The Harmony Institute teams up social science researchers with entertainment industry innovators to consult on, and evaluate, projects that effectively address pressing social and environmental issues.
John S. Johnson, Founder and Executive Director
In addition to establishing HI, John S. Johnson is the Founder and Chair of EYEBEAM, a non-profit center focused on exploring art and technology through education, production, research, and development. He has launched two additional non-profit organizations dedicated to facilitating artistic processes and practice: the Screenwriters Colony, a retreat and workshop for emerging screenwriters, and the Filmmakers Collaborative, a non-profit film and media fund dedicated to re-envisioning art’s relationship to capital.
More recently, Johnson co-founded BuzzFeed.com, one of the fastest growing viral media and web trending sites today. He has written, produced, and directed two feature films, Without a Trace: June 10, 1979 (1991), and Ratchet (1996). In 2003, Johnson was a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a global forum that promotes enlightened and morally responsible leadership. He is currently a student in the master’s degree program in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences at Columbia University.
Debika Shome, Deputy Director
Debika Shome joined HI from Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) where she served as Assistant Director from 2005 to 2009. In addition to her work conducting and coordinating research at the center, Shome led CRED’s outreach and public policy initiatives. She is the co-author of The Psychology of Climate Change Communication, released November 2009.
In addition, Shome has over a decade of experience that includes work in the public, private, government, and non-profit sectors. She has consulted on a diverse range of issues, including environmental best practices, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability. She has worked for organizations such as B Corporation, the US Geologic Survey, the Nonprofit Technology Leadership Program, and Environmental Defense Fund.
Shome completed her master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington. She holds an undergraduate degree from Barnard College, Columbia University.
David Park, Senior Research Fellow
David Park straddles the intersection of social, statistical, and computational systems. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University, and a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland. Dr. Park was formerly Assistant Professor in political science and the Applied Statistics Center at Washington University, St. Louis, and Assistant Professor in political science at George Washington University. He was a Russell Sage Visiting Scholar from 2009-2010.
Dr. Park has written numerous articles, and in 2008 co-authored Red State Blue State Rich State Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do. He currently serves as Director of Special Projects at the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University.
John Voiklis, Research Fellow
With a Ph.D. in psychology and an M.F.A. in poetry (both Columbia University), John applies a dual perspective–that of a scientist and that of an artist–to how he looks at the influence of entertainment media on individuals and groups. John’s research generally focusses on how people use conversation to shape one another’s concepts and actions. At HI, he hopes to better understand when and why entertainment media starts new conversations and/or reframes ongoing conversations.
Clint Beharry, 2011 Graham Technology Fellow
Clint Beharry is a creative technologist with a background in art, design, data visualization, and coding. He is a recent MFA Interaction Design graduate from the School of Visual Arts in NYC, where he designed and developed software and hardware prototypes for applications in psychology, sensory immersion, and data visualization. He is interested in researching and building technology to affect people systemically, from individual decisions to global communities.
Prior to graduate school, Beharry worked on a broad range of creative and technical projects. He has designed for print, mobile, and web, developed front-end websites and back-end web applications, and received commissions for visual art. His clients include Gamelab, The Philip Johnson Glass House, and Maventy Health International. He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Miami.
Alex Campolo, Research Analyst
Alex Campolo received a Master’s degree in Media Studies from the New School University in 2012. His graduate research reflected a wide array of interests, from cassette culture to media spectacle in sports. As a Research assistant for The New School faculty, Campolo developed methodologies for studying the political economy of mega-events, such as the Olympics or World Cup.
Campolo earned an Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Virginia. He maintains a strong interest in the intersection of language and narrative with social issues.
Sarah Henry, Research Analyst
Sarah Henry is a graduate of New York University, where in 2010 she received a bachelor’s degree in an interdisciplinary major of her own design. During this time she explored research in behavioral analytics, game theory, economics, and cognitive psychology.
Since receiving her undergraduate degree, Henry has distinguished herself through positions in the private sector, focusing on technology and media, and the distillation of behavioral e-commerce data. Her current research interests include environmental psychology, or the various ways architecture, public setting, and the physical arrangement of society affects individual and collective behavior.
Burton DeWilde, Data Scientist
Burton DeWilde received his PhD in Physics from Stony Brook University in 2012. His research focused on a search for new fundamental particles of matter, including the Higgs Boson, using data collected at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition, he contributed to the software development of two physics analysis frameworks. On the side, he co-produced, filmed, and edited a feature-length, physics-themed zombie movie called “Decay.”
DeWilde earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Spanish from Kalamazoo College, where he also dabbled in documentary film making. He is passionate about social justice, the intersection of art and science, and all things data.
Joanna Raczkiewicz, Project Manager
Joanna Raczkiewicz manages HI Lab’s research into the convergence of narrative entertainment and social change. Raczkiewicz holds an MA from New York University, where she wrote on art and socialist ideology in postwar Poland. She graduated with a BS from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and has worked for print, broadcast, and online news outlets in the US and abroad. Raczkiewicz’s experience in the cultural sector includes program and development positions at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Solveig Søholm, Research Intern
Solveig Søholm holds a BA in Film and Media from the University of Copenhagen and is currently enrolled in the Media Studies MA program at The New School, NY. During her undergraduate studies Solveig worked for Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival coordinating and developing its cross-cultural documentary program, DOX:LAB, from the very first launch and until January 2012.
Through her professional experiences and academic studies Solveig has gained a strong interest in ways of using new media platforms to engage and inform people. With her undergrad thesis, researching the impact of analog “live” entertainment in today’s digital world, Solveig has continued her concentration on interactive media in her studies at The New School.