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Columbia College Chicago
Student Assistants
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Student Assistants

HaleyHaley Cieslak
Digital Dialogues interviewer and blogger

Haley Cieslak migrated to Chicago from St. Michael, Minnesota in 2012 after graduating high school to pursue a degree in Film & Video with a concentration in Screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago. After realizing that film is incredibly collaborative and that she is not really cut out for that type of work, she soon switched to a Fiction Writing major where she has found great solace in long, lonely nights with pens and paper and a keyboard-- in addition to much more gratifying work and art (which sounds like a typical art student line and this is the one time she actually means it).

After starting as an intern with Art + Activism’s PUSH Podcast working with Rian Lussier Haley is ecstatic to be continue working with PUSH and exploring other facets of Art + Activism while writing for their blog. Through working with Art + Activism she hopes to contribute positive discussion and provide information on a variety of topics with a combination of sarcasm, sass, sensitivity (possibly alliteration) and a variety of points of view.

Haley enjoys playing Bioshock and The Sims in her spare time. She also loves spending time with her dog, Siska, reading and as of tomorrow plans on starting a regular exercising regimen.

Rian Lussier

Rian Lussier
Digital Dialogues producer and blogger

Rian Lussier began her studies at Columbia College Chicago in 2010 studying Art History and Literature. Her core focus is in the relationship of visual culture to colloquial rhetoric and its manifestations in social thought. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and is deeply involved with the Honors program at Columbia. During her time in Chicago, Rian’s writing has been featured in a variety of local publications. She has also contributed as an interviewer and researcher to the oral history projects of the National Veterans Art Museum and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Rian contributes as interviewer, reviewer and editor for Digital Dialogues. With Digital Dialogues she hopes to help architect a platform for listening and connecting with one another. Rian also helps the curatorial and installation folds of ELEVATE.

Rian enjoys jazz, reading and never losing at a game of pool.

Demi 2014Demi Schlehofer
Office + Programs Coordinator
President of the Art + Activism student organization

Demi graduated from Kaneland High School in Maple Park Illinois, in 2012 and is currently attending Columbia College Chicago earning her BA in Art and Design. Growing up on a farm in the rural suburbs has given Demi a unique take on her new urban lifestyle. Her background is in graphic design and she is a member of the National Technical Honors Society. Since October 2012 Demi has been an office assistant and a graphic illustrator for the Fresh Frances greeting card company. She works in other mediums and on other freelance projects as well. Over the next few years Demi plans to strengthen her skills in her favorite hobby, hula hooping, as well as seeking further education in Stage Makeup. In addition to her arts practice she is very involved with 4-H and the Suicide Prevention Center in Batavia.

Demi says that, “Being involved in the art world as well as with my community is a key factor for becoming a part of Art + Activism. All my life I’ve been captivated by art and how it can be a catalyst in our environment. I find beauty in the fact that one’s inspiration can trigger social movements and cause motivational changes over time. I’m honored to apply the creative skills I have to make change in the world as other artists have before me.”

 Rachel VenaRachel Vena
Social Media Coordinator
SOC Rep for the Art + Activism student organization

Rachel Vena is currently pursuing a degree in Business & Entrepreneurship at Columbia College Chicago with a concentration in live event planning, promoting and production. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and has a background in marketing, journalism and graphic design. Throughout her first year she has worked alongside quite a few creative, talented people such as Columbia’s Student Engagement, International Programs and Student Programming Board (all of which happened after quitting her underpaid barista job).

As the social media voice behind Art + Activism Rachel creates online content that sparks interesting conversation between individuals who share a mutual appreciation for art in its entirety. She aspires to develop a platform that celebrates those who are committed to continually learning, staying inspired and inspiring others. However, if you referred to her as just “The Internet Lady,” she probably wouldn’t correct you.

Rachel enjoys live music and breakfast food almost equally. She also wears a lot of black so she can absorb the energy from the sun and eventually become the most powerful being on the earth.

Also working regularly with Art + Activism are:

Natale Mardigian
Events volunteer

Mary Palmer
VP Art + Activism student organization

Robert Smith
Podcast audio Engineer