New faculty for a new academic year
Seven new faculty members will join the School of Information in fall 2017. These researchers and educators bring additional breadth and depth to the school’s academic programs, with research interests that include social media, behavioral economics and finance, digital curation and museum informatics, and creating more meaningful online communities.
Eric Gilbert joins UMSI as the John Derby Evans Endowed Professor of Information and associate professor of information. He comes to UMSI from the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. There, he led the comp.social lab, a research group that focuses on building and studying social media. He holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His work has been supported by grants from Facebook, Samsung, Yahoo!, Google, Yik Yak, and the National Science Foundation.
Libby Hemphill returns to UMSI, where she earned her MSI in 2004 and her PhD in 2009, as an associate professor. She was an associate professor of communication and information studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her recent work focuses on how users leverage Twitter and Facebook to influence public policy and advance collective action. She is especially interested in how people marshal information and communication technologies in service of social change and in the ethics and pragmatics of research using big social data.
Alain Cohn begins as an assistant professor in the fall with a focus on large-scale causal behavior analytics and social design. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Zurich and comes to UMSI from the Center of Decision Research in the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, where he was a postdoctoral scholar. His research interests include applied microeconomics, behavioral economics, behavioral finance, experimental economics, labor economics and public economics. He graduated magna cum laude with a diploma in economics and finance from the University of Zurich.
Patricia Garcia, assistant professor, was a postdoctoral fellow at UMSI in 2016/17. She conducts sociocultural research on race, gender, and technology with a special interest in studying how the use of culturally responsive computing practices can increase girls’ participation in STEM activities. She holds a PhD in informational studies from UCLA and a MLIS in archival studies from UCLA and a master’s in English literature from the University of Texas Austin. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature from St. Edward’s University. She is a former bilingual elementary school teacher.
She will be teaching SI 435: Exploring Computational Thinking Through Making and SI 580: Records and Archives, in fall 2017.
David Jurgens, assistant professor, large data analytics, holds a PhD from the University of California Los Angeles and was a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University. His research combines natural language processing, network science and data science to discover, explain and predict human behavior in large social systems. He is data co-chair of the International Conference on Web and Social Media.
David Jurgens will be teaching Data Mining (SI 671/SI 721) in fall 2017.
Andrea Thomer, assistant professor, digital curation, earned her doctorate at the School of Information at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the areas of digital curation, natural history, museum informatics, information organization and information systems usability. Before her graduate studies, she was an excavator of ice age fossils at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, natural asphalt pits in urban Los Angeles.
Andrea Thomer is teaching SI 666, Organization of Information Resources, in fall 2017.
Chris Teplovs joins the UMSI faculty as a Lecturer III/Research Scientist. He has a PhD in curriculum, teaching and learning from the University of Toronto. During his post-doctorate fellowship at the Copenhagen Business School, he created several startup ventures focusing on analytics. He was a lead developer of the University of Michigan's Digital Innovation Greenhouse.
In fall 2017, he will be teaching SI 330, Data Manipulation, and SI 370, Data Exploration.
Robin Brewer joins UMSI as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Information. Her research explores the interaction of social computing and accessibility. She’s researching how to develop and design more accessible interfaces and also how to create more meaningful online communities. She received her PhD in technology and social behavior from Northwestern University and her master’s in human-centered computing from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a BS in computer science from the University of Maryland.