Community Impact

Serving the Community by creating a better design environment


Outstanding Graduating Students 2019


Undergraduate Students

Alex Witteman
Architecture | Bachelor of Science in Architecture
Alex is an extremely motivated, dedicated student and a talented, thoughtful designer.  He is currently participating with an interdisciplinary studio, which is a collaborative experience offered by SAID and CCM, where he is continuing to challenge himself in the context of design concept and design process.  Beyond the rigorous achievements of his individual design work, Alex has also maintained equally high caliber of success in all his course work with the university, is an enthusiastic supporter of the school, the program and especially his fellow classmates. 

Hannah Brown
Bachelor of Arts in Art History
Hannah Brown has exhibited exceptional academic achievement and leadership. She has secured a number of grants through the College of DAAP, including eight travel and research fellowships in 2018 alone.  These fellowships have allowed her to travel nationally and internationally, partaking in valuable experiential learning opportunities. Hannah is a co-founder of a book press called Hot Take Press, and an active member of the UC Photo Club and UC Book Club. 

Biz KileyBiz Kiley
Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design
Elizabeth “Biz” Kiley is an exceptional representation of conceptual, technical and forward-thinking talent. Throughout her academic career, Biz has demonstrated strong personal initiative and has achieved incredible success in the Fashion Design program and in industry. It is her unique perspective, talent for narrative fashion design and initiative that truly sets her apart.

Mary TjotjosMary Tjotjos
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts
Unanimously nominated for outstanding student award by School of Art faculty, Mary Tjotjos is an exceptionally imaginative and hard working student whose remarkably inventive silkscreen prints, incorporating colorful plant and animal imagery, engage her Greek heritage, her feminism, and her experience of the opioid crisis with intelligence and insight. Mary’s enthusiastic and thoughtful participation in class discussions is unequalled, while the sustained quality of her research and artwork sets a great example for her peers.

erin_kennedy_headshotErin Kennedy
Bachelor of Science in Graphic Communication Design
Erin Kennedy is an exemplary student, dedicated to research, innovation, and application. She is self-motivated, sensitive, thoughtful, and vigorously embraces a challenge. Driven by her intellectual curiosity and sensitivity to substantive design issues, Erin's work ethic is extraordinary. Given her phenomenal strengths, she remains modest, respectful and open to critical dialogue. Her demeanor is friendly, cheerful, and positive. Erin Kennedy demonstrates great promise as a design practitioner and as a leader in the design community.

Alexander Bernhard
Bachelor of Science in Horticulture
Alexander Bernhard is our choice for Outstanding Senior in Horticulture. Alex has constantly been a source of inspiration because of his dedication, single-mindedness, hard-work and commitment to horticulture. We recognize his excellent grades, participation in community activities, and effective collaborative work. Additionally, his prestigious apprenticeship at the Morton Arboretum has brought positive recognition to our horticulture program. Congratulations, Alex!

Issac Busken- Jovanovich
Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design
Isaac has been a standout student in the ID program since his Freshman year. His unique design approach has yielded some of the most innovative results that the program has seen. Isaac has a passion for the work, and is hungry to acquire new skills and experience. He is a conscientious team player and consistent hard worker who exceeds core project expectations, and who always finds a way to push his output to new levels. 

Jake Didier
Bachelor of Science in Interior Design
Jake Didier is an all-around strong, passionate, dedicated, and exceptional student.  He has continuously shown excellent work throughout his studies in the program, whether it be in design studio classes or lecture courses.  He has represented and brought honor to the school, college, and university by winning in important national student design competitions. Beyond the classroom, Jake has exhibited a strong advocacy focusing on empowering LGBTQ identity, contributing to diversity on campus.  He is poised to immensely contribute to the interior design profession in the future. Jake is truly deserving of the Outstanding Senior Award in Interior Design.

Meryem BelkadiLeah Rutz 
Bachelor of Urban Planning in Urban Planning
The faculty of the DAAP School of Planning have selected Leah Rutz as the Outstanding Bachelor of Urban Planning student for 2018.  Leah has displayed academic excellence in the classroom and studio, and while on co-op as exemplified by her 3.643 GPA. She has successfully completed a range of co-op placement with public, private and non-profit employers, developing a broad perspective on the power and potential of urban planners to “tackle social inequalities and environmental disruptions from the bottom up.” She readily takes leadership in group activities and is always willing to assist others.  Her current volunteer activities with the Equitable Development Scorecard, the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition and the Mass Action for Black Liberation exemplify her commitment to the ideals of the urban planning profession.

Meryem BelkadiBowei Zhang
Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies
The faculty of the DAAP School of Planning have selected Bowei Zhang as the Outstanding Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies student for 2019.  Bowei has displayed academic excellence in the classroom as exemplified by his excellent 3.729 GPA, and his reputation among faculty and peers as a leader who helps organize and readily contribute to group projects.  As a dual degree student from China he has been able to transcend language and cultural differences to exemplify an ideal for the program.  He possesses an intellectual curiosity about cities and the importance of urban design.

Graduate Students

Gulen Cevik Gulen Cevik
Doctor of Philosophy 

Gulen Cevik comes from Turkey where she completed a BS in Interior Architecture.  She earned her MS in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati and has, since 2004, taught at Miami University in Oxford, OH, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Interior Design.  
Gulen began her PhD in 2014, with the goal of becoming a better scholar.  She has worked with great determination on this degree while juggling the demands of a full-time teaching job and a home and family.  Her dissertation--which went through multiple iterations and improvements--is an innovative study of two spaces:  the boudoir in the West and the harem in Turkey and the Ottoman Empire.  She deftly blended architectural history, art history, and interior design history; gender and space studies; Colonialist and Orientalist theories; and studies of fashion, posture and furniture, in order to illuminate the fascinating and intertwined histories of these two, "feminine" spatial types.  She has produced a fine study and in the process has become a creative scholar and a polished writer.  

Unmesh KelkarUnmesh Shrikant Kelkar
Master of Architecture

Unmesh will finish his Masters of Architecture with a perfect academic record.  His thesis explores the complex street culture in a neighborhood in India and looks at local and global economies and their influence on urban life.  In addition to his exemplary scholarship and research skills, he has been a part of student government and an enthusiastic participant in the academic and social life of the school, impressing us with his dedication to teaching our undergraduates, his inquisitive mind and his consistent support for the work of his peers.

Bisola Sosan
Master of Science in Architecture
Bisola Sosan, a native of Chicago, received her B.A. in Creative Writing from Northwestern University and MS in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. Her master’s thesis examines Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved through an exploration of the ways in which the author constructed “oneiric spaces”—spaces related to dreams and memories—as understood in the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s theories. In the unlikely and original pairing of Morrison with Bachelard, Bisola’s thesis probes how we think about notions of house and home, both within and beyond the field of architecture.  Her engagement with Morrison's thought also contributes to burgeoning discussions in Black Studies about the afterlives of slavery in relation to architectures, landscapes, geographies, and ecologies. Bisola contributed to the program greatly in sharing her perspective as someone interested in architecture, landscape, and interior space but not trained in any of those fields. Her exceptional writing skills and her assiduous research impressed her professors and peers alike. Bisola currently does freelance editing and writing for SociaLifeChicago. She hopes to publish short, speculative fiction works in the next year. 

Meryem BelkadiMeryem Belkadi
Master of Communtiy Planning
As a Fulbright Scholar, Meryem is an exceptional student. She has a 6-year professional degree (BArch) and qualification in architecture from her home country of Morocco, wrote a fine urban design thesis, Invisible Spaces, and had five years of professional experience in urban design in Morocco, as well as another four months in South Africa. She is fluent in Arabic, French and English and has demonstrated true leadership skills while in the MCP program. She has also been incredibly active academically while at UC. Not only does she have an almost perfect GPA (3.96), but she has written a book review for Urban Affairs, a top journal in urban studies, and presented her work at a number of regional, national and international conferences, as well as workshops, and she has an impressive array of publications for a Master’s student. To summarize, these include achievements in Morocco, the US, Canada, South Africa, Peru, Spain and Italy. Moreover, as a practicing Moslem woman, Meryem is able to articulate her faith, its influence on her life, and how it guides her in interacting with those of different backgrounds. In South Africa, for example, and in Miami’s Little Havana, where she had a very successful internship last summer at DPZ Co-Design, one of the nation’s pre-eminent urban design firms, under the supervision of Elizabeth Platerk-Zyberk, she has demonstrated that she can adapt but remain true to herself. She demonstrates these qualities as well as a member of the Equity and Inclusion Board of the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. She is open and tolerant, yet capable of firmness when necessary. A large portion of projects in planning are team efforts, and her convincing, well thought out insights and suggestions have usually made her the team leader. Finally, she has written an outstanding thesis analyzing Morocco’s signature housing program for the poor.

Mary TjotjosSwati Chopra
Master of Design

Swati is a highly self-motivated and committed individual, with unique aptitudes that not only are about her high design sensitivity and outcomes but also her high sense of community, willingness to help, determination and great CARE for anything she does.  Swati truly works diligently without hesitating effort until a suitable outcome is achieved while fostering a culture of collaboration. The master of Design student community wouldn’t be as successful without her presence. We Congratulate Swati on this achievement and encourages her to preserve the values that represent the Myron E. Ullman, Jr. School of Design.

Xue Jiao YuXue Jiao Yu
Master of Fine Arts

Snow Yu (Xue Jiao Yu) is emblematic of our program’s highest aspirations. The result of a years-long relationship with ceramics professors Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis, who have brought students to China since 2013, Snow transitioned from serving as the Residency Program Coordinator at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, and pursued her MFA with us. Snow’s rapidly expanding record of international residencies and exhibitions are positioning her for significant contributions to the field.

Nate AdamsNate Adams
Master of Landscape Architecture
Nate Adams has demonstrated to our faculty his acute awareness to responsibilities associated with the practice of landscape architecture.  Coming from a background in the natural sciences (geology), he understands the unique relationships that form our landscape, and his curious nature helped him to embrace the artistry found within this landscape.  His diligence in graphic communication skills development continue to push him to uncover creative approaches to design that provide him with new tools to explore and abstract relationships in the landscape. He continues to inspire his peers by this dedication and passion.