Summer 2011 Fellows

Rebecca Black Profile Picture

Rebecca Black

Rebecca Black is an Assistant Professor of Language, Literacy, and Technology in the Department of Education at UC Irvine. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research centers on the literacy and socialization practices of young people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds who are writing and participating in online, popular culture-inspired environments. This work includes an explicit focus on the 21st century skills and forms of literacy and learning that youth are engaging with in online spaces. Dr. Black's work has been published in Teachers College Record, Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, the International Journal of Learning and Media, and E-learning. Her book, Adolescents and Online Fan Fiction, explores how English language learning youth represent their cultural and linguistic identities through fan fiction texts was published by Peter Lang in the Spring of 2008.

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Tom Boellstorff Profile Picture

Tom Boellstorff

Tom Boellstorff is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, and Editor-in-Chief of American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. He is the author of The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia (Princeton University Press, 2005); A Coincidence of Desires: Anthropology, Queer Studies, Indonesia (Duke University Press, 2007); and Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human (Princeton University Press, 2008).

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Karen Brennan Profile Picture

Karen Brennan

Karen is a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab, a member of the Scratch Team, and leads the ScratchEd project. Her research is primarily concerned with the ways in which learning communities support computational creators. More concretely, her work focuses on Scratch and the Scratch educator community, studying how participation in the Scratch online community and how professional development for educators can support young people as creators of computational media.

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Mark Chen Profile Picture

Mark Chen

Mark's research focuses on teamwork, communication, and group expertise in situated gaming cultures. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, looking at the practice of a group of gamers in the online game World of Warcraft. He is currently a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Washington Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (UWISME) and the Advancing Games as Innovative Learning Environments (AGILE) group, helping to evaluate player learning of science and math games such as Foldit and Refraction. Prior to doctoral work, Mark was the webmaster and a web game developer for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. He holds a B.A. in Studio Art from Reed College and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area as a child of the 80s. You can read more about Mark on his blog at

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Drew Davidson Profile Picture

Drew Davidson

Drew Davidson is a professor, producer and player of interactive media. His background spans academic, industry and professional worlds and he is interested in stories across texts, comics, games and other media. He is the Director of the Entertainment Technology Center – Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University and the Editor of ETC Press.

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Katie Davis Profile Picture

Katie Davis

Katie is an advanced doctoral student in the Human Development and Education Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she studies under Dr. Howard Gardner and Dr. Kurt Fischer. Her research focuses on the psychosocial development of adolescents and emerging adults. In particular, she studies adolescents’ developing sense of self and factors affecting this process, such as digital media and close interpersonal relationships. Katie holds two master's degrees from Harvard, one in Mind, Brain, and Education and one in Risk and Prevention. Before beginning her doctoral work in 2005, she taught in Framingham, Massachusetts, and Saltus Grammar School in Bermuda, her native country.

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Betsy DiSalvo Profile Picture

Betsy DiSalvo

Betsy is a Human Centered Computing Ph.D. Candidate at Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Interactive Computing. She is pursuing research that examines how culture impacts technology use, and how we can leverage cultural practices in designing learning interventions. She is focusing on young African American males' use of video games and why they are not leveraging this into an interest in computer science as other groups do. In response to this, Betsy has created the Glitch Game Testers, where teens work as game testers for game companies and participate in computer science workshops. Glitch, in its second year, has shown a dramatic increase in the number of participants who are or intend to pursue computer related majors in college. Prior to graduate school Betsy worked as a Research Scientist at the University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development Center where she lead the development of the Click! Urban Adventure Game, games for the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, curriculum for Robot 250, and educational technology evaluations for the Warhol Museum.

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Laura Forlano Profile Picture

Laura Forlano

Laura is a writer, researcher and consultant based in New York City. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Interaction Design Lab in the Departments of Communication and Information Science at Cornell University. In the fall she will be an Assistant Professor of Design at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Forlano’s research is on the role of information technology in supporting open innovation networks in urban environments with a specific emphasis on the use of mobile, wireless and ubiquitous computing technologies to support collaboration. She is co-editor with Marcus Foth, Christine Satchell and Martin Gibbs of From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen: Urban Informatics, Social Media, Ubiquitous Computing, and Mobile Technology to Support Citizen Engagement, which is to be published by MIT Press in 2011. Forlano received her Ph.D. in Communications from Columbia University in 2008. Since 2007, Forlano has been an Adjunct Faculty member in the Design and Management department at Parsons and the Graduate Programs in International Affairs and Media Studies at The New School where she teaches courses on Innovation, Technology and the City, New Media and Global Affairs, Service Design, and Design and Everyday Experience. She serves as a board member of NYCwireless and the New York City Computer Human Interaction Association. Forlano received a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, a Diploma in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s in Asian Studies from Skidmore College. Forlano’s blog can be found at

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Alex Halavais Profile Picture

Alex Halavais

Alex is an associate professor at Quinnipiac University, where he teaches in a masters program in interactive communications. He formerly directed a masters program in informatics at the University at Buffalo, and was Research Director for the New Media Research Lab at the University of Washington. He has also worked in marketing for a large financial services firm, designed simulations for NASA, a public school teacher in Japan, and in city government as a budget analyst and planner. Alex has published articles and book chapters on how social media relates to social change, as well as a book introducing the social role of search engines. He is vice president of the Association of Internet Researchers and serve as the Technical Director of the Digital Media and Learning Hub based at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

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Tanner Higgin Profile Picture

Tanner Higgin

Tanner is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of California, Riverside. His research examines race, gender, and power in digital media cultures. He is currently working on a dissertation titled "Race and Videogames," which develops a theory of how race functions procedurally in videogames. He is also interested in developing a computer art project to act as a companion piece to my dissertation. Ideally this project would illustrate the main analytic he has developed in his dissertation, racial displacement. This analytic invites critics and players to evaluate how race is represented off of bodies through discourse, space, and code. Feel free to browse his personal site or follow him on Twitter.

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