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University of Michigan School of Information


Elsie Lee-Robbins

A headshot of Elsie Lee-Robbins


My name is Elsie, and I study and create data visualizations. My academic research explores how to help data visualization designers identify and describe their communicative intents. My favorite paper that I’ve written is about affective intents, which won a best paper award at IEEE VIS 2022. To communicate my research to a broader audience of dataviz professionals, I wrote an article about it for Nightingale, a dataviz magazine. Additionally, I’ve leveraged my background in visual perception and cognition to study how to declutter and focus visualizations and design effective word clouds.

I’ve also been creating data visualizations about education, the environment, and for fun. Previously I interned at the American Institutes for Research, visualizing national education data for parents and policymakers. In 2023, I was a communications fellow for the Ecology Center, a non-profit in Ann Arbor focused on environmental issues. I created visualizations for a wide range of their program areas, spanning eye-catching posts for Instagram and in-depth graphics for policymakers. I’m excited about the potential to combine art with dataviz. I created a Bob Ross visualization “The Joy of Painting Data,” a stacked area chart rendered in oil paints which was featured in Nightingale and longlisted for the Information is Beautiful awards. 

I'm interested in exploring the potential of data visualization to not just educate, but also motivate people through combining personal narratives, engaging design, and informative data. I would love to work in the domain of sustainability to communicate the urgency and solutions around climate change and other environmental issues. Please reach out if you want to chat about data visualizations!