Second row: Bill Sherman (Founding Director), Matthew Slaats (Special Projects Director), Rohan Koduri, Jianna Torre, Nathaniel Grevatt, Ashley Duffalo (Program Manager)
First row: Niko Marcich, Samantha Newman, Jenn Tran, Megan DeSisti
Just as OpenGrounds fosters collaboration, interdisciplinary research, and innovation, the interns who work there mirror this same sentiment. Ten in total, the OpenGrounds intern team is a curious, creative, and resourceful group whose backgrounds and interests span across disciplines.
Dhruv is fourth year student studying finance. He appreciates the one-of-a-kindness of OpenGrounds and its ability to bring together students, faculty, and the larger Charlottesville community. It is a place where he enjoys, above all, meeting new people, working on projects, and grabbing a cup of coffee.
This year, Dhruv will be working on creative ways to engage new CIOs and communities of people within the space, especially podcast groups. He will also be working on updating and expanding OG’s library of books. These books will share the common theme of being inspiring, thought-provoking, enjoyable, and cross-disciplinary—similar to the space that houses them.
Megan is a fourth year student majoring in Global Development Studies and this will be her fourth semester working at OpenGrounds. This year, Megan hopes to diversify OG’s programming in an effort to bring students, faculty, and community members together from the many pockets of Charlottesville.
She believes that OpenGrounds has the capacity to be a particularly active space given the heated racial and political climate in Charlottesville right now. For this semester, Megan will be working on revamping the OG newsletter and being the voice of the OG Facebook page.
Sam is a fourth year Cognitive Science major in her second year of interning at OpenGrounds. She loves OpenGrounds because of its spontaneous nature as well as the fact that it is an excellent resource for various events, and a refuge for those who crave a more personal work environment.
This semester, Sam will pursue visual arts initiatives that intersect with the ideals of acceptance, positivity, and unity. Her overall goal is to document the thoughts and perspectives of those in the OpenGrounds space, while also promoting community collaboration, respect, and inclusion.
Serena is a fourth year student majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Urban and Environmental Planning. This will be her third semester working at OpenGrounds. The atmosphere of OpenGrounds appeals to Serena because of the people, the flexibility, and the openness of possibilities that one can explore in the space.
This semester, Serena will be working on defining and communicating OG’s mission to UVA students as well as the larger Charlottesville community. She will also be developing a program related to Citizen Science.
Nathaniel is a third year student studying Computer Science along with Political and Social Thought. He enjoys working at OpenGrounds because he believes that OG is a space that attracts a certain kind of individual, and he appreciates meeting and interacting with everyone who walks through the doors.
This semester, Nathaniel will continue to coordinate Grounds on Grounds events to hold at OG sporadically throughout the semester. Grounds on Grounds is a CIO dedicated to the love and craft of coffee, and all are welcome to join. In addition, Nate will also use his computer programming skills to harness data from in and around the Charlottesville community to create data visualizations that tell unique and insightful stories.
As a third-year Computer Science major and Business minor, Rohan will spend his second year working for OpenGrounds providing support to OG’s website. Additionally, Rohan will be sharpening his programming skills through a project where he will engineer a database to store the past and present research areas/topics of professors. The goal of this database is to provide students access to experts in every field.
Jenn is a third year student studying architecture and sustainability who recently began interning at OpenGrounds. She is most interested in design, social justice, the environment, and everything in between. This semester, Jenn will use her graphic design skills for OG photos and fliers, as well as focus on bringing a little green to the space. OpenGrounds encourages a different way of working, and as a designer, Jenn wants to write all over the walls and think outside the box.
Niko is a fourth year student studying foreign affairs and economics. He loves the malleable space that OpenGrounds offers. The space is seamlessly able to mold to fit whatever event, presentation, performance, or show is going on. This year, Niko is looking forward to the challenge of using OG as a space to promote audio and video presentations, such as podcasts or Tedx style talks, and he’ll be a regular contributor to the OpenGrounds blog.
Jianna is a fourth year studying Cognitive Science and Computer Science, and this is her third year interning at OpenGrounds. She believes that the most interesting connections are made across disciplines and is fascinated by the ways people from different academic backgrounds go about solving problems.
This semester, Jianna will be working on developing content for OpenGrounds’ website. She will write to explore research initiatives, questions relating to interdisciplinary studies, and how OG fits into all of the above.
While OpenGrounds might seem like a space that has an ambiguous nature, this ambiguity is the beautiful thing that defines the space and the people who work there. In this sense, OpenGrounds is anything the community needs it to be: a center for collaboration, a research hub, and a place you can go to meet interns with diverse backgrounds and interests.