iSchool welcomes new faculty cohort

Monday, July 8, 2024

Five faculty members will join or take on new roles in the University of Washington Information School at the start of the 2024-2025 academic year. These scholars will inform undergraduate and graduate education in the InformaticsLibrary and Information ScienceInformation Management and Museology programs. 

The incoming scholars bring direct experience and teaching expertise, along with leading research applied across fields as diverse as artificial intelligence, project management, computing education, cognitive sciences, digital humanities, librarianship, administration, sociology and design thinking.  

“This cohort of faculty embodies the iSchool’s interdisciplinary nature,” said Anind Dey, dean of the Information School. “The range of skills and expertise demonstrated by this scholars will enhance the iSchool’s ability to address the complex needs facing communities and organizations through our academic programs and applied research.”

Benjamin Charles Germain Lee will join the iSchool faculty as an Assistant Professor after serving as a Kluge Fellow in Digital Studies at the Library of Congress over the past academic year, as previously announced. Central to Lee’s work with the Library of Congress is his development of Newspaper Navigator, a machine learning supported system that enables searching for text and images in 16.3 million historic newspaper pages. Lee’s research brings together approaches from machine learning, library and information science, and the digital humanities in order to build and examine large-scale search systems for digital collections. 

iSchool MLIS alum Tracie D. Hall joins the school as a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence/Professor of Practice. A former executive director of the American Library Association and experienced library and arts administrator, Hall is an outspoken advocate for libraries and against censorship.

Longtime iSchool faculty member Nam-ho Park will take on a new role, moving into an Assistant Teaching Professor position. Also joining the iSchool as Assistant Teaching Professors are recent UW graduate Mara Kirdani-Ryan (Ph.D., computer science) and former Arizona State University faculty member Carson G. Miller Rigoli (Ph.D., cognitive science).

“We’re thrilled to welcome these scholars to the iSchool community,” said Dey. “These faculty changes and hires will better enable the iSchool to meet the growing needs of our students and partners.”

About our 2024-25 Cohort

Tracie D. HallTracie D. Hall

Joining the iSchool as Distinguished Practitioner in Residence/Professor of Practice, as previously announced

Tracie D. Hall joins the iSchool this fall after previously serving as executive director of the American Library Association, the first Black woman to hold this title. She has also served in leadership roles at the Joyce Foundation, Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and Queens Public Library. Prior to those roles, Hall was a community investment strategist and community investor for the Boeing Co.’s global corporate citizenship division and, before that, assistant dean of Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Hall’s work has focused on early and adult literacy, broadband access, and library and literacy services for the incarcerated, and she has been recognized with the National Book Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and the medal for Freedom of Speech and Free Expression from Franklin D. Roosevelt Institute. In 2023, she was named among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year. 

Mara Kirdani-Ryan

Mara Kirdani-Ryan

Joining the iSchool as an Assistant Teaching Professor 

Mara Kirdani-Ryan seeks to create cultural shifts to move computing from a force that magnifies societal oppression to a force for collective liberation. To this end, they apply techniques from sociology and social work to surface, deconstruct, and challenge dominant cultural norms. They predominately seek to translate their own experiences of reconciliation into collective engagements, and drawing from their work in “prestigious” tech internships, they have utilized scholarship to address computing's career prestige-centricity and narrow legitimization of neurodivergence as well as scaffold this deconstruction for others. Pedagogically, Kirdani-Ryan views every educational endeavor as an opportunity for self-discovery, and looks to go beyond socio-technical integrations to engage students in developing their impetus for action. Kirdani-Ryan identifies as white, non-binary, transgender, queer and autistic, and holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Washington and a master's and bachelor's in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Benjamin Lee

Benjamin Lee

Joining the iSchool as an Assistant Professor, as previously announced

Benjamin Charles Germain Lee will join the iSchool as an Assistant Professor and launch the Lab for Computing Cultural Heritage. His interests are in AI, data science, digital collections and the digital humanities. This past academic year, he was a Kluge Fellow in Digital Studies at the Library of Congress. Lee also served as a 2020 Innovator in Residence at the Library of Congress and has held fellowships with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Harvard’s History Department and the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the UW. Lee received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and his Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering from the UW, during which he created Newspaper Navigator, a machine learning supported system that enables searching for text and images in 16.3 million historic newspaper pages. His public writing has appeared in publications including Wired, Gawker and Current Affairs. 

Carson G. Miller Rignoli

Carson Miller Rigoli

Joining the iSchool as an Assistant Teaching Professor 

Carson G. Miller Rigoli applies his pedagogical and scholarly experience to developing educational materials and programs that bridge data literacy, social understanding, and moral reasoning. As an educational professional, he has created and instructed courses covering a wide range of topics in the cognitive and information sciences for students from pre-collegiate through doctoral levels. Most recently, he has served as a Teaching Assistant Professor, focusing on quantitative and computational skills training in the psychology and neuroscience programs at Arizona State University. He also has scholarly interests in the cognitive foundations of learning and in the structure and dynamics of interdisciplinary academic programs such as cognitive science, information science, and materials science. Prior to his work at ASU, Miller Rigoli received a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from University of California San Diego and a bachelor’s in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Nam-ho Park

Nam-Ho Park

Joining the iSchool as an Assistant Teaching Professor 

Nam-ho Park has been teaching at the University of Washington’s Information School since 2015, guiding students in designing digital products. Having lived and worked in London, Seoul, Hanoi, New York, and Washington, D.C., before moving to Seattle in 2011, he draws from a lifetime of learning and exploring how we relate to technology and harness it for good. As the principal of digital strategy firm PLAIN Strategies, his professional practice focuses on design and technology to support nonprofits and impact-driven organizations. He has collaborated with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, USAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Additionally, he has been a speaker at prominent conferences, including the Nonprofit Technology Conference, WebVisions, and Drupalcon. He has also served on the board of NTEN, helping nonprofits leverage technology to further their missions. Park holds a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University.