Digital Media & Design Showcase 2024

Welcome to the 2024 Digital Media & Design Showcase Archive!

Below, you'll find the innovative digital and design projects created by students in English and Digital Narrative & Interactive Design courses, or in connection with campus makerspaces. Please stay awhile, explore, and celebrate! The in-person showcase was held on April 18th.
Our 2024 showcase judges were: Aaron Graham, Manager of Pitt's Open Lab, Christopher Maverick, Teaching Assistant Professor in DNID, and Jessica FitzPatrick, Director of Digital Narrative and Interactive Design program and the Digital Media Lab.


Award for Best in Show, Design: Naya Duggal, for the animation project "Chromadrichthyes" : The judges say "Visionary. Visually stunning, even in its animatic form (a naturally "rough" genre). Chromadichthyes shows a deep and broad universe with many engaging elements just waiting to be further pulled together into a wonderful whole."

Award for Best in Show, Technical: : Oscar Mailman, Kyra Shultz, Sam Wang, Rafael Hollero, Grace Ward, Erin Dougal for the game project "Memoriam" The judges say "Memoriam creates an uncanny space between dread and memories. As a player, interacting with the world feels exciting and smooth. The set and character design are both already-productive and promising—the game holds incredible potential and, vitally, evidences that potential."

The "je ne sais quoi" Award: Zander Spike, for the ergodic fiction critical making project "How to Make a Paper Airplane". The judges say: "For something so simple (in some ways!) this is a complete interactive experience. It contains joy and productive frustration, encapsulates several complete stories from beginnings to endings, and invites—indeed taunts us—with replayability. It is perhaps the project we returned to the most in our deliberations because it truly does have that engaging je ne sais quoi.

Crowd Favorite Award: Saskia Van't Hof, for the Interactive Kiosk project "Digital Cafe: Exploring Online Third Places" This award is chosen by popular vote of showcase attendees. The judges say "A project that is friendly and inviting (we note in particular the color scheme), which makes us want to explore--always an important outcome for a touchscreen exhibit. "Digital Cafe" personifies the topic of finding human spaces and represents the interaction between a person and such a place. A kiosk form of the project's main point."

Honorable Mention: Emily Kuntz and Ashley Hewitt, for the website "primed." Judges say "thoughtful and polished user interface for a site about an unarguably important topic; we think this site is ready to release." Julie McGaughey, for the Twine game "Pick a card". Judges say "challenges our expectations of a Twine in an engaging and inventive way." Lauren Myers, for the audio project "Would You Like a Poem?" Judges say "the subtle use of repetition helps build an engaging story from field-captured audio elements and interview skills allow listeners to feel close to the subject."

You can find the award winners and the rest of our fabulous showcase projects below. Be advised this archive page is organized by project category in alphabetical order (Audio projects through Zines); projects within each category are listed by creator's last name.

Dr. Jessica FitzPatrick
Director of the Digital Media Lab (DML)

Audio: "Would You Like A Poem?"
Creator: Lauren Myers
Class: Introduction to Audio Storytelling, Fall 2023
Instructor: Erin Anderson

"I met Haley Clancy as she was doing what she loves: writing impromptu poetry for strangers. I asked her to create a poem for me, written by the typewriter in her lap. She was sitting on a stool on the asphalt, resting her feet on the typewriter’s case. I told her a little about myself as she typed out a poem for me on a little brown card, asking friendly questions and responding enthusiastically to all I said. When she finished typing, she signed the card, read me my new custom poem, and took my picture. I was instantly astonished with her ability to write poetry on the spot, all while genuinely listening to and connecting with me. About a week later, I was assigned to create an audio profile of a local Pittsburgh stranger in my Intro to Audio Storytelling class, and I knew I had to talk to Haley. I went into our first interview expecting to uncover how she writes poetry seemingly effortlessly, but I quickly became enamored by her as a person and her motivations for doing what she loves. Haley is constantly listening to other people and finding ways to tell their stories, so I wanted to honor her story with this profile and shed some light on what I believe makes her extraordinary." -Lauren Myers

Audio: "Experiments in Listening"
Creator: Alexander Ocampo
Class: ENGWRT 0710: Introduction to Audio Storytelling, Fall 2023
Instructor: Erin Anderson

"While conceptualizing this audio essay, I was curious about what tape I already had accessible and what kind of story it told about me. As a transmasc artist, it felt obvious to include snippets from my HRT (hormone replacement therapy) journey as my voice feels inseparable from any story I tell. As a scientist, I wondered why I felt that to be the case. This is a story about my relationship with identity, with data, and with desperately trying to find conclusions. (FYI—the "subject" data in this piece is just my boss and me. No IRB has been broken!)" -Alex Ocampo

Audio: "Back to the Wall"
Creator: Nicole Sanna
Class: Introduction to Audio Storytelling, Spring 2024
Instructor: Erin Anderson

"Our assignment was to create a personal narrative audio essay that blended our memories and experiences and used music to strengthen the story. I recently wrote an essay for another class, titled “The Right Way to Be Punk,” about the social norms and politics of belonging within punk movements. Inspired by this, I decided to make an audio essay about my personal experiences of trying to fit in at punk shows and how punk music accompanied me through one of the loneliest summers of my life, though I never stopped feeling like an outsider at shows. I explore themes of belonging, identity, and loneliness and discover that despite my continued discomfort around how I fit in at punk shows, they’re places where it’s easy to be alone. The title, “Back to the Wall,” references both the literal experience of sticking to the frays of crowds at shows, pressed up against the back walls of venues, and being in a fraught situation: in a new city, absorbed by loneliness." - Nicole Sanna

Audio: Welcomed by Design Podcast: episode 8, Dr. Jay Dolmage: "Designing through disability as an identity and culture"
Creator: Emily Kuntz, Emily Viaz, Lynn Priestly, Paige Branagan, Kyle Finch
Class: Independent Studies
Instructor: Sera Mathew, Max Glider, Jessica FitzPatrick

Access episode transcript:
Podcast resource library:

"We sit down with Dr. Jay Dolmage to discuss his book, Academic Ableism, and how he navigates higher education as a disability studies scholar. We touch on various topics such as the deep-rooted history of eugenics in higher education, the mismatched architectural and pedagogical designs present on college campuses, and the importance of building disability culture on these campuses." -Design Team

Audio: Secret Pittsburgh Podcast: Episode 1: Pittsburgh's First Steelers"
Creator: Secret Pittsburgh
Class: Secret Pittsburgh, Fall 2023
Instructor: Elise Ryan

"Do you know who the first Steelers were? Let’s go back in time to learn about stories from immigrants and African American steelworkers that were part of the cost of production during this industrial time. They put their lives at risk but also found ways to organize, fight back against injustices, and remind us of who the real builders of the United States of America were."

Nominated by Dr. Elise Ryan.

Audio: Secret Pittsburgh Podcast: Episode 2: Unearthing Pittsburgh's Streams of Sewage"
Creator: Secret Pittsburgh
Class:Secret Pittsburgh, Fall 2023
Instructor: Elise Ryan

"When we visited Frick Park, we learned that sewage flows through Nine Mile Run, one of the main streams in Frick. This episode explores the mystery of how sewage ended up in this stream and almost every other waterway in Pittsburgh, including our rivers. We meet with staff from UpstreamPGH and the Pittsburgh Water Collaboratory in our journey to find out history, impact, and community solutions in relation to sewage in Pittsburgh waterways."

Nominated by Dr. Elise Ryan.

Animation: "Chromadrichthyes"
Creator: Naya Duggal
Class :DNID Capstone in English
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick

To access project visit:

"This universe and narrative is about changing identities and growing up. It is about acceptance of not only yourself but also support from the people around you as you discover yourself. This can happen at any age, any time, in many different ways, and you aren't always going to feel comfortable in your own skin, which is okay, you just sometimes need to grow into or out of it, or whatever you need to do in order to feel comfortable with being who you are, even if it's not what you think you were supposed to be. " -Naya Duggal

"The world-building is incredibly detailed and the iteration based on class workshop feedback has been amazing to see implemented. Animation projects are still relatively rare in the DNID Capstone--and I hope folks take the care, passion, and craft of Naya's project as an inspiration (and an example of quality) as they consider how they might style their own animation work in the near future!"-Dr. Fitz

Comics: San Roque, California
Creator: Roy Ocskasy
Class: ENGLIT 1901 Independent Study (DNID Capstone) and INFSCI 1730 Independent Study (DNID Capstone), Fall 2023
Instructor: Mark Best and Dmitriy Babichenko

To access project, visit:
To access project files on GiHub, visit:

"This project was written as DNID capstone 1 in Spring 2023 and then coded/drawn in Fall 2023 as capstone 2. It has two different meanings to it: to think of writing as a product and an object that is affected by color, placement, and sizing, as well as to be a statement about the experiences of grief. I lost my friend suddenly in 2022 and I dedicated this piece both towards her but also as a way of understanding my own grief. I didn’t want to write about things getting better nor did I want to write about how horrible grief is. Instead it is this in between of memory. There is both happiness and sadness in memories, but life still goes on as you recall them. Grief is a long process that can follow you for a while. This is meant to be read as a comic book. I really love hypertext and comics so I decided to combine the two. Everyone in this piece is a dog because although it is my own experience, I wanted others to be able to share it with me and place themselves among the characters. Each “area” of San Roque is about twenty pages long, so it may take some time to go through. Lastly, this takes place in my home state, in a not real city there. I have fond memories of California, especially Old Sacramento as my friend lived around there. I tried my best to take those parts of California into this piece." -Roy Ocskasy

Critical Making and Interactive Exhibit: "People They Carry: Healers of Fralk"
Creator: Alexander Ocampo
Class: INFSCI 1730 - Independent Study (DNID Capstone), Fall 2023
Instructor: Dmitriy Babichenko

To access the project, visit:
Tangible elements of the project available during in-person showcase--please handle with care as they are on loan from the museum's exhibit of Fralk.

"People They Carry: Healers of Fralk is the final project I made as a student at Pitt. As my DNID capstone, it focuses on the topic in this field that interests me most: how does the medium affect the stories we tell? In this museum exhibit documenting the fantasy world of Fralk, I consider the role of digitization in how we come to understand a piece. How is a website different from a backpack? How does metadata compare to the intuition of holding something? What more can we reveal when we're able to repackage a story for online viewing? I also wanted to contend with the social implications of storytelling. The museum exhibit displays the everyday objects of an unknown person, and we are asked to draw conclusions about the life they lead. Our belongings tell a story about us. But, in an exhibit, who has agency over this story? And how do we trust a story to be true? I encourage you to explore the museum and draw your own conclusions about the world laid in front of you. This project is one of my favorite things I've ever worked on, and I hope to continue expanding on it!" -Alexander Ocampo

Critical Making and Writing: "How to Make a Paper Airplane"
Creator: Zander Spike
Class: ENGWRT 1501: Topics in Creative Writing: Humor, Fall 2023
Instructor: Shannon Reed

To access the project, visit and read / manipulate at the in-person showcase. Spike notes "The entire story requires physical manipulation of its pages with an interactive choose your own adventure format. It is impossible to read the story in a digital format, and requires to be printed out to be viewed properly."

"For the final standalone assignment for my humor class, I wanted to create something outside of my comfort zone. I had written choose your own adventure stories before, but wanted to take it a step further. In 'How to Make a Paper Airplane' every action you take while reading and how you manipulate the paper determines the 'ending' you get. In other writing projects I've done, I have had 2 or 3 drafts before feeling finished, with this one, it took me 6 drafts to get to this final product. Trying to write a story and the only way to double check your work is to print it out mid production, is extremely time consuming to say the least." -Zander Spike

Design Jam: Design a Spaceship
Designers: Many! See signatures on project parts
Design a Spaceship Workshop (Digital Media Lab)
Workshop Leaders: Lynn Priestley and Jessica FitzPatrick

Access the spaceship designs of this project at the in-person showcase.
Sample of workshop content:

"The "Design a Spaceship" workshop brings together Inclusive Design and Speculative Fiction for a unique design sprint experience! Students are “onboarded" as new employees of the D.I.S.C.O. (Designing Inclusive Space Crafts Operation). To prepare them for the hands-on portion of the operation, they are introduced to the core ideas of estrangement in speculative fiction and speculative, inclusive, and universal design principles. Participants meet a crew of five individuals with mobility, sensory, and situational access needs. Using provided persona packets, D.I.S.C.O. jammers divide into groups to design spaceship components including control panel, communications system, entertainment center, and crew uniforms—the resulting sketches, notes, and swatches serve as an example of the interaction between literary and design imagination. We hope you check them out at the showcase, and consider joining a D.I.S.C.O. event in the future!" -Lynn Priestley and Jessica FitzPatrick

Game: A Tomb of Steel and Silicon
Creator: Matthew Crigler
Class: Digital Humanity, Spring 2023
Instructor: Justin Bortnick

CONTENT WARNING: Vivid description of death, player death, murder, terminal illness, death of an animal.
To access the project, visit:

"For this project we were prompted to create an interactive narrative in the Twine engine dealing with some technological concepts we covered in class up to that point. I decided to tackle the concept of life after death through technology. In particular, I wanted to explore how it could go wrong using the horror genre. The game also had to feature branching paths, with a minimum of 50 nodes total. For this I decided to create two main paths and one secret path, with a few endings each. The design process consisted of making the outline of each path and what decisions I wanted the user to go through on each. I also wanted each to cover a unique perspective, both on the topic, and on the plot itself. I had originally had the third path as one accessible from the start, but I wanted to encourage the player to explore the project more by encouraging them to try again for a different result. From here I made it so when a condition was met (finding out the identity of an “enemy”), you unlock the final path, which is from the perspective of that enemy." -Matthew Crigler

Game: "Strike Steel"
Creator: Joshua Fratis
Class: ENGLIT 1922: DNID Capstone in English, Spring 2024
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick

Access this project in-person at the showcase

"Strike Steel is a narrative action game about the Homestead Strike of 1892. Set in a low-fantasy analogue for industrial 19th century Pittsburgh, players are tasked with surviving their shifts in the brutal blast furnaces. In timed first-person action gameplay, players navigate the hellish blast furnace, completing tasks with rhythmic precision to produce steel or rebelling against the owners of capital by striking and seizing the furnaces for their community. In other gameplay modes, players explore the community through dialogue with other characters in plots that evolve over the course of the game and assume the perspective of the company president to manage costs and the company’s image, revealing the conflict between capital and labor. Strike Steel currently exists as an early prototype of this envisioned game to be continued and completed in the second part of my DNID capstone sequence." -John Fratis

"A rhythm-driven game doesn't need to prioritize story, let alone involve meaningful research and careful iterations of narrative design about a real--and violent--moment of labor history. A vertical slice capstone doesn't require working with classmates interested in audio design. It is remarkable all that Strike Steel has achieved during the course of a single semester. I look forward to seeing where it goes next."-Dr. Jessica FitzPatrick

Game: "Memoriam"
Creator: Oscar Mailman, Kyra Shultz, Sam Wang, Rafael Hollero, Grace Ward, Erin Dougal
Class: ENG Advanced Research/Literature Directed Study (DNID Capstone), Spring 2024
Instructor: Christopher Maverick

"After decades estranged, you must return home to your dying mother before it’s too late. In the process, you may realize your childhood was darker than you remember. The Memoriam team hopes to create a psychological horror game about the terror of seeing your loves ones age. We believe that students at our age and experience level can release a full video game project to the public and intend to prove that with this project. This is part of a DNID Capstone with Professor Chris Maverick, and is funded by the Horror Genre as a Social Force and Unleashed Wonder grants." -Memoriam Team

Game: "Pick a Card"
Creator: Julie McGaughey
Class: ENGCMP 0425: Digital Humanity, Fall 2023
Instructor: Steven LeMieux

To access this project visit:

"This assignment was relatively open ended: students were simply required to work with twine to create some interactive piece. My motivation for this project involved creating a decision-based game where users had to think more deeply about their choices and how they impact the overall game. There is a way to win, but one cannot complete the game until they fully understand what it asks of them." -Julie McGaughey

Game: "Adventures in Oz"
Creator: Courtney Sheridan, Hunter Foster, and Elizabeth Hudack
Class: ENGLIT / CMPINF 1201: Digital Narrative and Interactive Design, Spring 2024
Instructor: Dmitriy Babichenko and Christopher Maverick


"We were tasked with creating a video game based on a children's story we know and love. My group decided to take one of our favorite stories "The Wizard of Oz" and create an interactive video game. The player goes on a magical adventure across Oz, meeting Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion. The player must get Dorothy to the emeral city so she can get back to Kansas." -Design Team

Game: "Mushroom Cat: Zombie Slug Takedown"
Creator: Emliy Vaiz, Gwyneth Bessey, Kellen Apple
Class: ENGLIT / CMPINF 1201 DNID, Fall 2023
Instructor: Dmitriy Babichenko and Stephen Quigley

To access project, visit:

"Mushroom Cat: Zombie Slug Takeover is a 2d pixel art platformer that follows a mushroom cat that is tasked with saving the world from the slugapololyse. The inspiration for this project came from our love of mushrooms and cats. We wanted to create a character that hopefully would grow on the player and would become attached to. We made this project for our fall 2023 DNID course." -Design Team

Game: "The Shore"
Creator: Haoyi Wang
Class: ENGLIT-1900 Project Seminar, Fall 2023
Instructor: Jeff Aziz

Play this project at in-person showcase.
To access project files and animations, visit:

"The Shore is a 2D mini-game for PC/Mac platforms in which the player takes on the role of various shorebirds on a series of exciting journeys. The player navigates through challenging environments, avoids or drives away threats, and collects items by taking on the role of different bird characters in three levels, each with unique gameplay mechanics and objectives. The goal is to overcome challenges and threats from both natural and urban environments, reflecting the reality and adaptability of shorebirds in different habitats. Through intuitive controls and progressively challenging levels, The Shore aims to provide interesting entertainment and a sense of accomplishment, and most importantly, to raise awareness of these vibrant creatures that are being severely impacted by human encroachment. Some context behind the game is that it is an extension of my field note assignment for Dr. Aziz's ENGLIT 1900 class, where I went to Presque Isle State Park in Erie to observe the shorebird sanctuary. During this assignment, I learned a lot about the unique relationship between shorebirds and humans in this particular area, and how it differs from more familiar urban birds such as pigeons. That's why I decided to delve deeper into this topic and present what I discovered in a mini-game - not only to entertain, but also to bring attention to these fascinating creatures." -Haoyi Wang

Game: "The Cat Lounge"
Creator: Haoyi Wang; Shiqi Gao
Class: ENGLIT-1201 DNID ; INFSCI-1740 (DNID Capstone in SCI)
Instructor: Dmitriy Babichenko ; Jessica FitzPatrick

Play this project at in-person showcase.
To access related game content as an interactive slideshow story click below or visit:

""The Cat Lounge" is a top-down 2D adventure game for PC/Mac platforms where Dragon Adam trains his cat apprentices to fight back the evil invader of Demon Force and reclaim the Cat Lounge. As the player manages resources to maintain a cat force and explores through hostile occupation to regain control of the lost facility, they can feel the hardship of cultivating talent and the sense of accomplishment of leading a team to victory. The game is suitable for everyone of all ages (ESRB E rating) since it contains no restricted content and is designed for casual play, making it ideal for light daily play, making it more likely to be played by the working class. At the same time, since the game is also a cohesive experience for long play sessions, it is also suitable for people who have time for heavy play sessions, such as university students. The current version of the game (which we call "The Cat Lounge V2") is designed for Dr. Babichenko's INFSCI-1740 course, where it is an extension of the original game Haoyi made for a project in the ENGLIT-1201 DNID course. Back then, due to overambitious goals and personal skill issues, the original version of The Cat Lounge didn't quite reach the original scope with only some basic game designs being achieved, where this time as a collaborative project, we are aiming to present a more complete experience of the game. Though our narrative implementation of the current version hasn't been greatly expanded, most of the game mechanics have been added and should provide a decent amount of game content to play with." -Haoyi Wang and Shiqi Gao

"I am thrilled to see the Cat Lounge return in its expanded form (V2!), with a team behind it. The scope was incredibly impressive for a DNID-course unit and I am excited to play it in this more realized version. I also encourage those unable to attend the showcase in-person to still engage the interactive slideshow connected to the storyworld; it will allow you a chance to experience the flavor of this game."-Dr. Fitz

Games and Pedagogy: Women In Horror Games: A Proposed Introductory Course
Creator: Paige Branagan
Class: ENGFLM: Independent Study, Fall 2023
Instructor: Nathan Koob

"The Women in Horror Games project is an exploratory course I created in the Fall semester and have been continuing to build upon this semester under the mentorship of Dr. Koob and with the support of the Horror Studies Working Group. As someone who is interested in staying in academia, I wanted to experiment by creating a class that I wish I could have taken during my time here, with the hopes that one day I can teach this class at a future University. This class aims to explore the intersection of feminine characters and video games, and the historical ways in which they have either been represented, uplifted, or persecuted by the horror genre." -Paige Branagan

"Through personal research and weekly sessions Paige created a course syllabus, Canvas page, started developing lecture materials, and is moving all of this work to a website format as well in order to make it easier to access. She has also turned material from the course into two guest lectures she delivered to undergraduate courses this Spring term 2024. Throughout this process Paige has shown great personal dedication and stellar professional development, creating a course that will remain relevant and moldable for her future career."-Dr. Nathan Koob

Game / Raspberry Pi : "Grimrock Castle: A Recreation of Retro Text Games"
Creator: Stephen Grenesko
Class: Submission an Open Lab related project, Spring 2024
Instructor: Dmitriy Babichenko ; Jessica FitzPatrick

To access the project,files, visit:
To play, visit in-person showcase

"This project was an exploration of the evolution of computing. The idea was to show that what once took entire companies and teams of people to produce in a year, an individual could produce in days due to the progression and availability of more powerful technology. Grimrock Castle is a short text based RPG. It will consist of the main .java file serving as the 'engine' and pull from various .txt and .png files for use in different aspects of the game. It will be running on a Raspberry Pi 5 housed inside a 3D printed retro style PC case.This project is eventually going to be an interactive display for Open Lab." -Stephen Grenesko

Graphic Design / Online Publishing : "Final Project - Substack"
Creator: Ellianah Burgess
Class: ENGCMP First-Year Seminar, Humor, Storytelling, Critique, Fall 2023
Instructor: Maureen Gallagher

To access the project, visit:

"The requirements for this portfolio were as follows: an initial post, a refinement of our final essay, two additional polished pieces created during the course, and an “about” page. For context, my first-year seminar course topic centered around humor, storytelling, and critique. As I state under the "about" tab of my Substack, I was greatly motivated by my current field of study in economics. I wanted my work to reflect my individuality, therefore I prominently incorporated my special interests (such as specific media consumption in relation to my past), as well as my Jewish heritage. This project became very personal to me, and also became an outlet of which I could let out my emotions in a form of satire. Laughter really was the best medicine throughout this journey. I had to institute several people to proof my work, and I rewrote lots of components that were hard to part with, but the cuts ultimately benefitted my end product and taught me how to be a deliberate writer. The final completion and submission of this project was one of the most rewarding academic accomplishments; knowing the personal experiences I wove into my work made this portfolio actually mean something outside of being a mere assignment. I’m not just saying this—it’s evident throughout my Substack. I experienced lots of emotions throughout this process: anger with writer's block, sadness and overwhelming thoughts reflecting on my childhood, and stress over how much labor the writing required. In the end, the obstacles were worth it, and I hope others can see my passion reflected in my authorship." -Ellianah Burgess

"Her substack, Not Funny, includes several pieces that are both incredibly funny and analyze how humor functions in areas of popular culture and everyday life. Ellianah went above and beyond, and developed a final digital portfolio that serves as a testament to the great personal meaning and intellectual ambition in her pursuits. The visual and design elements are integrated in a very fine way to showcase writing with a very strong, confident voice." -Dr. Maureen Gallagher

Graphic Design / Online Publishing : "Magazine Mock Up"
Creator: Sophia Chen
Class: ENGCMP 0520: Integrating Writing and Design, Fall 2023
Instructor: Stephen Quigley

To access the project, visit:

"I am drawn to magazine layout and the way that text and visual elements can come together and interact with each other. When I open a magazine, the first thing I see is how the page is laid out and I want to be able to create more visually exciting ways to deliver information."-Sophia Chen

Graphic Design / Online Publishing : "Literary Phoenix Substack Newsletter"
Creator: Natalie Cohen
Class: ENGCMP Writing for the Public, Fall 2023
Instructor: Maureen Gallagher

To access the project, visit:

"Literary Phoenix is an online publication dedicated to helping dying literary projects rise from the ashes. The motif of the phoenix is inspired by the Community College of Allegheny County’s student publication, the Phoenix Literary Arts Journal, that — from Fall 2022 to Spring 2023 — I helped resurrect from a near-20-year-long hiatus. This publication relies on both secondary and primary research compiled into a personal narrative, Q&A Profile, and white paper to emphasize the financial need that indie literary publications have. In addition, after reviving this newsletter for a Spring 2024 Composing Digital Media class, Literary Phoenix features spotlights of editors from three literary projects associated with the University of Pittsburgh: Cherry Bomb Lit Mag, Collision, and Forbes & Fifth. By publishing pieces of writing in a wide variety of journalistic/scholarly genres, my goal for this publication is to appeal to as many literary-minded people based in Pittsburgh as possible in order to spotlight this issue within my chosen field of literary publishing. ." -Natalie Cohen

"Natalie Cohen crafted a truly impressive Substack Newsletter which demonstrates Natalie's dedication to supporting local literary magazines and draws on her own lit mag experience and continued research. Her work is not only visually striking and creatively rich, she also has continued this Substack beyond the course, adding further interviews with writers in literary magazines, including the editor of a local publication. Natlie's personal writing is quite moving, and the white paper both includes substantive research demonstrates a masterful level of visual design for a digital document." -Dr. Maureen Gallagher

Graphic Design / Online Publishing : "The Progress Journal"
Creator: Grace Harris
Class: ENGCMP 0212 Seminar in Composition - Topics in Diversity, Fall 2023
Instructor: Maureen Gallagher

To access the project, visit:

" I recommend Grace's Substack Newsletter, The Progress Journal, for its cohesiveness as a portfolio; Grace's very fine, thoughtful writing on topics of race and racism within various cultural and educational contexts are integrated in a fine way with the well-considered use of visual design elements." -Dr. Maureen Gallagher /p>

Graphic Design / Online Publishing : "Building Bridges to Abortion Care"
Creator: Kathleen Madden
Class: ENGCMP 0420: Writing for the Public, Spring 2023
Instructor: Maureen Gallagher

To access the project, visit:

"My name is Kate Madden, and I’m a sophomore studying Communication and Public and Professional Writing. My piece, titled “Building Bridges to Abortion Care,” is a Substack newsletter in which I explored the necessity of adequate reproductive healthcare for college students. This semester-long project in Writing for the Public with Dr. Maureen Gallagher includes a story about my passion for reproductive justice, an interview profile with a Pitt graduate who now works as a Planned Parenthood intern, and a white paper analyzing the current state of reproductive healthcare here at Pitt, as well as proposing ways to improve it. For the design elements of my newsletter and white paper, I used Canva to create cohesive and captivating visuals. I hope my work underscores the significant role that reproductive healthcare plays in a well-rounded college education while encouraging the university to update its policies."

"Her Substack Newsletter, "Bridges to Abortion Care," is the compilation of extensively researched, revised and edited pieces in which Kate advocates for improved reproductive care for women students here at Pitt. It includes pieces that are personal, a thoroughly researched and carefully designed white paper, and a Q & A profile interview with a Pitt alum who works at Planned Parenthood. The project is quite fine: it is cohesive and well thought-out in its visual design, focus, and purpose." -Dr. Maureen Gallagher

Interactive Kiosk Display: "Women in Computing"
Creator: Raquel Buege
Class: ENGCMP 1130 Projects in Digital Composition, Fall 2023
Instructor: Stephen Quigley

Engage project through Kiosk at in-person showcase.
To access project files:

"My interactive kiosk webpage, “Women in Computing”, illuminates important women in computing, a field that has stark gender disparity. The computing sector is predominantly male, and there is not much awareness about the women who have been instrumental to the advancement of the industry as we know it. The very basic blocks of computing were laid by women like Ada Lovelace, and this fact is hardly mentioned. Therefore, I have built an interactive site that brings awareness to women who have made inspiring achievements in either computing or adjacent fields. This is important as it awards credit where it is due to these women, and recognizes the need for diversity in the field. It also helps to counteract the stereotype of who is able to be both successful and make lasting contributions to computer science and similar fields. In the future, I need to do more research and continue growing the amount of women who are featured on this site. I also plan on making the webpage web-responsive so it can be rendered correctly on multiple platforms, not just the kiosk."-Rachel Buege

Nominated by Dr. Quigley.

Interactive Kiosk Display: "Digital Cafe: Exploring Online Third Places "
Creator: Saskia Van't Hof
Class: ENGCMP 1130 Projects in Digital Composition, Fall 2023
Instructor: Stephen Quigley

To access this project, visit:
You can also engage this project at the Kiosk during in-person showcase.

"My project and accompanying kiosk experience delve into Ray Oldenburg's sociological concept of 'third places', specifically exploring spaces where students gather for socializing and studying, such as cafes, libraries, and campus study rooms. Inspired by the vibrant ambiance of Sidecar in Pittsburgh's North Oakland neighborhood, a beloved coffee spot for students and locals alike, this scene is hand drawn using the Adobe Suite and brought to life with HTML/CSS and JavaScript. Through interaction with various glowing objects and characters, users are invited to explore the multifaceted impact of third places from different sociological perspectives. The project aims to shed light on the evolving nature of social interactions in the digital age, especially within educational contexts, offering nuanced insights into the translation of physical third places into the online sphere. Ultimately, this project celebrates the richness of communal spaces in fostering meaningful connections. It prompts viewers to reflect on the changing landscapes of spaces for public discourse and consider the role of digital platforms in reshaping our interactions and experiences in contemporary society." -Saskia Van't Hof

Nominated by Dr. Quigley.

Interactive Kiosk Display: "Metamodern Media"
Creator: Abigail Zimmerman
Class: ENGCMP 1130 Projects in Digital Composition, Fall 2023
Instructor: Stephen Quigley

To access the project, engage through Kiosk at in-person showcase or visit:

Metamodern Media was created for Dr. Stephen Quigley’s Fall 2023 Projects in Digital Composition class. It aims to condense dense academic research into an interactive, intuitive kiosk display. The project emphasizes accessible touch-based design and consideration for a wide audience, allowing anyone to come up and have an engaging experience. Users are encouraged to interact with different media examples and explore the modal windows. Further context is given through the history/background of metamodernism. Notably, the unconventional nature of the medium lends itself to the unconventional subject matter, allowing for a unique implementation of digital pedagogy. Metamodern Media was produced with HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Figma, and the Chrome Kiosk app. It took about two weeks to design and two weeks to develop, iterating off of in-class feedback and user testing."-Abigail Zimmerman

Nominated by Dr. Quigley.

Video "The State of Flow in Video Games and Films"
Creator: Alexander Abreu
Class: ENGFLM 1760: Cinema and Video Games
Instructor: Nathan Koob

To access the project, visit:

"The project's goal was to create a video essay comparing two pieces of media we studied in class, Run Lola Run and Celeste. My motivation for this video was to explore the concept of 'flow' and how it functions in film and video games using Run Lola Run and Celeste as my primary examples. I analyze how both mediums can create a state of flow within the audience citing sources and demonstrating examples of Run Lola Run's film editing and Celeste's gameplay mechanics to achieve this. The video was written, voiced, and edited by me using DaVinci Resolve." -Alexander Abreu

Video: "the greatest of all time"
Creator: Courtney Burke
Class: ENGCMP 0610: Composing Digital Media
Instructor: Devon Pham

CONTENT WARNING: Sexual assault and violence.
To access the project,

"In the course, Composing Digital Media, our final project had to show "exploration into an aspect of digital composition with further use of a concept, mode, or use of a tool." I used PremierePro to create this video essay to challenge my viewers to reconsider who we, as a society, hold in high regard in the filmmaking industry. My love for cinema does not ignore Hollywood’s dark history and neither should anyone else." -Courtney Burke

Web Design: "Primed."
Creators: Emily Kuntz and Ashley Hewitt
Class: DNID Capstone in English, Fall 2023
Instructor: Mark Best

To access the project, visit:

"Primed is a resource centered around starting and destigmatizing conversations about vaginal and menstrual health, in the form of an interactive website. While the internet can be an amazing tool for teaching users a plethora of information, it can also become a space for the harmful spreading of misinformation. This project was intended to chronicle and combat these widespread misconceptions, especially for younger audiences who are susceptible to this misinformation and at the age where these health myths are perpetuated. An online survey of U.S. teenagers from SKDK reveals that 76% of students believe society teaches that periods are “gross and embarrassing” (State of the Period). This idea contributes directly to period poverty, which is characterized by a lack of resources, education, and products needed to maintain healthy habits and dignity when it comes to menstruation. A very attainable solution is more education. A 2022 audit of U.S. Health Education Standards revealed that menstrual health management was not a required part of the school health education standards in most states (Kuhlmann, et al). We were partially motivated by personal experience, feeling as though our K-12 education, and the education of our friends and peers, did not prepare us or stimulate productive conversation about these topics. This is why a long-term goal for Primed would be implementing it as a supplemental tool for learning in a health classroom setting. The site’s interactive modules could also take the burden off underpaid teachers to revise lesson plans and conduct further research." -Design Team

Zine: "Divine Machinery"
Creator: Zoë Abersold
Class: ENGLIT 1913 Professional Development DNID, Spring 2024
Instructor: Jessica FitzPatrick

To access the project, visit:
Also available to view in-person at the showcase--note the exquisite hand-stitched binding!

"This project was inspired by connections between Jewish beliefs regarding angels and single purpose machines. I found the combination of religious motifs with technology to be a wonderful blend of themes carried across courses in the Digital Narrative and Interactive Design major. I wanted to really test my design skills and work one something that is completely unbound by limitations. I found this medium, a zine, to perfectly encapsulate this. The primary application I used was Photoshop, I really wanted to better my skills in the Adobe Suite and this project was a great way to do it." -Zoë Abersold