Misha Alia Awad
Developer for Digital Arts and Humanities
Misha is a geospatial programmer and analyst with a research focus on the intersection of the environment and humanities. Originally from West Virginia, she graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in Chinese in 2018 and has since worked and studied in China, Japan, and Scotland, developing an eclectic career path in education, advocacy, and Chinese and Japanese interpretation. A combination of major changes from the pandemic and a longing for her home in Appalachia catalyzed her passion for developing tech for research purposes as she discovered its use for archiving the previously rarely documented history of people of color in Appalachia through an archival organization based in Tennessee, Black in Appalachia. Through their collaboration, Misha discovered the uses of interactive mapping in displaying the stark history of Appalachians of color that is often hard to lay true through less visual methods. Since that discovery, Misha has continued developing geospatial tools for both Black in Appalachia’s archive and website, as well as for research at an environmental institute in Japan (IGES), and continues to explore technical methods to communicate complex topics in an accessible way to all audiences.