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RA Spotlights: Dhara, Sandro, and Madison

Jun 1 2018

We are excited to continue highlighting our incredible team of research assistants. Today, we invite you to meet three more members of the CESTA team: Dhara Yu, Alessandro Hall, and Madison Coots.


Dhara Yu is a freshman considering a major in symbolic systems and a minor in history. As part of the Natural Things project through the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, she is responsible for researching natural history volumes and contributing to the database of natural histories from the early modern period. She is also developing a map visualization that brings to life the spatial component of the database, to enhance understanding of the global networks that resulted in the proliferation of new scientific ideas.

Outside of CESTA and academics, you can find Dhara rock climbing, running around campus, watching movies, searching for new eateries, and generally accumulating random knowledge. 




Alessandro Hall is a sophomore from Brooklyn majoring in urban studies. His research focuses on issues of conservation and heritage, especially through the lens of architecture and archaeology. Alessandro was drawn to CESTA because of his passion for geography and his desire to use technology to preserve knowledge and make it more accessible to the public. He works on the Urban Legacy of Ancient Rome project, which seeks to digitize and georeference historic maps of Rome with archaeological photographs. His primary duty is to gather metadata on the Ernest Nash photo collection, which captures monuments, temples, and amphitheaters as they were being unearthed for the first time. When not at work, Alessandro can be found cooking, playing basketball, napping in his hammock, or taking long walks in the outdoors.



Madison is a junior studying Management Science and Engineering with a minor in English literature. She is collaborating with Dr. Luca Scholz on his project, “Beyond Borders: Mapping Early Modern Regimes of Movement,” to develop new methods of representing early modern states and to create visualizations of early modern political orders as regimes of movement. Madison’s primary contributions to the project include georeferencing maps and using statistical methods to estimate missing pieces of data from the historical timeline. What excites Madison most about pursuing digital humanities research is the ability to contribute to the synthesis and generation of new knowledge through the innovative use of computational methods to make novel humanistic inquiries.

Outside of academics, Madison works part-time as a data scientist for a tech startup and is also the manager of the Stanford Men’s Volleyball team. In her free time, she enjoys reading fin de siècle literature, playing the piano, and making terrariums.