Who We Are

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Nico Slate | Director

Nico Slate loves smoothies, basketball, and mountaintops. He teaches history at Carnegie Mellon University, and is currently learning Marathi and Spanish guitar from anyone who will teach him. He believes that education is a form of social change, that children are often wiser than adults, and that the world is full of really good people doing amazing things all the time. Learn more at



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Michael Pisano | Creative Director

Michael Pisano’s first career aspiration was to be a dinosaur.  Later acquisition of bifocals in suburban New Jersey led to an amateur interest in small things: ants, pondscum particles, fine print, and the Earth as featured in illustrations of the solar system. Today, Michael is an independent animator, illustrator, and filmmaker. He believes in media literacy as a method of empowerment, and aspires to a lifelong practice of making art for the powers of good. View his portfolio at




Nicole Hamilton | Research Fellow

Amateur seamstress, crafter, book worm and lover of well-crafted TV theme songs are just a few ways in which to describe Nicole. When she is not busy as an outreach assistant at TrueSpark, a nonprofit dedicated to building character through film, she can be found teaching children the importance of doing well in school by using her own hiccups as examples of perseverance. She is a graduate from the History department at Carnegie Mellon University.


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David Busch | Research Fellow

Growing up in Akron, Ohio, David Busch dreamed of becoming the next Pele of soccer. While he still enjoys soccer, he now has many other hobbies that include gardening, hiking, and traveling. David is currently a Graduate Student in History at Carnegie Mellon University. He believes history is the study of “everything” and instills in him a moral imagination about the world.



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Lucy Pei | Design Fellow

Lucy is a great lover of mango lassis. She also enjoys listening to her grandmother’s stories about fox spirits and magical goats. One of her life goals is to contribute to improving education in underserved communities. She is currently an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University studying Global Studies and Human Computer Interactions.




Jiyoon Kim | Artist & Illustrator

Jiyoon dreams of becoming a children’s book illustrator and author one day.  Her friends call her Pocahontas because she loves animals.  She is attached to pineapple pizza, movies that take place in outer space like Star Wars, 60s music, and is also an avid fan of Roald Dahl stories.  Currently she is a senior at Carnegie Mellon University studying Communication Design and History. View her children’s book illustration portfolio at


Amal Nanavati | Game Designer & Programmer5083

Amal loves card games of all kinds, anything and everything Bollywood, and Bhangra. He enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures and hopes to eventually live (at least a year) on every continent but Antarctica. He is a current undergrad majoring in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and would additionally like to study Global Studies, Japanese, Robotics and Math (if only time were not an issue!)  Learn more at


Em DeMarco | Journalist

Em is seamstress-carpenter-baker turned journalist. She broke a national story about barges, investigated amusement park safety and is working on a story that was reported from the back of a motorcycle. These days she is doing graphic journalism, which merges nonfiction storytelling with comics and illustration. She nerds out on maps, punk music and horror movies. Visit to view her work or sign up for her newsletter.


Sarah Ceurvorst | Development Coordinator

Sarah is a lover of marketplaces, crayons, chili peppers and card games.  She is also an artist, educator and amateur musician.  She feels at home in a classroom, playing the roles of student and teacher interchangeably.  She believes that art can be a catalyst for community building and that everyone has the potential to make a positive impact on the world.





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SocialChange101 is generously supported by the Department of History and the Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. Additional support has been provided by the Hive Fund for Connected Learning at The Sprout Fund, The Grable Foundation, and by the Center for Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon.