Meet the 2023 LEGO Papert Fellows

MIT Media Lab
MIT MEDIA LAB
Published in
3 min readApr 14, 2023

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Collage with images of Manaswi Mishra, Caitlin Morris, and Jaleesa Trapp
All headshots courtesy of the researchers; collage by Olivia Verdugo

The LEGO Papert Fellowships, endowed by the LEGO Foundation, are intended to honor the legacy and extend the work of Seymour Papert, one of the founding faculty members of the Media Lab and a pioneer in the development and study of new technologies to support playful, creative learning.

“The educational ideas of Seymour Papert have never been more important, so it’s exciting to announce three new LEGO Papert Fellows who will put Seymour’s ideas into practice,” says Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research, who worked closely with Papert for many years and leads the selection process for the LEGO Papert Fellows.

The new LEGO Papert Fellows will serve for the 2023–2024 academic year, and will spend one week at LEGO headquarters in Denmark during the fall semester to share ideas and collaborate on projects.

“This year’s fellows all share the powerful belief that young people already possess the knowledge and skills to excel, which can be uncovered through creative, playful experiences,” says Elisabeth McClure, Evidence Specialist at the LEGO Foundation. “This fundamental trust and respect for youth is more important than ever, and it is a pleasure to support these rising leaders as they develop their purpose and craft.”

About the 2023 Fellows

Manaswi Mishra (Opera of the Future)

Headshot of Manaswi Mishra. He is looking directly into the camera, and wearing a blue hoodie with a colorful logo that looks like an octopus made of electronic components.
Credit: Manaswi Mishra

Manaswi Mishra is a current graduate student and research assistant in the Opera of the Future group. His research explores strategies and frameworks for a new age of composing, performing, and learning music using AI. He joined the MIT Media Lab in 2019 and completed his MS in Media Arts and Science, developing his work “Living, Singing AI,” to democratize the potential of AI music making with just the human voice. Prior to joining MIT, he did a master’s in Music Technology at UPF, Barcelona and bachelor’s in Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. He is passionate about a creative future where every individual can express, reflect, create, and connect through music. Manaswi is also a founding instigator of the Music Tech Community in India and has organized workshops, hackathons, and community events to foster a future of music and technology in his home country. In his free time, Manaswi loves making all kinds of music and collecting weird sounds.

Caitlin Morris (Fluid Interfaces)

Headshot of Caitlin Morris. She is wearing glasses and a dark top, and smiling.
Credit: Caitlin Morris

Caitlin Morris is a PhD student in the Fluid Interfaces group. The goal of her research and art practice is to explore the ways that multisensory awareness can support our social connections and emotional health, and to create platforms for learning and teaching about body-based sensory influences. She advocates for a symbiotic loop between human-centered research, arts, and education; the interplay of these elements is a core component of her PhD research. She has taught workshops and courses for public access, libraries, high schools, and universities. Prior to joining the Lab, she received a dual BS in Architecture and Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MFA from Parsons School of Design.

Jaleesa Trapp (Lifelong Kindergarten)

Headshot of Jaleesa Trapp. She is standing in front of a flight of stairs with her arms crossed, wearing a bright red top, and smiling.
Credit: Jaleesa Trapp

Jaleesa Trapp is a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab in the Lifelong Kindergarten research group. Her current research focus is developing community-centered creative learning spaces. Prior to grad school, she taught high school computer science and was the Coordinator at the Computer Clubhouse in Tacoma, WA. Jaleesa received her bachelor’s in Human Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington.

This post was originally published on the Media Lab website.

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MIT Media Lab
MIT MEDIA LAB

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