasis on how they can be used artistically. She holds a doctorate in astronomy from Columbia University and completed her postdoctoral research at the American Museum of Natural History.

For Science Sandbox @ New Lab, Grcevich will create interactive visualizations of words and their interrelationships as represented in a person’s speech and writings. She will identify a diverse set of individuals, living and deceased, and use their publicly available writings in her models. Using natural language processing techniques, she will create a three-dimensional virtual world for each individual in which the distances between words represent how that person uses them. This word spacing will reveal both obvious and subtle associations between concepts and offer a window into each person’s mind. The word spaces can be explored by anyone through a web app or virtual-reality experience.


Luis Rodriguez Alcalde

3-D Printing Food Designer

Luis Rodriguez Alcalde is a 3-D food printing specialist, electrical engineer and maker. In 2012 he founded 3DigitalCooks, a studio that exists to create innovative food experiences through 3-D food printing. Rodriguez Alcalde develops recipes, printers, extrusion mechanisms and design tools, seeking to engage more people in the process of 3-D printing.

For Science Sandbox @ New Lab, Rodriguez Alcalde will explore new 3-D food printing design tools, with the goal of enabling anyone to create customized food items. He hopes to make food design tools as easy to use as a knife and fork and as easy to navigate as a menu in a restaurant. During the fellowship, Rodriguez Alcalde plans to engage with the diverse residents of New Lab and test several design approaches.


Samantha Cole

Science Journalist

Samantha Cole is a freelance science journalist. After cutting her teeth as a newspaper reporter, she moved on to magazines and digital publications; her work has been featured in Fast Company, PSFK and Popular Science, and on Vice’s Motherboard. She’s happiest feeling the warmth of a distant rocket launch on her face or singing the praises of extremely weird fish species.

As a Science Sandbox @ New Lab fellow, Cole is looking forward to collaborating with her fellow residents, learning from their work and seeking new ways to share their stories with the world. She believes that good science communication is more vital than ever, but that we can still have some fun with it.

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