Tiddy Bear Hagar Hirsch

Aviv Hirsch

The Tiddy Bear is a vessel that draws on my childhood memories of being sexualized and having femininity forced on me. The teddy bear is an agendered symbol of childhood innocence and the addition of human breasts challenges the sexualization and gendering of them.

 I went through puberty at a young age and the first time I was catcalled I was around nine years old. At age eleven, I was sexually harassed by a group of men. Eleven-year-olds are not sexual, but, since my body looked a certain way, those men chose to sexualize me. Experiences such as made me uncomfortable but not just because I was being harassed, but also because of why. For me, being assigned as a woman meant I was sexualized and that my femininity was for the enjoyment of men. 

As a kid, I had no way of expressing gender other than being a girl. I identify as non-binary, not existing inside the boundaries of male and female. With no connection to my gender identity, I still choose to present femininely because it is what I like, not because that is what is expected of me.

 The Tiddy Bear is a way to share my feelings of having womanhood forced on me. The teddy bear is one of few childhood toys which don’t have ties to any genders. The addition of human breasts to the bear both genders and sexualizes it. When confronted with the Tiddy Bear in the context of a children’s toy, people tend to feel uncomfortable. They have an urge to take the bear away from the kid as it is seen as inappropriate. It is the goal of this project to have people reconsider what causes them to have that reaction. 

The project explores how we view female bodies as inherently linked to both womanhood and sex. These factors made me uncomfortable with my body as a kid. It took me a long time to explore and be confident about my body and my femininity. I want to shed these connotations so kids like me can grow up unlimited by these factors.

Compartmentalizing Grief

Aoife Keefe
1 / 17

Compartmentalizing Grief: A vessel filled with objects to explore shared family memories of loss. The apothecary cabinet has six different mementos in the drawers that are all intended to help a user reflect on their own experiences of loss and embrace the healing process. 

At the age of 19, my cousin, Preston James Hirten died suddenly in the middle of a soccer game. Being the youngest child in my family, I could not process his passing or death as a whole, as I was confused and feeling "left out". That made me feel guilty for a very long time, as I couldn't remember him as well as my other family members.

This vessel shows the story of my current journey to healing and processing of this loss, n hopes to heal myself and help others. Because I am going through the process 10 years after everyone else in my family, I have learned to grieve vicariously through my parents, aunts, and uncles' memories and mementos. When a user opens a drawer,  they will see objects, songs, books, and pictures that helped  me process loss of a loved one. In one drawer, a user will open and see a mirror. This asks them to reflect on how death shapes their identity. Overall, this vessel shows how the loss of a loved once does not have to negatively affect one, but can rather represent the beauty of life, love, and healing.

Sob stories - presentation

Aveen Nagpal

The therapist's office can be stressful. loud white noise, complete isolation, often very cold. The most stressful part of all? Talking. A lot of therapists struggle to connect with their patients because often patients find that it's hard to lay out their story in an understandable way. Sob Stories is a module - based board game that allows patients to lay out their stories in a tangible way and show their therapists how they progressed through them. Each module represents a different part of experiencing and processing bulling and together they make up a course that a marble can move through, these modules magnetize to each other to create a path. The patient can then explore their story with the marble, explaining it to the therapist along the way. Each piece is made out of cherry stained wood and complemented by the weighty steel marble.

Portfolio Day May 16th

Jenny Kinard

Portfolio Day

After the Final Presentation, you have the opportunity to consider your presentation in light of final feedback and discussion. You will spend additional time reviewing you presentations, refining you portfolio, and polishing you work before it is made public on the internet.

The Self Evaluation is an opportunity for you to reflect on your work during the Studio. Students and Coaches receive the same prompts and categories, and the students will evaluate their own progress and skill levels in Design Skills and Subject Skills applicable to the studio both numerically and textually. Through a narrative, you will also reflect on the quality and rigor of your work, give feedback on the studio, and have the opportunity to receive similar feedback directly from the coach.

Chaos Dome

Uliana Dukach
1 / 18

Chaos Dome is a hanging vessel that depicts the external image of a chaotic family that constantly moves around, yet inside the vessel, there is calmness and safety. This vessels invites users to step into my experience as I navigate my family’s history

 Chaos Dome is a hanging vessel that shows how I rely on my family throughout all of the chaos and change that happens in my life. The Dome is supposed to make other people who come in and out of it gains an understanding or at least an idea of how my big family can be really chaotic and change a lot. While at the same time being a source of comfort and stability in my life. Chaos Dome is made out of two wood semi circles that intersect and form the dome frame. The wood frame has holes in it so that it is possible to weave fabric through it in a crazy pattern and create the actual walls of the dome. Around the dome, there is a hanging sheet that serves to isolate the viewer from the outside world and make a calm space inside the dome. The dome is hung over the viewers head by a string attached to the ceiling. 

Karam Partnership Information

Andrew Todd Marcus

As part of this virtual exchange studio we're doing, all students are required to fill out a survey at the very beginning of the studio, and another one at the very end. The Karam House (and our joint studios) are funded by the US State Department's Stevens Initiative, and as you can imagine they are very particular, and take these surveys quite seriously. So, here's all the fun:


  1. Read the Welcome Letter
  2. Read the Survey Instructions
  3. Complete the survey at this link.
  4. Use you email as your ID. 


Complete the survey at this link.

At the end of the studio, ideally right before the final presentations, students must fill out the post-surveys.

Karam Survey Instructions

Andrew Todd Marcus

Survey instructions:

Thank you for participating in this survey.  The questions in this survey are meant to provide information to researchers about the thoughts, opinions, and experiences of people participating in virtual exchange programs, such as the Innovating Across Boundaries program.

This survey will probably take you between 10 and 15 minutes to complete.  Please read each question carefully and answer as best you can.  There are no right or wrong answers.  If you do not understand a question or would prefer not to answer it, you may skip that question.  This survey is voluntary and you can stop at any time.

Your survey responses will be kept strictly confidential.  They will be used for research purposes only, to help improve virtual exchange programs.  Your responses will not have any effect on your participation in this program or on your performance in this workshop.

تعليمات المسح:

شكرا لك على المشاركة في هذه الدراسة. وتهدف األسئلة في هذا االستبيان إلى تقديم معلومات للباحثين عن أفكار وآراء وخبرات األفراد المشاركين في برامج التبادل الافتراضي، مثل برنامج الابتكار عبر الحدود.

من المحتمل أن يستغرق هذا الاستطلاع ما بين 10 و 15 دقيقة لإكماله. يرجى قراءة كل سؤال بعناية والإجابة على أفضل ما يمكن. لا توجد اجابات صحيحة أو خاطئة. إذا كنت لا تفهم سؤالا أو تفضل عدم الإجابة عليه، يمكنك تخطي هذا السؤال. هذا المسح هو طوعي ويمكنك التوقف في أي وقت.

ستبقى إجابات الاستبيان سرية للغاية. وسوف تستخدم لأغراض البحث فقط، للمساعدة في تحسين برامج التبادل الافتراضي. لن يكون لردودك أي تأثير على مشاركتك في هذا البرنامج أو على أدائك في البرنامج.

Karam Welcome Letter

Andrew Todd Marcus

Dear Students,

We are so excited you are part of the Innovating Across Boundaries program. Through this project, you will connect with other students who are Syrian refugees in Turkey and learn together about coding and robotics. You will get to use tools like 3D printers to make your very own projects come to life over the next few weeks.

Innovating Across Boundaries is a program of the Karam Foundation and is supported by the Stevens Initiative, a program that connects young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa. The Initiative was created with support from the U.S. Department of State and several governments, foundations, and companies, to honor Ambassador Chris Stevens, an American diplomat who was killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. Ambassador Stevens dedicated his career to building bridges of dialogue and understanding between cultures. This project is a special opportunity to carry on Ambassador Stevens’s legacy.

Wherever we live, our communities are part of an increasingly interconnected world. Learning with your peers across the world in this program will help prepare you to work with individuals from different places and backgrounds throughout your future careers and as you participate in and become leaders in your society.

Thank you for joining us in this special program, and have fun!


The Stevens Initiative Team