Meet some of the alumni of our Ph.D. in Information Science program.
Assistant Professor, School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University
Parmit Chilana graduated from the UW Information School in 2013. She is an HCI researcher, focusing on understanding user needs and designing new technologies that help users access, manage, and analyze information in different contexts. While tools she builds and her research directly help end users, they reveal social and organizational aspects of how modern software systems are designed and deployed and how organizations can better achieve user-centered design. "Users are too often left on their own to find answers, but many have similar questions and they can be a great resource for each other. I’ll be gathering real-world usage ideas to give me more insight into, ‘Does this approach work?’ and ‘Can I improve this?’" Chilana invented LemonAid as part of her dissertation, which became the first spinout from the UW iSchool in 2013 under the name Qazzow. The company has since been re-branded as AnswerDash.
Rachel Ivy Clarke
Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University
Rachel Ivy Clarke graduated from the UW Information School in 2016. Her research focuses on the application of design methodologies and epistemologies to librarianship to facilitate the systematic, purposeful design of library services. She is interested in reconceptualizing librarianship as a design profession rather than a scientific discipline. "Often library design refers to architecture, furniture or signage. Sometimes it refers to technology, like websites. But libraries are steeped in design: from cuneiform lists of holdings in the ancient libraries of Sumeria, to classifications like the Dewey Decimal Classification system that enabled browsing of resources by subject rather than acquisition order, to modern readers’ advisory and recommendation databases. What separates a library from merely a collection is the design of tools and services that unite users with information. I examine the history, theory, and practice of librarianship from the perspective of design epistemology to facilitate the systematic and purposeful creation of future library services."
Assistant Professor, Brown University
Jeff Huang graduated from the UW Information School in 2013. His research areas span human-computer interaction and information retrieval, across the domains of mobile devices, self-tracking, games, and web search. His work involves decoding users' behavioral data to drive novel applications. Huang's current projects strive to 1) model touch interactions and 2) build an open platform for self-tracking. "I’m always interested in making people have a better user experience. And with a search engine that’s easier and that’s faster, that’s a better experience. That’s what everyone here wants to do – challenging research that will solve the world’s problems."
Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Boulder
Shaun Kane graduated from the UW Information School in 2011. He received the Distinguished Alumni award in 2016. His primary research interests are accessible user interfaces and mobile human-computer interaction. His research explores ways to make mobile devices easier to use, especially for people with disabilities and people in distracting environments. “I’m a person with a disability who works in technology and disability."
Paul Luo Li
Principal Data Scientist, Microsoft
Paul Luo Li graduated from the UW Information School in 2016. Leveraging many years of industry experience at Microsoft, IBM, and other corporations, as well as access to practicing software engineers (concurrently pursued his doctorate while working at Microsoft), his research examined attributes of great software engineers. His current work at Microsoft focuses on data-driven software engineering using code experimentation.
Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
Bryce Newell graduated from the UW Information School in 2015. His work crosses the fields of surveillance studies, law and technology, information policy/politics, media law and policy, and social studies of information technology (social informatics). His current and on-going research examines the adoption and use of body-worn cameras within multiple police departments, the use of ICTs by undocumented immigrants and migrant-aid organizations in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and the criminalization of certain expressive activities (bystander video of police, the dissemination of voyeuristic images, and revenge pornography). Newell is a lawyer (J.D., UC Davis School of Law), a former Google Policy Fellow (2013), a former post-doctoral researcher at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (2015-17) and a documentary filmmaker. "My background in audio-visual media production, law, and information science, has driven my interest in understanding how visual surveillance and ICTs regulate human behavior (as forms of techno-regulation) and how they are regulated by law. I hope that my research can continue to critically interrogate surveillance, surveillance practices, and the information politics surrounding the collection, creation, analysis, framing, and dissemination of surveillance-related data."
Joseph T. Tennis
Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, University of Washington
Joe Tennis was the first graduate of the UW Information School Ph.D. program in 2005. He joined the iSchool in 2007 after two years at The University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The focus of his research is knowledge organization, specifically classification theory and the evaluation of classification practices and structures. “I was brought up in a small town in the Midwest. Growing up, I experienced the emancipatory power of reading and exploration through the written record. I was able to imagine other worlds, languages, and ways of life. I feel that this experience has fueled my passion for making the written word available to humankind so that we can learn to be more fully human. Knowledge Organization takes as its main focus the critique and crafting of techniques for making accessible the written record of human achievement.”
Jill Palzkill Woelfer
Sr. User Experience Researcher, Google
Jill Palzkill Woelfer received her PhD from the UW Information School in 2014 and also holds an iSchool MSIM degree (2008). With a broad approach based on research, design and service, her work has covered a wide range of topics including homelessness, at-risk populations, social justice, value sensitive design, ethics, project management, cloud services, and e-commerce. While at UW, Woelfer was a Fulbright Fellow to Canada (2011-2012) and recipient of the UW Graduate School Medal (2012). Returning to industry after her Ph.D., she continues her commitment to evolving HCI research and practice to make the world a better place, leading skills-based community volunteer projects to benefit non-profits such as Real Change Newspaper. "The best question isn't whether our research and design activities can have an impact. It's what the overall and long-term effects of those activities will be."
See a list of completed dissertations and positions for iSchool Ph.D. graduates