I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. At Georgia Tech I lead the Culture and Technology Lab (CAT Lab), where we study how culture impacts the use and production of technology with a focus on learning applications, computer science education and designing new technologies with culture as a point of convergence.
In 2012 I received a PhD from Georgia Tech in Human Centered Computing. My dissertation work was based on the design and deployment of the Glitch Game Testers, a program that leveraged young urban African American males passion for playing video games into an interest in studying computing. Over 60% of the young men who participated in the program went on to pursue college or additional training after high school in computer science, information technology or digital media.
Before to coming to Georgia Tech I was a research scientist at the University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development Center in the UPCLOSE Lab. While at UPCLOSE I lead the development of the Click! Urban Adventure Game, a mixed-reality role playing game that sought to increase middle school females interest in science and technology through developing peer relationships that encouraged science and technology talk.
In addition to my research I work as an installation and performance artist, using technology, ceramics, food, and other mediums to encourage participation in art venues. This work has begun to be integrated into my research. For example, the Kitchen Lab project at the Walker Art Center explores theories around museum learning that focus on participation and communities of practice in the museum.
I study specific groups use of technology and try to situate their technology use in relationship to their cultural values. In studying young African American males use of games I found they were less likely to hack or modify games than young men who went into computer science. This was based upon a high value on sports and sportsmanship that lead them to play the games as the designers intended, instead of exploring the boundaries of the computation. This approach continually challenges my assumptions about designing a new technology or intervention based upon the different value systems that people bring to technology.