Students

Cohort 1 (WS 2017/18)

Alla Charnagalov

Alla Charnagalov graduated from high school in Vienna in 2017. Originally from Russia, Alla grew up in Germany, England, and Austria. Her main areas of interest are Bioart, sport as a social institution, and human rights as a value system as well as a global concern. By participating in various science projects and by being part of a art and ballet programme at high school she has gained detailed knowledge about natural sciences, arts, and culture. During her professional figure skating training she took part in several international competitions and also had the opportunity to broaden her horizons by meeting people from different cultures. Alla’s goal is to develop her cultural background and to initiate and implement global organizational changes for the future of our world.

Leon Okoth Otieno

Leon Okoth Otieno is a creative person who has been passionate about street art and photography ever since he was a small boy growing up in Nairobi, Kenya. This is where he fell in love with street art and he has worked for both the Kenyan and South African British Council on art projects that aim to uplift people living in the slums. He has lived in Austria for ten years and worked in construction, screen printing, and the pharmaceutical sector before finishing his graphic design diploma. His main motivation to participate in the CDS study programme is to understand the different topics that affect us as a global community and use the knowledge for making a better tomorrow.

Kean Ehsasi

Kean Ehsasi is an active artist and musician with a strong interest in physics and mathematics, who joined the CDS study program because it combines an emphasis on art and science as well as on philosophy and communication. He is a Persian-American, who grew up in Berlin, Germany, and recently graduated from an international school in Berlin. Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary issues are a natural part of his life. The challenge, as Kean sees it is: How to champion the individual in a globalized world, and more specifically, how to define ourselves in a world with rapidly “growing” challenges as artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and social media. He asks: How will my generation be able to meet these challenges—and opportunities—in an open, responsible, and creative way?

Carolina Laura Rotter

Carolina Laura Rotter studied Fine Arts before joining the CDS study programme. She has a background in both the humanities and the sciences. Her main subjects are sculpture, installations, and writing. From this artistic point of view she refers to norms, ideals, and the operational structure of society. She focuses specially on the concept of disorder and thus the definition of sanity and mental health as well as the roles of ideals, power, and control. Through increasing digitization and the changing definition of work in terms of increasing knowledge in the field of artificial intelligence, she also analyses the change in identity and the conditions and value of human life between virtuality and reality.

Helene Hochrieser

Helene Hochrieser studied medical informatics before joining the CDS study programme. She has been working in medical statistics and as a data analyst, where she develops automated detection of anomalies (attacks) in computer systems. She is interested in technology, philosophy, art, and science in general and therefore decided to participate in the CDS study programme, which covers these fields with an interdisciplinary approach to obtain an extended view of an unconventional combination of methods from all of these areas. She is especially interested in how the human mind and consciousness forms opinions and generates solutions. And whether we can modulate and transform our lives by using the progress and knowledge we already possess from supposedly opposed fields like the humanities and technology, as well as common methods for growth.

Margarita Vargas Gamboa

Margarita Vargas Gamboa joined the CDS study programme in 2017 after studying for a Fine Arts Photography BA in Berlin from 2012 till 2016. After her high school days in Bogotá, Colombia, she took part in a student exchange programme with the Gymnasium Lohbrügge in Hamburg, Germany, in 2008, where she graduated in 2010. Margarita became a visual storyteller after she fell in love with the aesthetic of analogue photography at a very young age. She uses this medium as a means to explore the details of everyday life and learn more about the complexity of human experience. Besides her interest in the CDS study programme, she is currently deeply interested in language. Margarita is fluent in Spanish, German, and English and is teaching herself Portuguese and French. The interdisciplinary CDS study programme balances a broad overview of academic and artistic fields; with this holistic approach Margarita hopes to continue learning and gathering tools through which she can better understand, capture, and communicate the complexity, beauty, and challenges experienced within this world.

Zahra Khalid Mirza

Zahra Khalid Mirza is a culture vulture and an art educator from Pakistan who holds a degree in Fine Arts. Before moving to Austria in 2016, she ventured into arts, culture, music, and multimedia as well as initiatives geared towards community building over a span of a decade. She is interested in topics of empathy, collaboration, and unlearning of privileges, considering these crucial in becoming and staying relevant to a harmonious progression of life. She finds the CDS study programme very flexible which allows her to widen the given scope exponentially while making it possible to customise her studies at every stage of her (life) learning process. Parallel to her studies and a reclusive art practice, she participates actively in the Community College project of the Kunsthalle Wien.

Leon Soyka

Leon Soyka graduated from the Akademisches Gymnasium in Salzburg, before joining the CDS study programme in Vienna. At high school he received a humanistic education, studying Latin and Ancient Greek as well as Spanish and Italian, after being part of the Europe-focused branch at his school. After participating in both national and international sessions of the Model European Parliament, Leon’s interest in politics and dealing with relevant socio-political questions fully evolved. Spending a semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, he became deeply interested in the political history of South Africa, which further increased his interest in socio-political questions of the present. The cross-disciplinary approach of the course offered by the CDS study programme as well as its ambition to enable its students to take on socio-political responsibility in the near future is what especially appeals to Leon.

Una Nowak

Una Maja Nowak is taking part in the CDS study programme since 2017 and values very highly the interdisciplinary, holistic approach offered at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, as it allows her to link her overall awareness of global challenges and politics with her creative knowledge gained from her extensive education in the arts. In 2017, she graduated at W@lz, a private high school in Vienna, which has a special focus on social skills, arts, project-based education, and independent thinking. During her secondary education, she spent eight months at Los Altos High School in Silicon Valley, California, which broadened her horizon significantly. Experience gained working in a kindergarten in a South Africa township or familiarizing herself with LGBTQIA+ rights during her internship at Human Rights Watch in New York illustrate her passion to address any form of social inequality and injustice. Besides participating in the University of Applied Arts study programme, Una pursues her keen interest in theatre, music, history, and politics.

Kevin Jagschitz

Kevin Jagschitz studied philosophy at the University of Vienna before joining the CDS study programme. The societal and psychological effects of technological development, the environmental effects in the era of the Anthropocene, and the notion of a new, holistic way of thinking about our world, especially questioning the traditional distinctions between the arts and the sciences, motivates Kevin to be part of the CDS study programme in Vienna. In his approach to research he wants to be experimental and emphasises modern forms of knowledge transfer. In addition to his academic ambitions, in previous years Kevin worked on various film projects and plans to expand his artistic practice to other fields, such as performance art and literature.

Johanna Lindner

Johanna Lindner graduated from high school in 2016 in Germany and participated during her school days in a congress about future plans and urban development where she was a team leader of a project to improve her home city’s infrastructure. After finishing high school she served as a volunteer in a NGO for cultural exchange, teaching English in Cambodia for one year. In Cambodia she experienced a different culture, the effects of climate change, and a political system that differs dramatically from the system in her home country. Johanna is interested in a great number of fields, including science, civics, politics, humanities, psychology, and seeks to understand and find answers to numerous questions. She particularly cares about questions such as how different disciplines work together, influence each other, or how they might change in the future and what impacts will these changes have on society and daily life in the future?

Johanna Teufel

Johanna Teufel combines her love for playing classical music with political activism. She finished her pre-studies at the conservatory while she was still at high school and since then plays in various orchestras. Johanna is dedicated player of the double bass. She is also a spokesperson of one of the leading Austrian student organisations and manages its PR, video, and online activities. At seventeen she was elected federal student representative; since then her work has focused on educational projects such as designing political education for students. This vision led her recently to become editor-in-chief of Austria’s biggest student blog. Her pre-scientific paper takes a cross-disciplinary approach to gender issues. She finds the range of courses available at the CDS study programme particularly impressive, which enables her to widen her knowledge and work in a learning environment that inspires and empowers her.

Leo Lanz

Leo Lanz graduated from high school in 2017 in Germany where he received a broad humanistic education, but he also appreciated classes in mathematics and especially in computer science (and computer games). He discovered his pleasure in art, theatre, and music when he had the opportunity to direct the high school’s theatre group and put on Goethe’s Faust, Part One in which he also played Faust. Leo is also interested in language and reads English literature with a great passion, especially after taking part an exchange programme in 2016 between his high school and a U.S. high school near Boston. Leo decided to join the CDS study programme because it builds bridges between thus far unrelated fields and it also offers the big picture of current and prospective developments in science, technology, philosophy, art, and society. He is convinced that the CDS study programme could take education to the next level, because there is no need to focus just on one special topic or one discipline and ignore all the other possibilities. It is just the right time to pursue a broad variety of interests and connect them with one another, thus forming a greater network and basis of knowledge in order to advance cross-disciplinary knowledge and make a difference in the world.

Cecilia Janz

Cecilia Janz graduated from high school in 2017 in Vienna and joined the CDS study programme in the same year. She grew up in different parts of the world, including Geneva, Sarajevo, and New York City, and living abroad not only allowed her to learn to speak English and French fluently, but also led to her profound interest in other cultures and societies and tolerance towards them. Furthermore, this background has enhanced her skills in intercultural communication and fostered a strong team spirit, independent thinking, and a strong sense of responsibility. She is interested in music, photography, theatre, and drawing. Cecilia is especially inspired by the passion and diversity of her fellow CDS students as well as the freedom offered by the interdisciplinary nature of the CDS study programme.

Aleksandar Vučenović

Aleksandar Vučenović studies Media Informatics and Visual Computing at the Technische Universität Wien and is currently also participating in the CDS study programme. Besides his interests in his academic studies, he also runs a record label called Amen, which focuses primarily on contemporary club music, experimental and atmospheric sounds. The label was founded in 2016, when he was just 18 years old. Since then, he takes care of all the curating, promotion, artworks, art direction, and visuals as the head of the label. Aleksandar has always been very interested in the visual aspect of music, and he began to make covers and videos when he was very young. As he got more in touch with visual arts, he also had the opportunity to exhibit some of his work in group shows in Leipzig and Vienna. His broad interest in sciences and progress then led him to study at the Technische Universität Wien, where Aleksandar was first introduced to interdisciplinary studies, combining media, visual computing and computer science. After a year he decided to broaden his horizon even further with the experience of a cross-disciplinary approach, and he therefore joined the CDS study programme at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

Maximilian Margreiter

Maximilian Margreiter studied philosophy, mathematics, economics, and computer science at various universities in Vienna during the past few years. He is very interested in trans and cross-disciplinary thinking, and therefore his main interests have been at the margins and interfaces of these fields where they are starting to overlap. Most of his leisure time he spends visiting museums and galleries in Vienna or sitting in front of the Theseustempel in the Volksgarten, pretending to read some obscure and unpronounceable French theorists while actually just enjoying life in general and the sunshine in particular.

Ambika Shorny

Ambika Shorny joined the CDS study programme in 2017.

Mara Gabriel

Mara Gabriel graduated from high school in 2017 before she entered the CDS study programme. Her main areas of interest are literature, politics, and arts. For the last two years Mara was active in a youth organisation as a referee for finances and activism. During this period of political activism, she had the opportunity to present workshops on various topics concerned with social, political, as well as economic issues. Further, Mara has experience in team working through her political engagement, but also through her music education in singing and playing the piano. She has a considerable knowledge of organisational skills, as Mara organised, for example, various seminars for juveniles and the first Pride in Vorarlberg. The CDS study programme offers to her the kind of broad approach and open mindedness that the world needs for making changes.

Michaela Koffler

Michaela Koffler is a high-school graduate from Carinthia, Austria. She joined the CDS study programme due to her wide range of interest, and even more due to her desire to contribute to the shaping and development of our future. Since her high-school days, she has been interested in a wide range of fields, including history, philosophy, politics, languages, and science, but especially in writing and sociology. Michaela enjoys the CDS study programme not only because it matches her interests, but also because of the highly diverse backgrounds of her fellow CDS students. CDS is a new educational approach that has great potential because it allows consideration of subject areas from multiple theoretical perspectives and schools of thought.

Bernhard Lenz

Bernhard Lenz worked for several years in the field of industrial robotics, after finishing his MA in mechatronics. Studying at CDS gives him a new perspective and complements his work. Extensive travelling due to his job and his greatest passion for rock-climbing led him to ask the big questions: The more he became aware of global correlations between existing technologies and the consequences that derive from them on a global scale, the more he began to question the effects and the impacts of his work as an engineer. He finds the range of courses available at the CDS study programme particularly impressive, and the cohort of students extremely diverse, creating an enriching environment in which he not only can broaden his personal experiences and his education, but which also gives his work as an engineer a new enhanced perspective with which he can examine critically the global issues of our time.

Nathan Spasić

In 2017 Nathan enrolled in the CDS study programme hoping to find new ways of getting to grips topics such as globalisation, capitalism and its direct impacts on labour, migration, and climate change. To understand an image in its entirety, it is vital to cover its different aspects and to adopt an alternative point of view. Nathan graduated from high school in Vienna in 2014. Shortly after that, he decided to devote himself entirely to his camera and started documenting far right demonstrations. What began as a form of activism evolved into journalism and soon he began working with television channels and newspapers in France, Canada, and Austria. He has also been involved with artistic installations and independent theatre projects. He enjoys linering in cinemas, riding his bicycle, and fantasising about Yugoslav rock music of the 1970s.

Matthäus Mayr

Matthäus Mayr is a graduate from a higher secondary technical collage for computer science and electronics. During his studies, Matthew did an internship at the University of Salzburg, in collaboration with IRCAM Paris, on the research being conducted there to develop software that interacts with singers or other musicians. After graduating, he did his alternative civilian service at the laboratory of the university clinic in Salzburg. Besides participating in the CDS study programme, Matthew also studies philosophy at the University of Vienna with a focus on the interaction of modern technologies in different fields, especially the philological and cultural aspects.

Maximilia Josina Hogrebe

Maximilia Josina Hogrebe values the multidisciplinary focus of CDS, as it allows her to engage with a wide field of topics and address urgent problems of our present and the future, which can be solved by Cross-Disciplinary Strategies. Her motivation is to work in fields where problem-solving is particularly important in intercultural issues and topics that are transparent and negotiable in different sectors. She is an active member of the Amnesty International youth group in Berlin, where she grew up; at Amnesty International she is confronted with current global issues and campaigns to end the abuse of human rights. Her primary focus of interest lies is global challenges and globalization in our modern world. In her leisure time she visits art exhibitions because she has great enthusiasm for the visual arts. Aware of the fact that technology has converted itself into a significant integral element in the modern art world, Maximilia would like to combine her passion for the arts with her interest in the sciences and global processes to develop interdisciplinary strategies that can make changes.

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