SAMUEL R. MENDEZ

ABOUT ME

"I could trace about 80% of my humor back to specific SpongeBob episodes."
Research Interests: community-based participatory research (CBPR), social determinants of health, digital documentary methods.
Long-term Goals: develop animation and video as participatory research methods; build empathy across community research partners; develop research partnership models and platforms to disseminate lessons learned.
Personal Note: I make films. I conduct community-engaged research. And I do (mostly) front-end web development. As I recognize the time & effort I put into learning these skills, I recognize the privilege of having such chances in the first place. I'm determined to use the chances I've been given to make the spaces & systems I occupy accessible to a wider range of people. I appreciate direct feedback if I unwittingly act against these values by making a space exclusive or unwelcoming.

HIGHLIGHTED PROJECTS

'10 Days in Saigon' cartoon icon
A 10-week web series documenting wheelchair travel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
  • Discusses wheelchair accessibility in playful, digestible videos for an audience that might not necessarily be looking specifically for accessibility information.
  • Aims to challenge common mass media images of disability as an object of pity or "inspiration".
'A Bodega' cartoon icon
An experimental documentary; an asset-based look at health equity, made with ingredients from a bodega in Lawrence, MA.
  • Takes an asset-based look at food access and corner stores, respecting the work already underway to address the gaps left behind by inequitable social systems.
  • Shows the potential of animation as a documentary method to inspire empathy and amplify underheard voices.
Wheelchair Travel Wiki logo
Web app allowing users to document and access location-based data around wheelchair accessibility.
  • Creating a structure for crowd-sourced accessibility information, focusing on a sweet spot of brevity, useful details, and contextualizing information.
  • Designed with web accessibility in mind—error spotting and suggestions for improvement welcome!

NEWS

YYYY.MM Update
2017.11 By Foot: Busan and the Sea screened at Chinh India Kids Film Festival in New Delhi, India.
2017.11 A Bodega selected for inclusion in the National Academy of Medicine's Visualizing Health Equity project. The film was included in a pop-up gallery, and I was personally invited to speak at a panel event in Washington DC.
2017.10 By Foot: Busan and the Sea won the Exceptional Artistry award for animation at the Official Latino Short Film Festival in New York City.
2017.10 A festival edit of 10 Days in Saigon was nominated for Best Travel Web Series and screened in Limassol, Cyprus, as part of the TRAVEL FilmFest.
2017.09 A Bodega screened in three Chicago parks as part of the Chicago Onscreen program by the Chicago Park District.
2017.06 10 Days in Saigon covered by Giant Robot Media. [ Link ]

ANIMATED FILMS

'No One CanHear You' cartoon icon
A mixed-media animation: the memories of Officer Hernández, an astronaut losing contact with her crewmates and drifting off into space.
'How to Make Yuca Frita' cartoon icon
An instructional animation: peel, chop, remove the stringy core, boil, fry, and eat.
'By Foot: Busan and the Sea' cartoon icon
An experimental documentary: a solo trip through Busan, South Korea.
'After, After That' cartoon icon
An experimental documentary: a cross between two marks.
'Persefone's Breakfast' cartoon icon
An experimental animation: Persephone's voice messages to Hades as she leaves the Underworld once and for all.
'Animating Food' cartoon icon
Experiments in object animation to depict different facets of texture, color, and changes over time in food.

PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH

'Library Partnership' cartoon icon
Prototype development and user-centered design in a partnership with Chicago public libraries to tailor + implement an educational tool about clinical trials.
ChicagoCHEC logo
A tri-instiutional U54 partnership focused on cancer health equity in Chicago. Community engagement activities + long-term partnerships to increase underserved communities' access to tri-instiutional resources.
'Perceptions of Planned Parenthood' cartoon icon
Qualitative study on medical providers' perceptions of Planned Parenthood in family planning referrals.
'Social Media Use' cartoon icon
A content analysis of community-based organizations' social media posts.
'Bodegas Saludable' cartoon icon
Video explaining a community research partner's public health program.

WEB DEVELOPMENT

'Everything But Apples' logo
A multiplayer web-enabled party game; a social-digital version of Apples to Apples.
NYT React App icon
A demo web app made with React and Bootstrap that lets users search New York Times Articles and save select articles to the page.
GiftPitch icon
Front-end logic for a web app letting users take a personality quiz to help find the perfect gift for someone from Amazon, Etsy, or Ebay.

VIDEO

'Artemis 1' cartoon icon
A fundraising video for a high-altitude balloon launch by [South Side Hackerspace: Chicago] to document the 2017 solar eclipse.
Teeny logo
A fundraising video for a Kickstarter campaign promoting a Taiwanese artisan's work.

PUBLIC ART

'Connect the Dots!' icon
An interactive art installation taking place in a public bathroom.
'Walks through Cambridge' cartoon icon
A site-specific public art installation in Harvard Yard, produced for Harvard ARTS FIRST 2011.
'Badly Drawn Battle Game' icon
A visual art technique in which video is projected onto a site-specific surface. It involved 3D modeling, video, animation, and public art installation techniques.