ACM recognizes Amy Ko as Distinguished Member

Amy J. Ko
Amy J. Ko

UW Information School Professor Amy J. Ko is among 52 global scholars recognized as Distinguished Members of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for their innovative contributions to the computing field. 

The ACM is the world’s largest computing society. It recognizes up to 10 percent of its worldwide membership as distinguished members based on their professional experience, groundbreaking achievements, and longstanding participation in computing. The ACM has three tiers of recognition: fellows, distinguished members and senior members. The Distinguished Member Recognition Program, which honors members with at least 15 years of professional experience, recognized Ko for her work on human-centered theories of program understanding and the development of tools and learning technologies. 

“I'm honored to be recognized by my nominators, all of whom have been role models and mentors in my career,” said Ko. “It makes me want to pay their giving and caring work forward to more junior scholars across my community.” 

Ko has made substantial contributions to researching computing education, human-computer interaction, and humanity’s struggle to understand computing and harness it for creativity, equity and justice. In one of her recent projects at the iSchool, she has been working alongside doctoral students to examine power structures in computing education, including the implicit assumptions that software developers make, broader cultural norms around learning, family expectations, and policies set by teachers and schools. 

“I’m deeply grateful to the many doctoral, master's and undergraduate students whom I've collaborated with to pursue shared visions and questions,” said Ko. “They continue to inspire me to excellence.”

Ko said the iSchool’s encouragement and flexibility to explore have enabled her to take her work in directions she never imagined. 

“The iSchool has empowered me to think about what I expect of myself, rather than what others expect of me,” said Ko. “That kind of freedom is exceptionally rare, even in academia, and it's been fundamental to my research, teaching and service to my communities and the broader world. I can't imagine finding that anywhere else.”

The iSchool also has several other faculty that have been recognized by the ACM as senior members for their leadership and professional contributions, including Anind Dey, Batya Friedman, Chirag Shah and Jacob O. Wobbrock.