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) except when we've failed at alphabetizing.

You can see pictures of all together over at our group photos page. Picture of us individually are here.

We are a friendly group, and we welcome new affiliates! If you have been working with us for a while, perhaps it's time to add yourself to this page as an affiliate. Feel free to add yourself (use the Edit tab), and please include a sentence on HOW you are related to the group (and a fun picture of yourself!).

Faculty

Benjamin Mako Hill (University of Washington)

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. Since starting as an academic, I have published tens of thousand of articles—nearly all of them are the.

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 & Engineering and Computer Science & 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 contact information online than I probably should.


Aaron Shaw (Northwestern University)

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 Associate 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).


Sayamindu Dasgupta (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

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 and his colleagues had started many years ago.

After getting a PhD from MIT, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington's eScience Institute and was hosted by the Department of Communication. Currently, I am an assistant professor at the School of Information and Library Science, UNC Chapel Hill, 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.


Sneha Narayan (Carleton College)

Sneha hanging out by Lake Michigan

I'm faculty in the Computer Science department at Carleton College. Before that, I was a PhD candidate in the Technology and Social Behavior program at Northwestern University, advised by Aaron Shaw (whose bio you can find by scrolling up a couple of sections). 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. For (slightly) more information about all this, you can check out my homepage.

Jeremy Foote (Purdue University)

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

I grew up in Nevada, did my undergrad (in English!) at BYU in Utah, and then worked as a practitioner of online collaboration. I was the product manager for a small collaborative translation company in Utah. I decided that I cared a lot more about understanding collaboration than designing software, and I came back to school. I did a Master's degree at Purdue, studying with Seungyoon Lee, and then worked on a PhD at Northwestern, as a member of CDSC. I'm now back at Purdue in the Brian Lamb School of Communication, this time as a faculty member.

Most of my current research is focused around the decisions that people make regarding new online communities - why people start new communities, what early communication structures are associated with productive communities, and why people choose to participate in what community instead of another. I'm particularly interested in how these decisions scale up into the social construction of understanding, knowledge, and opinion. More about my research stuff is at my academic homepage.

Much of my spare time is spent with my family (my wife and I have 4 kids!) or with my church community. I am not athletic but I really enjoy playing sports, especially soccer. I love the Midwest but really miss hiking and skiing in the mountains and try to do both as much as possible.

Graduate Students

Kaylea Champion (University of Washington)

I am investigating how society creates (or fails to create) humane online environments -- those which enable connection, exploration, and collaboration.

After growing up in Oregon, I spent two decades in Chicago, primarily at the University of Chicago as an academic technology director and consultant. I have a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and an MS in Computer Science, both from the University of Chicago. I also hold an MA in Critical & Creative Thinking from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

My husband, three kids, and I live in Shoreline, WA, which seems to be Seattle's version of Evanston. I'm particularly fond of visiting museums, tromping in the woods, cooking for crowds, smashing goblins, and scribbling fiction.


Emilia Gan (University of Washington)

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)

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)

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.




Nathan TeBlunthuis (University of Washington)

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

I'm Nate!

These days I am a PhD candidate at the University of Washington. My research covers ecological analyses of online communication, lifecycles and governance in online communities, and the analysis of field experiments in online community platforms.

Many people invoke "ecosystem" as metaphor to emphasize complexity and interdependence in communication systems like the Internet. However, there is also a huge natural science called "ecology" which successfully learns about biological ecosystems. Organizational sociologists and communication scientists have already appropriated theories, models and methods from ecology to understand interdependence between human organizations like firms and social movements. I draw both from these social science literatures and from bio-ecology to understand how environmental contexts and interdependence between online communities shapes their growth, survival and organizing processes. My master's thesis (with Mako and Aaron) applied this approach using topic models to study competition between online petitions.

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 briefly worked as a data science consultant in medical informatics.

I care deeply about the free software and free culture movements. I've been using Linux for 10 years and I support the free software community as a member of the free software foundation. I've been coding for 20 years and a Linux user 14 years. I also contribute to [Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Groceryheist].

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

Charles Kiene (University of Washington)

Charlie.

I am a MA/PhD student in the Communication Department at the University of Washington. I currently employ qualitative methods like in-depth interviewing and participant observation in my research, but I am leaning into more quantitative techniques over the course of my PhD program.

From Reddit subcommunities to Discord servers to World of Warcraft guilds, my interests lie in the strategies of management and organization in online communities, especially when they experience massive change, like user influxes, platform shifts, new technologies, mergers, or an exodus of community members. I'm also interested in the technologies online communities use to organize, such as bots for automating redundant aspects of moderation work, communication applications and the role of voice calls, and other forms of end-user programming that allow online groups to govern and defend their digital boundaries.

Details at User:Healspersecond

Sejal Khatri (University of Washington)

Sejal

I am a second-year masters student in the Information School at the University of Washington, Seattle. I am specializing in User Experience Research and Design in the Information Management program at iSchool. I did my undergrad in Computer Science at SPPU in Pune, India, and then interned for Wikimedia Foundation as a UX Engineer. My current research interests revolve around online communities, peer-production, and open source software. When I'm not working, I participate in design jams and hackathons where I get the opportunity to turn curiosities and concerns into design interventions.

Floor Fiers (Northwestern University)

Floor before she cut 30cm off her hair.

Hi there! I am is a first-year PhD student in the Media, Technology and Society program at Northwestern and academically speaking, I am interested in the field of digital inequality, particularly in how Internet skills and usage can lead to different life outcomes. Outside academia, I enjoy filmmaking, a little bit of writing and organizing music & theater festivals in the Netherlands.

I am one proud Dutchie, but I nevertheless have pursued educational opportunities in the United States since 2013: I first came to attend the United World College (Montezuma, NM) and I recently graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Sociology from St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY). My undergraduate honors thesis focused on status seeking strategies on Instagram.

Sohyeon Hwang (Northwestern University)

Sohyeon waiting for her Korean food to come out.

I'm a first-year PhD student in the Media, Technology, and Society program at Northwestern University, advised by Aaron Shaw. My research interests broadly circle around online participation and governance. Right now I'm interested in understanding how governing structures and processes impact diverse, large-scale online communities. Outside of work, I like to eat french fries, nap, and take (blurry) film photos.


Affiliate Researchers

Andrés Monroy-Hernández (Snap Research)

🚀

I'm a researcher at Snap Inc. 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)

Jonathan in his preferred horizontal orientation.

I'm a design researcher at the Wikimedia Foundation and a lecturer in the UW department of Human Centered Design & Engineering. Most of my research involves understanding the sociotechnical mechanisms through which participants in Wikimedia projects 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 and my work here and here.

I helped design and lead the Community Data Science Workshops, and I have taught two Community Data-adjacent courses at UW: Data Science for UX Researchers and Human Centered Data Science.

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 Puget Sound with my wife and my dog, Ozymandias.


Morten Warncke-Wang (Wikimedia Foundation)

Morten prior to growing a scientifically sound beard.

I've been participating in online and peer production communities for over 20 years, and recently (December 2016) got a PhD studying them. My research focus has been on content quality in peer production communities like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap: what is high quality content, how is it created, can we build tools to judge it, and is it produced where there is demand for it? In addition to research publications, this work has also led to a Python library for predicting Wikipedia article quality (articlequality) that is publicly available on Wikipedia through the ORES API. I am also a Research Fellow with the Wikimedia Foundation's Research group.

Another one of my interests is using recommender systems to help contributors find work to do. In Wikipedia this manifests in my maintenance of SuggestBot. The bot can recommend articles to work on based on a user's edit history, or they can supply articles or categories they want to base the suggestions on. SuggestBot is currently available in seven languages.

I've participated as a mentor and instructor in some of the Community Data Science Workshops. Apart from these things, I also like reading (both books and magazines), watching movies, playing squash, and attempting to make music.


Tilman Bayer

Tilman sitting in the Internet Archive's pews, piously contemplating the world's knowledge

I am a longtime Wikipedia contributor (as User:HaeB) and editor of the Wikimedia Research Newsletter, a monthly publication surveying and reviewing recent academic research about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, which I co-founded in 2011 with my then-colleague Dario Taraborelli at the Wikimedia Foundation. I am also one of the two maintainers of the associated @WikiResearch Twitter feed. For the past several years, I have joined Mako, Aaron and others in presenting an annual "State of Wikimedia Research" overview at the Wikimania community conference, where I have also presented on other data and research topics such as the question which parts of a Wikipedia article people actually read.

My work as a data analyst on the Wikimedia Foundation's Product Analytics team included controlled experiments and exploratory data analysis to support the development of new software features for Wikipedia readers and contributors, and the analysis of core readership metrics like pageviews. With the Foundation's web team, I drove the implementation of a new metric designed to better understand reader engagement, based on an instrumentation of time spent on page (dwell time). This became the subject of a research project with Nate TeBlunthuis and my then-colleague Olga Vasileva, with findings e.g. about differences in reading behavior between users in the Global South and the Global North.

My academic background is in pure mathematics, with degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Bonn. I am based in San Francisco and can be reached via Gmail ("HaeBwiki") and as "HaeB" on IRC (Freenode).


Bastian Greshake Tzovaras (Center for Research & Interdisciplinarity, Université Paris Descartes)

Bastian, being so old-timey that his beard has grown.

Despite having an academic background in biology/bioinformatics, I've been active in peer-produced citizen science since around 2011. I'm one of the co-founders of the crowdsourced, open data repository openSNP ([1]), which collects personal genomics data sets from users of Direct-To-Consumer genetic testing companies to put them into the public domain. Since 2017 I'm also the Director of Research for Open Humans (https://www.openhumans.org), an ecosystem for participatory citizen science that aims to allow people to analyze and learn from their own personal data as well as given members the opportunity to share their data with (citizen science) research projects. Among other things we have piloted a JupyterHub-based approach to give people their own virtual machines that allow them to write, run and share data analysis notebooks without having to share any personal information (see [2]).

Since 2019 I'm a research fellow at the Center for Research & Interdisciplinarity in Paris ([3]), where I will study how the ideas of peer-production can be translated to facilitate co-created citizen science projects in which participants are fully involved in all stages of research, from start to finish. Lately a lot of focus there has been on how we can scale up the individualistic quantified self experiments people do to larger cohorts. I also teach students the basics of citizen science and self-tracking.

Last but not least I'm involved in community building and mentoring in bioinformatics and for open projects in general: I'm a board member of the Open Bioinformatics Foundation ([4]), have mentored for Mozilla's Open Leadership Cohorts, Outreachy & Google Summer of Code.

Mad Price Ball (Open Humans Foundation)

Mad eagerly tearing apart another terrible blockchain idea.

I am Executive Director of Open Humans Foundation and co-founder of Open Humans. My research involvement is more "meta" these days: I help others do it. With Open Humans, we try to enable a new approach for research in health and human subjects research, focusing on personal data. Our work is generally "open" and strives to enable peer production, enabling individuals to create and share tools for getting personal data, analyzing it, and potentially contributing it to aggregate projects (from patient groups to citizen scientists, as well as traditional academic studies). I'm also a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow (alum) and a member of the BoD of MyData Global.

Open Humans was inspired by my dual histories in genomics research and free/open culture. My PhD was in biotech and postdoc work involved running George Church's Personal Genome Project, which invited people to donate genome & health data to science by making it public – where I learned a lot about personal data and human subjects research. I'm also familiar with free/open culture folks for well over a decade, contributing here and there; one of my favorite past projects was helping create an offline copy of Wikipedia for OLPC distributed in Peru & Uruguay (my role was creating the article list, mostly based on traffic & connectivity data).

I live in San Diego, but online you can find me on @madprime on Twitter, in the Open Humans slack group, and sometimes IRC (madprime) – or reach me by email (mad) at openhumans.org.

Friends and Community Members

Alice Ferrazzi

Alice Ferrazzi

I'm a researcher and community member who collaborates and helps the CDSC in various ways. My research work focuses on the study of operating systems kernel where I work mostly in live patch systems. One of my projects is Elivepatch.

I'm the Gentoo Kernel Project Leader, mainly focused in kernel release automatization. You can find me at @aliceinwire or at www.aliceinwire.net. My Gentoo profile is at User:Aliceinwire. I am on IRC (OFTC) as alicef_.


Samuel Klein

Samuel Klein on the right (with a surprise Aaron shaw on the left).

I'm a wikimedian, urban spelunker, and founding member of MIT's Knowledge Futures Group. One of my projects is the Innovation Information Initiative, a data collab for patent and prior art datasets.

Occasionally in IRC as _sj_. Sj (talk) 15:54, 17 August 2019 (EDT)


Abel Serrano Juste

Abel Serrano Juste

Interested in how technology can serve communities of people for good. I see free software as an implicit requirement for this.

I've been working for two years in the University Complutense of Madrid doing data analysis on collaborative online communities (CBPP), more specifically, on wikis. You can see my publications and more info about me in my homepage.

I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science by the UCM and currently I'm enrolled in a Master's Degree of Data Science by the UOC.

Also, I like bikes, nature, hiking, traveling, and sharing my life with beautiful people.


Alumni

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