Hasso Plattner Institute

Potsdam, Germany

Hasso Plattner Institute

Potsdam, Germany
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News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: www.techradar.com

Another day, another potential VR advancement ready to make the virtual world a more immersive, lifelike experience. Today it’s the turn of haptic feedback, with a research team at Germany’s Hasso Plattner Institute looking to make VR more immersive with the use of electrical muscle stimulation. While this might sound particularly unpleasant, it’s completely safe and allows users to feel virtual objects as if they were real when sticking out their hands in the virtual space. Although nuances still need to be worked out, the research team headed up by Dr. Patrick Baudisch has managed to allow VR headset wearers to feel heavy objects as if they were really there using controlled muscle responses in four different muscle groups. By triggering a reaction in the opposition muscles for a desired movement, it can create a sense of feeling and weight when paired with VR images. “As the shown user lifts a virtual cube, our system lets the user feel the weight and resistance of the cube,” a blog post surrounding the research explains. “The heavier the cube and the harder the user presses the cube, the stronger a counterforce the system generates.” Things are still in the early stages, however, so unless you’re happy carrying a box or interacting with a wall placed in the middle of your virtual environment, you’re going to be left wanting a little while longer. It’s also not yet the most seamless technology, with the necessary electronic slotted into a small backpack that must be worn alongside a traditional VR headset. That’s not where the body adorning electronics end either. The backpack is then connected to a range of sensors attached to the wearer’s arms in order to monitor and stimulate the muscles. Although currently wildly inconvenient, fiddly and no doubt ridiculously expensive, the possibilities for such technology are vast. To further the viability of the tech, the research team is currently testing its VR-friendly haptic systems in a pair of user studies.

News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

What happens when you walk into a wall in virtual reality? Nothing yet, but soon, your muscles could get shocked when you smack into a barrier, thanks to a new research project that aims to simulate walls and other objects in virtual reality. This expansion on the virtual reality (VR) experience uses electrical muscle stimulation to give users the sensation of hitting a wall or lifting a heavy object. The effect is created via haptic feedback, a type of tactile communication that uses forces or vibrations to re-create the sense of touch. A team of researchers from the Hasso Plattner Institute at the University of Potsdam in Germany created a wearable system that can shock different muscle groups throughout a person's body. In addition to a VR headset and tracking gloves, the researchers outfitted users with backpacks containing electrical muscle stimulators and a series of electrode patches that attach to the wearers' skin and produce the shocks. [Beyond Gaming: 10 Other Fascinating Uses for Virtual-Reality Tech] The researchers explained that the system can simulate interactions with different types of objects, including walls, shelves and projectiles. "Our system stimulates up to four different muscle groups," the research team wrote about the project on the Hasso Plattner Institute website. "Through combinations of these muscle groups, our system simulates a range of effects. When pushing a button mounted to a vertical surface, for example, the system actuates biceps and wrist." Their design uses brief pulses, about 200-300 miliseconds long, calibrated to the specific user's maximum intensity. Haptics can also be used to simulate the feeling of lifting a virtual object, the researchers said. In one test, the user reaches out to lift a virtual cube. To give the user the feeling of resistance (in this case, a solid shape that has weight), the opposition muscle groups are shocked. "When the user grabs the virtual cube, the user expects the cube's weight to create tension in the user's biceps and the cube's stiffness to create a tension in the user's pectoralis," the researchers wrote in a study published in the Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 6-11, 2017. "In order to create this sensation, the system actuates the respective opposition muscles. In order to put a load onto the user's biceps, it actuates the triceps, and in order to put a load onto the user's pectoralis, it actuates the user's shoulder muscle." If the cube is heavier, then the system can apply more electrical stimulation, the researchers said. So far, the system is limited to the upper body, but the researchers said that with additional research, it could be applied to a range of other muscles.

Lopes P.,Hasso Plattner Institute
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings | Year: 2016

In my research, I investigate how users might interact with devices smaller than mobile or wearable devices. I argue that to achieve the intended minimal form-factor such devices will leverage the user's body as an input and output device. Users will not interact with the device but instead will interact through one of their limbs, which they share with the computer as the interface. I present four research prototypes, all of which actuate the user's limbs by means of electrical muscle stimulation and are perceived through the user's proprioceptive senses. © 2016 Authors.

Friedrich T.,Hasso Plattner Institute
Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics, LIPIcs | Year: 2016

The node degrees of large real-world networks often follow a power-law distribution. Such scalefree networks can be social networks, internet topologies, the web graph, power grids, or many other networks from literally hundreds of domains. The talk will introduce several mathematical models of scale-free networks (e.g. preferential attachment graphs, Chung-Lu graphs, hyperbolic random graphs) and analyze some of their properties (e.g. diameter, average distance, clustering). We then present several algorithms and distributed processes on and for these network models (e.g. rumor spreading, load balancing, de-anonymization, embedding) and discuss a number of open problems. The talk assumes no prior knowledge about scale-free networks, distributed computing or hyperbolic geometry. © Tobias Friedrich.

News Article | October 27, 2016
Site: news.mit.edu

The School of Engineering will welcome 13 new faculty members to its departments, institutes, labs, and centers during the 2016-17 academic year. With research and teaching activities ranging from nuclear fusion to computational complexity theory, they are poised to make vast contributions to new directions across the school and to a range of labs and centers across the Institute. “We are pleased to welcome such a talented group of faculty to engineering at MIT this year,” says Ian A. Waitz, dean of the School of Engineering. “Every year we broaden the scope and the scale of what we can do, and of how we think about engineering. Our new faculty are often the ones who show us the way forward.” The new School of Engineering faculty members are: Adam Belay will join the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as an assistant professor in July 2017. He holds a PhD in computer science from Stanford University, where he was a member of the secure computer systems group and the multiscale architecture and systems team. Previously, he worked on storage virtualization at VMware Inc. and contributed substantial power-management code to the Linux Kernel project. Belay’s research area is operating systems and networking. Much of his work has focused on restructuring computer systems so that developers can more easily reach the full performance potential of hardware. He received a Stanford graduate fellowship, a VMware graduate fellowship, and an OSDI Jay Lepreau best paper award. Matteo Bucci will join the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) faculty as an assistant professor in the fall of 2016. He received his PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of Pisa in Italy in 2009. A research scientist in NSE since 2015, Bucci was previously at Commissariat à l’énergie atomique in France, where he led several research projects in experimental and computational thermal-hydraulics for light water reactors and sodium fast reactors. His research will focus in two main areas: heat transfer nanoengineering innovations to improve the safety and economic competitiveness of nuclear reactors, and advanced diagnostics and intelligent systems to improve situational awareness, fault detection and diagnostics, and anticipated failures in nuclear power plants. Bucci is an active member of the Consortium for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems, one of the MIT’s eight Low-Carbon Energy Centers. Tal Cohen will join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as an assistant professor in November 2016. After she received her PhD in aerospace engineering in 2013 from Technion University in Israel, she came to MIT for a two-year postdoctoral position in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She is currently a postdoc at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Cohen works in mechanics, especially the mechanics of structures subjected to extreme loading conditions and shock wave propagation. Her work on the mechanics of stretchable materials that can undergo extreme deformations up to loss of stability, and on the mechanics of growth in both biology and engineering, exploits analogies with related fields. By employing complex nonlinear material models, Cohen’s research group will focus on deriving theoretical models that can significantly affect our understanding of observed phenomena but are still simple enough to be applied in design or characterization of materials. Zachary Hartwig will join the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering in January 2017 as an assistant professor. He will also receive a co-appointment at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). He received his PhD from MIT in 2014 for the development of a novel accelerator-based technique that advanced the ability to study the dynamic interaction of confined plasmas and the surrounding solid materials — known as plasma-material interactions — in fusion devices. Since 2014, he has been a postdoc at the PSFC, continuing to develop diagnostic techniques for plasma-material interactions, leading the establishment of a new laboratory for accelerator-based nuclear science, and leading the design of high-magnetic field net energy gain fusion devices that leverage new superconducting magnet technology. Hartwig’s research will focus on the development and application of particle accelerators, radiation detectors, and computational radiation transport simulations to magnetic fusion energy, nuclear security, and radiation damage in nuclear materials. He presently holds a U.S. Department of Energy ORISE Fellowship in the fusion energy sciences and is the recipient of the Del Favero doctoral thesis prize. Ali Jadbabaie joined the MIT faculty as a full professor with dual appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society in July 2016. He is currently the JR East Professor of Engineering, the director of the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center, and the associate director of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT. He is also a principal investigator in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems. Jadbabaie received his BS from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, his MS in electrical and computer engineering from the University of New Mexico, and his PhD in control and dynamical systems from Caltech. After a year as a postdoc at Yale University, he joined the faculty at University of Pennsylvania in July 2002. At Penn he was named an associate professor with tenure in 2008, a full professor in 2011, and the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Network Science in 2013. He also held appointments in computer and information science and operations as well as information and decisions in the Wharton School of Business. Jadbabaie is the inaugural editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, an interdisciplinary journal sponsored by several IEEE societies. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Award, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. In 2015, he received the Vannevar Bush Fellowship (formerly known as National Security Science and an Engineering Faculty Fellowship) from the office of Secretary of Defense. Jadbabaie’s students have won and been finalists of numerous best paper awards at various ACC and CDC conferences. He is also an IEEE fellow. He has made foundational contributions to the field of collective autonomy and opinion dynamics, and his current research interests include the interplay of dynamic systems and networks with specific emphasis on multi-agent coordination and control, distributed optimization, network science, and network economics. Carmen Guerra-Garcia will join the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics as an assistant professor in the fall of 2017. Graduating from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid with an aeronautical engineering degree in 2007, Guerra-Garcia then matriculated in the Space Propulsion Laboratory at MIT. She completed her PhD with a concentration in plasma physics and propulsion and a minor in numerical methods in 2014. Following a one-year postdoctoral position with Professor Paulo Lozano, Guerra-Garcia relocated to Boeing Madrid for a year. Her research will focus on the study of plasmas for aerospace applications, including plasma-assisted combustion, space propulsion, and lightning strikes on aircraft. Stefanie Mueller will join the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as an assistant professor in January 2017. She received her PhD in human-computer interaction (HCI) from the Hasso Plattner Institute in 2016, where she also received an MS in IT-systems engineering. In her research, Mueller develops novel interactive hardware and software systems that advance personal fabrication technologies. Her work has been published at the most selective HCI venues — Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Conference for Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), and User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) — and received a best paper award and two best-paper nominees. Mueller is an associate chair of the program committees at ACM, CHI, and UIST, and is a general co-chair for the ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Computational Fabrication that will take place at MIT in June 2017. She has been an invited speaker at MIT, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Microsoft Research, Disney Research, Adobe Research, and others. In addition, her work has been covered widely in New Scientist, BBC, The Atlantic, and The Guardian. Mueller will head the HCI engineering group at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, which works at the intersection of human-computer interaction, computer graphics, computer vision, and robotics. Jennifer Rupp will join the Department of Materials Science and Engineering as an assistant professor in January 2017. She studied at the University of Vienna before receiving a PhD in Materials at ETH Zurich. Rupp is a French and German native and is currently an assistant professor of electrochemical materials at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. She was a researcher at the National Institute of Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, in 2011, and previously collaborated with MIT professors Tuller and Yildiz. Her research is primarily in solid-state information memory systems, energy storage, and energy harvesting devices. She has worked on new material architectures and ionic transport-structure relations for solid-state ionic conductor thin films, electrochemistry and system aspects for memristors, solid-state batteries, solar-to-fuel conversion, and micro-fuel cells. Rupp’s awards include “top 40 scientist speaker under the age of 40” at the World Economic Forum, Spark Award for most innovative and economic invention by ETH Zurich, and Kepler Award for New Energy Materials by the European Academy of Science. Max Shulaker joined the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as an assistant professor in July. He received his BS, master’s, and PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford, where he was a Fannie and John Hertz Fellow and a Stanford Graduate Fellow. Shulaker’s research focuses on the broad area of nanosystems. His Novel Electronic Systems Group aims to understand and optimize multidisciplinary interactions across the entire computing stack — from low-level synthesis of nanomaterials, to fabrication processes and circuit design for emerging nanotechnologies, up to new architectures — to enable the next generation of high performance and energy-efficient computing systems. Zachary P. Smith will join the Department of Chemical Engineering as an assistant professor in January, 2017. Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State’s Schreyer Honors College, and completed his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked under the guidance of Benny Freeman and Don Paul. While at UT Austin, Smith developed structure/property relationships for gas diffusion and sorption in polymer membranes. His postdoctoral training with Jeffrey Long at the UC Berkeley examined the design of coordination solid (i.e. metal-organic frameworks) for selective adsorption based separations. His research focuses on the molecular-level design, synthesis, and characterization of polymers and inorganic materials for applications in membrane and adsorption-based separations. These efforts are promising for gas-phase separations critical to the energy industry and to the environment, such as the purification of olefins and the capture of CO from flue stacks at coal-fired power plants. Smith has co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed papers and been recognized with several awards, including the DoE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship. He was also selected as a U.S. delegate to the Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting on Chemistry in 2013. David Sontag will join the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in January 2017 as an assistant professor, and he will be part of the Institute for Medical Engineering (IMES) and Science and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He has been an assistant professor in computer science and data science at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences since 2011. Previously, he was a postdoc at Microsoft Research New England. Sontag’s research interests are in machine learning and artificial intelligence with a recent focus on unsupervised learning, a problem of discovering hidden variables from data, and causal inference, which seeks to estimate the effect of interventions from observational data. As part of IMES, he will lead a research group that aims to transform health care through the use of machine learning. Sontag received the Sprowls award for his PhD thesis at MIT in 2010, best paper awards at the conferences EMNLP, UAI, and NIPS, and a National Science Foundation Early Career award in 2014. Ryan Williams will join MIT as an associate professor (with tenure) in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in January 2017, pending the approval of his tenure case by the Executive Committee. He received an BA in computer science and mathematics from Cornell, and a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon. Following postdoctoral appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) and IBM Almaden, he was an assistant professor of computer science at Stanford for five years. Williams’s research interests are in the theoretical design and analysis of efficient algorithms and in computational complexity theory, focusing mainly on new connections (and consequences) forged between algorithm design and logical circuit complexity. Along with some best paper awards, Williams has received a Sloan Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award, a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, and was an invited speaker at the 2014 International Congress of Mathematicians. Virginia Vassilevska Williams will join electrical engineering and computer science as an associate professor in January 2017, pending the approval of her case by Academic Council. She received a BS in mathematics and engineering and applied science from Caltech and a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), UC Berkeley, and Stanford. Prior to joining MIT, she spent three and a half years as an assistant professor at Stanford. Her research interests are broadly in theoretical computer science, focusing on the design and analysis of algorithms and fine-grained complexity. Her work on matrix multiplication algorithms was covered by the press and is the most cited paper in algorithms and complexity in the last five years.

Holz C.,Hasso Plattner Institute | Baudisch P.,Hasso Plattner Institute
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings | Year: 2010

It is generally assumed that touch input cannot be accurate because of the fat finger problem, i.e., the softness of the fingertip combined with the occlusion of the target by the finger. In this paper, we show that this is not the case. We base our argument on a new model of touch inaccuracy. Our model is not based on the fat finger problem, but on the perceived input point model. In its published form, this model states that touch screens report touch location at an offset from the intended target. We generalize this model so that it represents offsets for individual finger postures and users. We thereby switch from the traditional 2D model of touch to a model that considers touch a phenomenon in 3-space. We report a user study, in which the generalized model explained 67% of the touch inaccuracy that was previously attributed to the fat finger problem. In the second half of this paper, we present two devices that exploit the new model in order to improve touch accuracy. Both model touch on per-posture and per-user basis in order to increase accuracy by applying respective offsets. Our RidgePad prototype extracts posture and user ID from the user's fingerprint during each touch interaction. In a user study, it achieved 1.8 times higher accuracy than a simulated capacitive baseline condition. A prototype based on optical tracking achieved even 3.3 times higher accuracy. The increase in accuracy can be used to make touch interfaces more reliable, to pack up to 3.32 > 10 times more controls into the same surface, or to bring touch input to very small mobile devices. © 2010 ACM.

Kyprianidis J.E.,Hasso Plattner Institute
NPAR Symposium on Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering | Year: 2011

The anisotropic Kuwahara filter is an edge-preserving filter that is especially useful for creating stylized abstractions from images or videos. It is based on a generalization of the Kuwahara filter that is adapted to the local structure of image features. In this work, two limitations of the anisotropic Kuwahara filter are addressed. First, it is shown that by adding thresholding to the weighting term computation of the sectors, artifacts are avoided and smooth results in noise-corrupted regions are achieved. Second, a multi-scale computation scheme is proposed that simultaneously propagates local orientation estimates and filtering results up a low-pass filtered pyramid. This allows for a strong abstraction effect and avoids artifacts in large low-contrast regions. The propagation is controlled by the local variances and anisotropies that are derived during the computation without extra overhead, resulting in a highly efficient scheme that is particularly suitable for real-time processing on a GPU. © 2011 ACM.

Kyprianidis J.E.,Hasso Plattner Institute | Kang H.,University of Missouri-St. Louis
Computer Graphics Forum | Year: 2011

In this work, we present a non-photorealistic rendering technique to create stylized abstractions from color images and videos. Our approach is based on adaptive line integral convolution in combination with directional shock filtering. The smoothing process regularizes directional image features while the shock filter provides a sharpening effect. Both operations are guided by a flow field derived from the structure tensor. To obtain a high-quality flow field, we present a novel smoothing scheme for the structure tensor based on Poisson's equation. Our approach effectively regularizes anisotropic image regions while preserving the overall image structure and achieving a consistent level of abstraction. Moreover, it is suitable for per-frame filtering of video and can be efficiently implemented to process content in real-time. © 2011 The Author(s).

Heise A.,Hasso Plattner Institute | Naumann F.,Hasso Plattner Institute
Journal of Web Semantics | Year: 2012

Governments are increasingly publishing their data to enable organizations and citizens to browse and analyze the data. However, the heterogeneity of this Open Government Data hinders meaningful search, analysis, and integration and thus limits the desired transparency. In this article, we present the newly developed data integration operators of the Stratosphere parallel data analysis framework to overcome the heterogeneity. With declaratively specified queries, we demonstrate the integration of well-known government data sources and other large open data sets at technical, structural, and semantic levels. Furthermore, we publish the integrated data on the Web in a form that enables users to discover relationships between persons, government agencies, funds, and companies. The evaluation shows that linking person entities of different data sets results in a good precision of 98.3% and a recall of 95.2%. Moreover, the integration of large data sets scales well on up to eight machines. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

For the eighth and final time, First Lady Michelle Obama will invite the 12 winners of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award to the White House on November 15th, to recognize their programs’ effectiveness in developing young people’s learning and life skills by engaging them in the arts or humanities. Among the 12 awardees are two organizations from Michigan – West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT) and Sphinx Organization. The two Michigan community-based organizations from across the country were chosen from a pool of 251 nominations and 50 finalists to receive the highest honor awarded to such programs in the United States. The awardees will be recognized by Mrs. Obama for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to generate a wide range of positive outcomes, including increases in academic achievement; growth in graduation and college enrollment rates; and improvements in literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness. First Lady Michelle Obama will recognize WMCAT for its Teen Arts + Tech Program, which is a best practice, out-of-school time experience that engages high school students in the practical application of design thinking through hands-on learning in arts and tech labs. Media interested in covering the event must RSVP by sending an e-mail to firstladypress(at)who(dot)eop(dot)gov between Thursday, November 10 at 5 pm EST and Monday, November 14, at 5:00 PM EST . Members of the press who do not have a White House hard pass must include their name, Social Security number, date of birth, country of citizenship, current city/state of residence, and gender. Please “cc:” iroman(at)metgroup(dot)com on this e-mail request. A watch party will be held locally at West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, 98 Fulton St. E. #202, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. EST with multiple students on hand for interviews. West Michigan’s, Keloni Seawood-Walton,17, will be at the White House tomorrow to receive the award from First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology. The organization received the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation’s highest honor for its Teen Arts + Tech Program which is a best practice, out-of-school time experience that engages high school students in the practical application of design thinking through hands-on learning in arts and tech labs. “Having the chance to represent my peers in accepting this award from the First Lady of the United States in the White House is an experience that I’ll never forget,” said Keloni Seawood-Walton, WMCAT student. “It showed me that the power of programs like WMCAT’s to change kids’ lives is recognized and valued.” The award recognizes the country’s best after-school and out-of-school-time creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. “These amazing programs prove how effective creative youth development can be in changing lives and communities,” said Megan Beyer, executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “They’re improving academic achievement and contributing to high school graduation rates, and they’re providing the opportunity for young people to build the 21st-century skills they need to succeed in school and in life.” Since 2005 the WMCAT Teen Arts + Tech Program has engaged more than 2,000 high school students in studio experiences in fine arts, technology and design. Our impact is illustrated through 95 percent of WMCAT teen students graduating high school on time with 85 percent being accepted to college. This past year 90 percent of teen students said WMCAT makes them believe they can be successful in college and career. The Teen Arts + Tech Program at WMCAT is grounded in design thinking and project based learning. In partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools, WMCAT has empowered teens through learning studios such as Photography, Ceramics, and Leadership by Design. WMCAT encourages teens to elevate their voice and affect social change by applying their skills learned in the programs. In its 11th year of programming WMCAT has helped over 2,000 teens to achieve both academic and personal success. “Receiving the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award greatly expands our ability to share the incredible work and contributions of our teen students and our professional teaching artists. We are on a national stage with amazing programs from around the country! Now we have the chance to share the benefits of creative youth development, how working in WMCAT’s studios is expanding opportunity for teens in Grand Rapids, and how our community can support this kind of innovative and exciting work,” stated Daniel Williams, Executive Director of WMCAT, who was also present at the White House today to accept the award. First presented in 1998, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The awards are presented annually in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Seawood-Walton became a part of WMCAT while attending Grand Rapids Montessori School and graduated in spring 2016. She now is working part time as an apprentice at WMCAT’s Ambrose Print Shop while attending Grand Rapids Community College. During her time at WMCAT Seawood-Walton attended and was inspired by Photography and Fashion studios. Her work in the fashion design studio was part of a community fashion show that addressed bullying and stereotypes. The Teen Art + Tech Program applies the Design Thinking Process of Discover, Ideate, Experiment, Create, Refine, and Share in their projects. WMCAT’s leadership team deepened its connection with Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design by attending several design thinking intensives and coaching fellowships. These types of intentional programmatic decisions allowed WMCAT to better make long lasting and meaningful connections with students. Each student in 2015 was provided with 120 direct studio hours throughout the school year. Students are taught by exceptional nonprofit professionals and teaching artists that are vested in professional development while supporting each student’s needs. In addition to the national recognition bestowed by receipt of the prestigious award, WMCAT will also receive $10,000 to support its programming and engage more young people from the community. Nancy Hickey, chair of the WMCAT Board of Directors stated, “This recognition on a national level is so meaningful to WMCAT and our students. It is reflective of the incredible creativity, curiosity and talent of our teens and their teaching artists. We are grateful to be honored by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and to contribute to best practices in creative youth development.” The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation’s highest honor for after-school arts and humanities programs. The award recognizes and supports outstanding programs that lay new pathways to creativity, expression, and achievement outside of the regular school day. These programs excite and engage a range of students, cultivating imagination, collaboration, discipline, and academic success—with demonstrable results. They also provide safe harbors after school, on weekends, and during the evenings for children and youth in some of our country’s most at-risk urban and rural settings. Created in 1982 by Executive Order, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. The PCAH works directly with the administration and the three primary cultural agencies—the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—as well as with other federal partners and the private sector, to address policy questions in the arts and humanities, to initiate and support key programs in those disciplines, and to recognize excellence in the field. Its core areas of focus are arts and humanities education, cultural exchange, and community revitalization. Mrs. Obama, like other first ladies before her, serves as Honorary Chairman of the committee, which comprises both private and public members. For more information about WMCAT please visit wmcat.org. For more information about the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, visit http://www.pcah.gov.

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