Ground Connections

Our People

Linda Knox

Associate Director

Linda enjoys “backstage” work that enables students and faculty to practice new approaches to teaching and learning. Her personal priorities are to make sure that the whole collection of DMC resources are accessible to everyone who needs them and that they work together elegantly for every user.

Reach out to Linda and the Ground Connections team for help with any of our spaces or with projects that might need a full suite of DMC resources, on site or off.

Tom Bray

Converging Technologies Consultant

A member of Ground Connections and Adjunct faculty member in the Stamps School of Art & Design, Tom has been a media, theater, performance, installation, and event professional for more than 45 years.

Colleagues benefit from Tom’s fluency in both the technical and artistic sides of media-rich projects; his support enables them to expand their reach and delight their audiences, in or out of the classroom.  His facility with technologies and ability to integrate them into any project allows him to get the tools and tech out of the way of the user experience.

He has traveled extensively worldwide, assisting faculty from various disciplines with their research projects. Tom’s services are available to all students, faculty, and staff at the UM.

Tom has won both Emmy and Telly awards for his work in media, he was the Chief Engineer for WCBN, and he really enjoys doing fun stuff. He knows a lot about audio & video and everything that helps put them together. And in Tom’s words “I still retain my curiosity about what’s around the next corner.”

Picture of Sian

Sian Olson Dowis

Student Program Manager

Sian manages and supports Ground Connections’ diverse group of student employees. She has over six years of experience teaching at the university level, and has developed and taught original courses on feminists movements, labor history, and global history. She is particularly interested in inclusive pedagogy, and she is passionate about promoting student well-being and building accessible, creative, and joyful learning environments. You can reach out to Sian to learn more about our student consultant program and how our consultants can help you engage with the Digital Media Commons’ technologies.

Sian holds a B.A. in History (Highest Honors) from the University of Michigan and is currently completing a Ph.D. in U.S. History at Northwestern University. Her research interests include the histories of deindustrialization and post-industrialism, urbanism and urban planning, social movements, and organized labor. Her doctoral dissertation explores politics, economic development, and activism in Detroit from the 1970s through the turn of the millennium. A Mitten State enthusiast, she is delighted to be back at her alma mater and her beloved home state. 

Shawn O’Grady

Fabrication Underground Manager

Shawn manages daily operations at the Duderstadt Center’s Fabrication Underground. He has developed and taught courses for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Washtenaw Community College. He served as a cryptologist in the US Navy, and briefly as a truck driver in the US Army reserve.

Shawn’s background is in Information Technology and CNC programming. He is immersed in all things related to 3d printing and is passionate about supporting the technology. He thoroughly enjoys learning and sharing with others and strives to provide a hands-on experience for those who want to learn more about 3d printing, 3d scanning, 3d modeling and all other forms of digital manufacturing.

Kathi Reister

Gallery Manager

As Manager of the Duderstadt Center (DC) Gallery, Kathi manages the ever-changing schedule of gallery exhibits and events. She is available to guide students through the exhibition process: planning, installing, and promoting their work.

Kathi is a DEI co-lead for the DC, and with her co-leads Kylie Grace Snyder and Sian Olson Dowis they are trying to inform, improve communication and generally make the DC a more positive place to be.

Her past university work has included University & Development Events, and stints with UMS and UMMA.

Kathi has a B.S. in Biology and M.A. in Arts Administration and loves seeing the two collide. “One of the best parts of working at the DC is seeing the projects that emerge when students from varied disciplines come together.”

Outside of work Kathi enjoys photography, traveling, hiking and connecting with local arts!

Ryan Wilcox

Groundworks Manager

As the Producer of Instructional Content and Manager of Groundworks, Ryan wears a lot of hats around the Duderstadt Center. He works with students, faculty, and staff to introduce them to the DC facilities, provide training, and consult on projects to determine the variety of ways to proceed with them. Ryan’s “Things to think about when…” approach helps others understand that there is no right or wrong way to create content, but a variety of approaches to media creation and he can help find the right approach for your project. He is a big fan of taking advantage of the tools you have available to you. Fortunately, the equipment and facilities available to you in the Duderstadt Center will help find your path. 

Ryan’s background is in film and television production. With over 30 years’ experience and a passion for new tech gadgets and toys, he truly embraces the use of media tools in everything from instructional videos, to complete narratives of the story you wish to be told.