Texas iSchool Welcomes Six New Post-Doctoral Research Fellows

Sandlin, Anu  |  Aug 31, 2019

Bullard Research Fellows
post-doctoral research fellows
Texas iSchool
Robert Bautista
Stephen Slota
Abigale Stangl
Edward Helderop
Jake Nelson
Caroline Stratton
News Image: 
Post-doctoral Research Fellows, 2019
Image Caption: 
Post-doctoral Research Fellows, 2019

The University of Texas at Austin School of Information recently hired six new post-doctoral research fellows to join the Texas iSchool, including the first three scholars supported as part of the new Bullard Research Fellow program.

“I am excited to have such a large and high quality cohort with us this year!” said Texas iSchool Dean Eric T. Meyer. In commenting on the strength of the pool of applicants, Meyer noted, “We were impressed with the quality of applicants from leading universities around the world. The six who are starting between now and October all stood out, but we had many more strong candidates as well. This successful process makes me look forward to continuing to bring additional post-doctoral researchers into our community in the future,” said Meyer.

The Bullard Research Fellow program was launched in 2019 with funding from the Professor Fred M. Bullard Endowment. The Bullard Research Fellows program is designed to allow exceptionally promising young scholars the time to develop their own research while collaborating with leading established scholars and researchers. It is designed to accelerate careers, and to maximize the ability of Bullard Research Fellows to build independent research trajectories. To accomplish this, a portion of each fellow’s time will be reserved for their own independent research and publication efforts, including publishing results from their dissertation. Additionally, all Bullard Research Fellows will work with a mentor or mentors on research projects.

Bullard Research Fellow Robert Bautista will join the Texas iSchool in October 2019 from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where he earned his Ph.D. in Communication Science earlier this year. Bautista specializes in how professionals combat health misinformation online, and he will be working with Associate Professors Jacek Gwizdka and Yan Zhang, as well as Dean Eric T. Meyer.

Stephen Slota, the second Bullard Research Fellow, joined the Texas iSchool this past week from Washington, where he was a postdoc after finishing his Ph.D. in Informatics at UC Irvine in 2018. Slota will be working with Associate Professor Ken Fleischmann and Assistant Professor Jakki Bailey on algorithmic fairness, accountability, and transparency, and also on his own work on how data is transforming agricultural production.

We anticipate that the fellows will have a huge impact here at Texas, but also across the field through their scholarly activity.

The third Bullard Research Fellow, Abigale Stangl, earned her Ph.D. in Technology, Media, and Society, from University of Colorado at Boulder in 2019. Stangl will be working with Assistant Professor Danna Gurari on research that broadens inclusion and participation of people with visual disabilities in the media and information landscape.   

Two of the post-doctoral research fellows, Edward Helderop and Jake Nelson, earned their Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 2019. Helderop received his Ph.D. in Geography, while Nelson received his Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy. Both post-doctoral fellows moved to Austin with Associate Dean for Research Tony Grubesic, and will be working closely with Grubesic for the academic year on his work in geographic information science.

The sixth post-doctoral fellow, Caroline Stratton, earned her Ph.D. in Information Studies from the Texas iSchool in 2018. Stratton will be working with Associate Professor James Howison on a funded project about the role of ICT in Latin American development efforts.

All six post-doctoral fellows will begin their work at the Texas iSchool between August and October 2019. 

Dean Meyer expressed his enthusiasm around the iSchool with having six new post-doctoral research fellows on board who demonstrated great promise as exceptional scholars and researchers: “We have designed our newly expanded post-doctoral program to maximize the ability of scholars to start their careers with a bang,” he said. 

“By providing them the time and resources to work with senior faculty on projects while also having time protected to work on their own projects and publications, we anticipate that the fellows will have a huge impact here at Texas, but also across the field through their scholarly activity,” said Meyer.

Texas iSchool Welcomes New Assistant Professor, Dr. Min Kyung Lee

Sandlin, Anu  |  Aug 31, 2019

News Image: 
Dr. Min Kyung Lee
Image Caption: 
Dr. Min Kyung Lee
Min Kyung Lee
Texas iSchool
Faculty
Human-computer interaction

The University of Texas at Austin School of Information is pleased to announce that Dr. Min Kyung Lee of Carnegie Mellon University will be joining the Texas iSchool as an assistant professor starting in January 2020. 

Dr. Lee is currently a research scientist in Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon Universityin the Machine Learning Department and the Center for Machine Learning and Health.

Her research focuses on improving Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology for human contexts by making AI more sensitive to human concerns and behavior so that people can use algorithmic decisions as tools for more informed and fairer decision-making. 

Lee is passionate about the theoretical research and societal impact associated with AI. Drawing from design, computer science, and social science, she creates and deploys new AI services in the field, working with real-world organizations. 

Her research interests include human-computer interaction, computer-supported collaborative work, human-centered artificial intelligence, algorithmic fairness & transparency, human-robot interaction, and design. Lee’s current research is inspired by –and complements– her previous work on social robots for long-term interaction, seamless human-robot handovers, and telepresence robots. 

We had an outstanding pool of candidates this year, but Min really stood out for her clarity of vision and the impacts of her research.

Lee has conducted some of the first studies that empirically examine the social implications of algorithms’ emerging roles in management and governance in society including how people perceive algorithms, and how algorithmic services that work in the real world can be designed to be fairer and more trustworthy.

She is a Siebel Scholar and has received the Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence, research grants from NSF and Uptake, and five best paper awards or honorable mentions in venues including CHI, CSCW, DIS and HRI. 

Lee currently serves as Associate Editor of ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction (THRI). Herwork has been featured in media outlets such as the New York Times, New Scientist, Washington Post, MIT Technology Review, and CBS. 

Dean Eric T. Meyer expressed his gratitude to the Texas iSchool Search Committee chaired by Pat Galloway, for identifying Lee and helping recruit her to The University of Texas at Austin School of Information. “We had an outstanding pool of candidates this year, but Min really stood out for her clarity of vision and the impacts of her research,” said Meyer. 

“Dr. Lee comes to us from a world-leading group at Carnegie Mellon, and I am confident she will be an excellent addition to the iSchool. I think I speak for the faculty when I say we look forward to working with her as her career develops, and I’m certain students will benefit tremendously from her experience, knowledge, and skill.”

Lee earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technologyin 2004. In 2007, she received a Master of Design in Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design. 

Lee went on to earn a Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction in 2011 and Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction in 2013 both from Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science, HCI Institute. To read more about Dr. Min Kyung Lee, visit her website.

Texas iSchool Welcomes New Student Cohort

Sandlin, Anu  |  Aug 31, 2019

News Image: 
Gone to Information!
Image Caption: 
Gone to Information! 2019
new student orientation
Texas iSchool
new cohort
Gone to Information
Eric T. Meyer

The University of Texas at Austin School of Information is welcoming a class of 74 new master’s students and two new doctoral students for the fall 2019 semester.

Director of Master’s Studies Dr. Pat Galloway led a new student orientation on August 22, 2019 in the Prothro Theatre of the Harry Ransom Center. Orientation included a session led by Director of Career Development, Kim Wood, who stressed to students the need to start thinking about their career development throughout their studies. An informal luncheon was held in the Tocker Foundation Student Lounge at the iSchool to welcome the new cohort, where faculty, staff, and student leaders mingled with the new cohort. The Student Association of the School of Information (SASI) also held sessions sharing tips for all students, and a special International Student Discussion Panel and Career Development presenting “Job Seeking Strategies for International Students.” 

Every year, a highlight of the first week at Texas is the School-wide Gone to Information! and university-wide Gone to Texas! evening. The vast majority of new students attended the Gone to Information! Event held at El Mercado restaurant, where they got a chance to know each other in a casual setting and to meet more iSchool regulars. They were greeted by members of the Advisory Council led by chair and vice chair Michael Redding and Leticia Kinuthia.

Our variety and diversity are one of our greatest strengths, and I urge all our students to take advantage of that.

In the spirit of new student orientation and the start of classes, we asked Dean Eric T. Meyer what advice and recommendations he would give to the new Texas iSchool cohort. 

Dean Meyer urged the new iSchool students to take advantage of the diversity offered at the Texas School of Information.  “The start of a new academic year always brings a new burst of energy to the iSchool, as students from a huge variety of disciplinary backgrounds and interests come together to develop and hone their expertise in the field of information,” he said.

“Our variety and diversity are one of our greatest strengths, and I urge all our students to take advantage of that. Take a class or two outside your comfort zone – you might discover a previously unknown passion. Partner on a project with a classmate from a different educational background, cultural background, or area of expertise – your combined efforts will be better for the dialogue. Look for peers and faculty members who challenge your existing ideas – engaging with them will allow you to understand your own views and strengthen your arguments for them or alternatively come around to a new view. Either way, you are better prepared because of the interaction.” 

Dean Meyer’s final comments involved the growth of Texas iSchool and the value of the new cohort in this process. “This is an exciting time at the School of Information – we are hiring additional faculty, designing new educational programs and polishing existing offerings, and starting new scholarly projects,” he said. 

“All of these efforts will enhance your experience as students and ensure that the value of your degree here will continue to increase in the future. We look forward to seeing the mark you will all make, as you become part of changing the future by engaging the present and preserving the past.”

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