I am currently the Allen K. and Johnnie Cordell Breed Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at Northwestern University. I am also an Assistant Professor in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern. From January 2015 to July 2018 I was an Assistant Professor in the iSchool at University of Washington and an adjunct Assistant Professor at UW CSE, where I was a member of the Interactive Data Lab and the DataLab. Before this (2014) I was a postdoc at UC Berkeley Computer Science, working with Maneesh Agrawala (supported by Tableau Software). My Ph.D. is from the University of Michigan School of Information, where I worked with Eytan Adar (advisor), Priti Shah, and others. Before I got my Ph.D., I earned a Masters of Science in Information Analysis and Retrieval at the University of Michigan, with the original goal of doing natural language processing, though visualization eventually won out!

Learn more about my current research.

Prior work

Before I became interested in infovis, HCI, and NLP, I had a longtime interest in critical theory and writing. My B.A. is in Comparative Studies in Religion, and I hold an M.F.A in Writing and Prose Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. The latter degree was the first explicit step I took toward pursuing poetics seriously, and I was interested in exploring the boundaries of experimention with language (i.e., language poetry and hybrid prose). I ultimately chose not to pursue a writing career based on the largely subjective influence of “taste” and my belief that most aesthetic production is limited in its ability to interact productively with other disciplines. For those interested in this kind of aesethetic criticism, I recommend Agamben’s Man Without Content, a book to which I was introduced by Donald Preziosi, my advisor at Naropa. Around the same time, I began to lose respect for critical theory as a mode of analysis based on a growing belief that it was largely linguistic obfuscation.

… imagine having to sketch a sharply defined picture “corresponding” to a blurred one. In the latter there is a blurred red rectangle: for it you put down a sharply defined one. Of course—several such sharply defined rectangles can be drawn to correspond to the indefinite one.—But if the colours in the original merge without a hint of any outline won’t it become a hopeless task to draw a sharp picture corresponding to the blurred one? Won’t you then have to say: ‘Here I might just as well draw a circle or heart as a rectangle, for all the colours merge. Anything—and nothing—is right.’

– Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, pg 36

During the course of my MFA, my critical master’s thesis on Bruce Nauman’s language works was published by EOAGH Journal of the Arts. I also published a handful of poems and prose pieces, to which I can no longer relate. These include experimental prose written while studying with Bhanu Khapil, poetry and prose written during a workshop with art critic John Yau, prose work written during a workshop with Renee Gladman, work published in Bombay Gin, and work in Hot Whiskey, Summer Stock and a handful of other small journals I no longer remember the names of.