Hi! I’m a professor of Information Science (at University of Colorado in Boulder). I’m also a fangirl. These things intersect more often than you might think. And if you or someone you know understands how these things intersect and think that’s awesome, then you or they might want to consider coming to school here – and in particular applying for our PhD program. (Though if you’re trying to decide on an undergrad or masters program, I’ll pitch the heck out of us for that, too!) Click the link above for the more dry explanation of my search for PhD students, but I thought I’d also pitch our department (and my research) with gifs. DID YOU KNOW THAT INFORMATION SCIENCE IS REALLY AWESOME? Here are gif-illustrated bullet points about who I am, what I do, and what information science is.
1. If you’re hanging out on Tumblr you probably think that online communities are awesome. So do I, and in fact I devoted an entire career to it! My research area in the broadest sense is social computing, which basically means the interactions that people have online and the technology that supports that. For me sometimes this has to do with law (copyright anyone?!), or ethics (did you know that a bunch of researchers are currently arguing about what we’re allowed to do with your tweets?), or fandom. I’ve done studies about Facebook, Twitter, and Archive of Our Own. Right now one of my students is designing a study about how people interpret gifs. Yes this is real life.
2. I’ve been studying (in part) fandom for over a decade, through three degrees. For an MS in Human-Computer Interaction I wrote a thesis about roleplaying games (you know, back when they were on Livejournal). In law school, I published a paper about copyright and fan fiction that won A Major Award. And for my PhD in Human-Centered Computing I wrote an entire dissertation about how laws and norms around copyright impact online creativity (largely fan creation). And last year I published a paper about the design of AO3 that was really well received (most importantly by you guys). I was always worried that this wouldn’t be accepted as a legit area of study in my field, but I was wrong. Yay!
3. If you’re wondering what information science is all about in our department, it’s anything that has to do with the relationship between people, places, and technology, and data that results from those interactions. It’s super interdisciplinary, which means that sometimes what we do looks a lot like social science (that’s me!) or sometimes like computer science or data science. Our faculty does cool things like information visualization, crisis informatics, social media analysis, creative learning, and like… a lot more. I fit in because of the work I do around information policy and ethics, and online communities.
(No, not this Data. But we do also like cats.)
4. Collaboration is awesome! If your model of a PhD is like in the humanities where you mostly do your own thing and your advisor might help you along the way, our model is really different. We have a “lab” culture where there is constant collaboration with both faculty and students, and PhD students here work as (funded) research assistants and occasionally teaching assistants.
Basically we solve problems by teaming up.
And I will leave you there! Please pass this on in case you might know someone who would be interested. Check out my blog post linked, and feel free to send me an email. I’m also happy to chat with interested undergrads! And if you’re already at University of Colorado and want to check out my research, even better!