Faces of UMSI: Maura Youngman

In the digital age, journalism and advocacy face a dichotomous set of challenges and opportunities; Maura Youngman has dedicated her work to overcoming those challenges through the pursuit of those opportunities. As she puts it, working in digital international journalism “is a gateway into working on issues of information access.” With an undergraduate background in communication studies and international journalism from Hamline University, she came to UMSI to pursue a programming-heavy course of study to build the skills necessary to address information access challenges across the globe.

Prior to arriving at UMSI in the fall of 2012, Maura worked at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting as a New Media Strategist and Education Coordinator, where she directed online outreach and explored the intersections of technology and journalism. She decided that the application of a usability-centric programming skillset to journalism would increase opportunities for censorship evasion, effective dissemination of information through computer-assisted reporting, and a more rigorous approach to the use of data in reporting.

Maura became involved in the hackerspace community, assisting the university’s “Design Lab 1” project with skill building and reference initiatives. She spent her spring break in Washington, DC, where she worked in social media strategy at the Smithsonian Affiliates office. For summer 2013, she lined up a research trip to Rwanda, where she will conduct field studies on how people with vision impairments use mobile technology as part of a larger study addressing the issue across the globe. Upon her return, she spent the remainder of the summer as an intern at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.