People

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We're an interdisciplinary group at Northwestern University and the University of Washington. Faculty, postdocs, graduate students, affiliates, and alumni are listed below (in alphabetical order within each section).

Faculty[edit]

Benjamin Mako Hill (University of Washington)[edit]

Unedited picture of Mako in Berlin (2016).

After contributing peer production communities in various ways since I was a teenager, I began to realize (the hard way) that peer production rarely works and that getting it to work remained much more art than science. After being talked into the idea that academia was the right place to fix this by Eric von Hippel, I've devoted the last decade of my life to trying to contribute to an emerging science of Internet-based collaborative production. I've been told I'm a "big data" person although I still itch a little bit when I hear the term.

In the more boring accounting (which I've copied and pasted from elsewhere): I am an Assistant Professor in the University of Washington Department of Communication and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Human-Centered Design and Engineering. At UW, I am also Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences, the eScience Institute, and the "Design Use Build" (DUB) group that supports research on on human computer interaction. I am also a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and an affiliate of the Institute of Quantitative Social Science at Harvard.

Much more information is on my academic homepage. If you need to find me, I have put more detailed information online that I probably should.

Aaron Shaw (Northwestern University)[edit]

Airbrushed, filtered, and meitu'd purikura of Aaron in Evanston (2012ish)

Hello! I'm Aaron. I grew up around New York and went to school for a good long while in northern California. Along the way, I got involved in participatory movements and projects of various kinds. At first, these were more traditional movements promoting egalitarian social agendas and open organization. Over time, I got excited about and involved in peer production projects, online communities, and other sorts of online collaboration.

These days, I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern where I currently direct the Media, Technology & Society (MTS) Program. At Northwestern, I am also part of the Technology & Social Behavior Program, courtesy appointed in the Northwestern sociology department, a faculty associate of the Institute for Policy Research, the Buffett Institute, and the SONIC lab. Elsewhere, I am a faculty associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. A good place to find more information is my website. If you'd like to get in touch, please send me an email (and don't be shy about re-sending if I don't reply).

Postdocs[edit]

Sayamindu Dasgupta (University of Washington)[edit]

Sayamindu, mildly perturbed.

I grew up in the city of Kolkata, India. At some point in school I wanted to study Physics, but then soon after, I came across computers, which messed up my plans considerably. Roughly 9 years after I had my first encounter with a com­puter, I read Sey­mour Papert’s Mind­storms: Chil­dren, Com­put­ers and Pow­er­ful Ideas, and a year after that, I found myself at the MIT Media Lab, as a grad­u­ate stu­dent in a research group that, among other things, continue the work Sey­mour had started many years ago.

After getting a PhD from MIT, I am now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington's eScience Institute, where I study, design, and build pathways that engage young people in learning with data. I also do a considerable amount of learning with data myself, where I use (mostly) quantitative methods to study how children and youth learn in large-scale informal online communities.

You can find more about my work on my homepage.

Graduate Students[edit]

Jeremy Foote (Northwestern)[edit]

Jeremy and his son Will, who had just heard about some of the lab's recent findings

I'm Jeremy - I grew up in Nevada, did my undergrad (in English!) at BYU in Utah, and then worked as a practitioner of online collaboration. I worked as the product manager for a collaborative translation company in Utah, but decided that I really wanted to study how online collaboration worked. I did a Master's degree at Purdue, studying with Seungyoon Lee, and I'm now a PhD student at Northwestern, working with Aaron.

Most of my current research is focused around new online peer production communities - why people start new communities, what impact project founders have, and what early collaboration and communication structures are associated with productive communities. More broadly, I am interested in the social construction of understanding, knowledge, and opinion, and especially how automated systems (algorithms, bots, etc.) influence the way social cognition happens. More about my research stuff is at my academic homepage.

Most of my spare time is spent with my family or with my church community - my wife and I have three young kids, and so my hobbies include sweeping up cheerios, picking up Legos, and playing Chutes and Ladders.

Emilia Gan (University of Washington)[edit]

Emilia G.

I'm a first-year PhD student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington (Seattle). Currently, I am working on gender differences in the way kids use the Scratch Online Community. My main research interests are Computer Science Education and Educational Technology. I am especially interested in how people learn programming.

Before starting graduate school in CS, I earned an MS (Pathobiology) from UW. I initially started learning how to program with the thought of using these skills for analyzing large biological data sets, but I eventually realized everything I was doing was pointing me away from biology and towards computer science.

Before starting graduate school at UW, I homeschooled with my kids for over a decade, and before that I earned an MD from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT.

Wm Salt Hale (University of Washington)[edit]

Salt shedding the holiday cheer (2016)

Growing up in Seattle during the early 90s offered many technological opportunities, most of which I took advantage of. As an avid GNU/Linux user for over 20 years, I have been exposed to numerous technology orientated communities on various levels.

During high school I entered the Running Start program, completing an Associate's degree in Computer Science from South Seattle College. After which I transfered to the University of Washington, pursuing the same major. It was not a fit, instead I developed a number of businesses, traveled, and spoke at various conferences, conventions, events, faires, and festivals.

Upon returning to the University of Washington to complete my Batchelor's degree in Communication, I connected with Mako and was shown a world of academia previously unimagined. After another year of traveling, I have decided to return to the UW Department of Comm yet again and am just beginning to delve deeper into the intersection of Technology and Society in the MA/PhD program.

I am extremely interested in: Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) and Culture; Hackers, Makers, and Breakers; and Computer-Mediated Communication using real-time synchronous systems. Along with numerous hobbies including: urban hiking (walking), dancing (folk, east coast swing, lindy, blues), windsports (windsurfing, kiteboarding, sailing), bicycling, boffering, cooking, driving, event planning, gaming, programming, public speaking, reading, robotics, skiing, and travel.

Up to date information and links to various profiles around the web can be found on my IndieWeb presence, The Alt World of Salt.

Jim Maddock (Northwestern)[edit]

Jim eats a cheese sandwich while riding a cow in the Swiss Alps

I first became interested in HCI during my undergraduate degree at the University of Washington. I earned a degree in Human Centered Design and Engineering, where I worked with Professor Kate Starbird to understand rumoring behavior in crisis situations. I also studied Medieval European history.

I am a second year PhD Student in the Computer Science and Communications departments at Northwestern University. I currently work with Darren Gergle and Aaron Shaw, studying collaboration and coordination dynamics within social computing systems, such as Wikipedia and Zooniverse.

When I'm not working on research, I'm probably riding my bike or planning a backpacking trip. You can find more about my research at my website.

Sneha Narayan (Northwestern)[edit]

Sneha hanging out by Lake Michigan

I'm a PhD student in the Technology and Social Behavior program at Northwestern University, advised by Aaron Shaw. I grew up in Bangalore, India, studied mathematics at Oberlin College, and received a masters degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Central European University, Budapest.

I've spent many years living in housing co-ops, and volunteering on the boards of co-operative organizations. My involvement in the co-op movement led to my interest in learning more (and producing knowledge) about participatory, volunteer-run endeavors such as peer production projects and online collaboration communities. My research focuses on understanding how newcomers join and become embedded in volunteer-run organizations, and what kinds of technological interventions might affect their continued participation in these communities.

When I'm not working on my PhD, I'm probably riding my bike or helping run The Recyclery.

Nathan TeBlunthuis (University of Washington)[edit]

The only photogenic picture of Nate in existence. Thanks Sam Shorey!

I'm Nate! I grew up in Eastern Washington, where I worked in a glass Laboratory at PNNL where I contributed to a number of material science papers. I went to college at Whitworth University where I received a double-B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science in 2012. As an undergrad I was part of a humble bioinformatics research group and contributed to research in structured search engines. After this I worked at Microsoft for a couple of years where I did a number of small things mainly related to search suggestions for Bing multimedia. After this I worked as a data science consultant in medical informatics. I've been a Linux user for 10 years. I contribute to free software projects when I can.

These days I am an MA/PhD student at the University of Washington primarily interested in online communities and politics. I'm particularly interested in how organizational norms, practices, and forms emerge (constructed and adopted) or are disrupted (replaced by new forms). I hope that understanding this will help expand and improve management of the commons. I'm also interested in how online communities self--organize and interface with social movements and political organizations. I draw on my computer science background to operationalize interesting concepts from digital trace data.

My most developed project (with Mako and Aaron) is titled "Density dependence without resource partitioning on a Digital Mobilization Platform: Population ecology of collective actions on Change.org." This uses topic models to study competition between online petitions. I presented this research at the Internet Policy and Politics Conference at Oxford in 2016 and will present at ICA in 2017. Preprints of the full version may be available soon.

My main hobbies are skiing, rock climbing, guitar playing, and cooking. I'm married to Amanda, a community organizer and student at UW medical school.

Undergraduate Students[edit]

Naruth Kongurai (University of Washington)[edit]

I'm Naruth - you can call me Sam too! I am a third-year undergraduate student who is pursuing a degree in Communication at the University of Washington (Seattle campus). I grew up in Bangkok, Thailand and was an exchange student who studied at a US high school in Redwood Falls, Minnesota prior to coming to Seattle for an academic study. I do not have a background in Computer Science, but I had interned as a software developer and a mobile developer both here in the United States and back at home in Thailand.

When I was about to become a junior, I was encouraged by Professor Randal Beam who teaches in the Communication department to be actively involved in the research community. I did not know what I was interested in at the time, but I was certain it had to be related to technology. I eventually found out about this research group and met with Professor Mako for the first time. Now that I am a part of this awesome community of researchers, I am starting my work on analyzing how technological platforms might affect children and teenagers in terms of their learning experience. And the platform I will be investigating for my research is the online coding platform Scratch.

You can read more about me on my homepage.

Affiliates[edit]

Andrés Monroy-Hernández (Microsoft Research)[edit]

🚀

I'm a researcher in FUSE Labs at Microsoft Research and an affiliate faculty at the University of Washington. My work focuses on the study and design of social computing systems. Some areas I've worked on are crowdsourcing, peer production, remixing, civic tech, urban computing, and online learning.

Some projects I've worked on lately include Calendar.help, a hybrid intelligence scheduling assistant partly powered by crowds; Narcotweets, a research project studying how people use social media during war and political uprisings; and the Scratch Online Community, a website where millions of young people learn to program and remix games and animations.

You can find me at @andresmh or at www.andresmh.com.

Jonathan T. Morgan (Wikimedia Foundation)[edit]

Jonathan in his preferred horizontal orientation.

I'm a design researcher at Wikimedia. Most of my research involves understanding the sociotechnical mechanisms through which participants in Wikimedia project coordinate their work across time and space. My goal is to do everything I can to foster fun & meaningful experiences for the millions of humans across the world who read, write, teach, research, remix, and hack Wikipedia. You can find out more about me here and here.

I am a voracious and omnivorous reader, and a passionately amateurish musician. When I'm away from the keyboard, you can usually find me exploring the beaches and forests of Whidbey Island with my wife and my dog Ozy.