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Affiliate Faculty

Affiliate Faculty

International Research Collaborators


Dr. Audrey G. Bennett, Affiliate 


Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan

Audrey Bennet is a former Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Scholar of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and a former College Art Association Professional Development Fellow. Currently, she is a tenured professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan where teaches and conducts research in art and design. She studies the user-centered design of multimodal and intersensory images for communication across cultures. Her research publications include: How Design Education Can Use Generative Play to Innovate for Social Change (International Journal of Design); Engendering Interaction with Images (Intellect/University of Chicago Press); The Rise of Research in Graphic Design (PAPress); Interactive Aesthetics (Design Issues); Good Design is Good Social Change (Visible Language). She is the co-editor of the Icograda Design Education Manifesto 2011, and a member of the Editorial Boards of the journals Image and Text (South Africa), Communication Design: Interdisciplinary and Graphic Design Research (Canada), and New Design Ideas (Azerbaijan). She holds an M.F.A. in graphic design from Yale University.

Dr. Ron Eglash, Affiliate


School of Information at the University of Michigan.

He received his B.S. in Cybernetics, his M.S. in Systems Engineering, and his Ph.D. in History of Consciousness, all from the University of California. His work as a Fulbright scholar was published as African Fractals: modern computing and indigenous design (Rutgers); and featured in his 2007 TED talk. His “Culturally Situated Design Tools” software, offering maths and computing education from indigenous and vernacular arts, is available for free at https://csdt.rpi.edu.

Dr. Luis A. Leyva, Affiliate

Assistant Professor 

Mathematics Education in the Peabody College of Education & Human Development at Vanderbilt University.

Leyva uses intersectionality, a theoretical perspective and methodological approach from Black feminist thought, to examine how members of historically marginalized groups, including women, students of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, construct their identities while navigating institutional and interactional contexts of mathematics education as aspiring STEM majors. He presently serves as the Principal Investigator for a three-year collaborative grant project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education entitled Challenging, Operationalizing, and Understanding Racialized and Gendered Events (COURAGE) in Undergraduate Mathematics. His work has been published in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, and The Journal of Mathematical Behavior. Leyva’s research was distinguished with a Dissertation Fellowship from the National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation in 2015 and, more recently, the 2018 Early Career Publication Award from the Research in Mathematics Education special interest group of the American Educational Research Association.


Dr. Maria (Mia) Ong, Affiliate

Senior Research Scientist and Evaluator


Mia is a Senior Research Scientist at TERC, a STEM education research organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is also the Founder and Director of Project SEED (Science and Engineering Equity and Diversity), a social justice collaborative affiliated with The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA. For nearly twenty years, she has conducted empirical research focusing on women of color in higher education and careers in STEM and has led the evaluation of several STEM diversity/inclusion programs. Between 1996 and 2000, she directed an undergraduate physics program for students of color and women at U.C. Berkeley; for this work, she was a co-recipient of a U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. Mia is a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST). She is former Chair of the Social Science Advisory Board for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) and a former member of the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering, the NSF Advisory Committee for the GPRA Performance Assessment, and the NSF Advisory Committee to the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. Mia holds a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies in Education from the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Jakita O. Thomas, Affiliate

Associate Professor  

Computer Science and Software Engineering

Auburn University in Auburn, AL.

Jakita O. Thomas is a Philpott Westpoint Stevens Associate Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Auburn University in Auburn, AL.  Dr. Thomas is also Director of the CUltuRally & SOcially Relevent (CURSOR) Computing Lab.  Her research interests include exploring the development of computational algorithmic thinking, Intersectional Computing promoting access to healthcare information and services for under-served populations, improving reasoning using expert cases, scientific reasoning, complex cognitive skills learning, and computer-supported collaborative learning.  

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer & Information Science with a minor in Mathematics from Spelman College in 1999.  In 2006, Dr. Thomas was conferred a Ph.D. in Computer Science with a specialization in the Learning Sciences and Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, where she was a Presidential Fellow, National Physical Science Consortium Fellow, tutor, mentor, and Research Assistant.  

Prior to her current position at Auburn University, Dr. Thomas was a member of the Computer & Information Science faculty at Spelman College (2010 - 2016), where she was awarded the Spelman College Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Junior Faculty Member (2013) as well as the Spelman College Presidential Award for Scholarly Achievement by a Junior Faculty Member (2015).  Dr. Thomas was also Research Staff Member in the Service Design and People and Practices groups at IBM Research - Almaden in San Jose, CA (2005 - 2010). Dr. Thomas is a member of the International Society of the Learning Sciences, Association of Computing Machinery, Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, African-American Ph.Ds in Computer Science, Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computer Science Honor Society, and Golden Key National Honor Society.  

Dr. Thomas is a recipient of the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award (2012 - 2019).  She is also a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2016).

Dr. Erin Walker, Affiliate

Associate Professor

School of Computing and Information

University of Pittsburgh

Erin Walker is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the School of Computing and Information and the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently working on various projects that attempt to incorporate social and contextual adaptation into learning technologies, including implementing a teachable robot for mathematics learning and re-imagining the design of the digital textbook. Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh, Walker was in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University, where she was first a Computing Innovations Postdoctoral Fellow and then spent five years as an Assistant Professor. She completed her Ph.D. in 2010 at Carnegie Mellon University in Human-Computer Interaction and her B.Sc. (Honors) from the University of Manitoba in 2004. Walker's work has resulted in ten journal articles and twenty-seven peer-reviewed, full conference papers, earning her the best young researcher's track paper award at AIED, and best paper nominations at ITS, CSCL, and AIED.