PhD Students

Current PhD Students 


Madhur Atreya received a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and an MS from the University of Southern California. For the past 5 years, he has worked on a wide variety of manufacturing and design projects ranging from an aircraft engine test pylon to premium motorcycles. Madhur is researching design methodology and automated design synthesis. He plans to develop concept generation tools to help quickly design prototype solutions in resource-constrained situations. His advisors are Dan Szafir, who is an assistant professor of computer science rostered in the ATLAS Institute, and Mark D Gross, who directs the ATLAS Institute.


Donna Auguste worked in software and consumer electronics industries for about 20 years, volunteered for international mission work for about 10 years, and recently developed innovative sensors for the Internet of Things. Her current research, DataTip, involves using smartphone sensors to engage non-technical youth and adults in STEM learning as they create content relevant to daily living. Donna received her BS-EECS from the University of California at Berkeley and her MS from Regis University.

Photo of Chris Bopp

Christopher Bopp studies how social service organizations use data and information systems to evaluate and improve their programs. Over the last 10 years, he has consulted for a variety of organizations in the areas of data science, IT engineering and information security. He has conducted research around the diffusion of information through social media during natural disasters with Project EPIC and was a Data Science for Social Good fellow at the University of Chicago. Bopp received his BS from Rochester Institute of Technology and his MS from the ATLAS program in Information and Communication Technology for Development. His advisor, Amy Voida, is on the faculty of the Department of Information Science.

Photo of Jackie Cameron

Jackie Cameron BA Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley 2010, Post baccalaureate courses in Biology, University of Pittsburgh 2012 (Advisor: Professor Yeh): Jackie plans to explore how technology can be used to support democratic educational environments that promote student voice and interest. She works on NatureNet with Tom Yeh, an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department.


Lila Finch seeks to explore how the natural beauty in scientific processes can be used to trigger innate curiosities in students that lead them to be life long explorers. As an artist, crafter, scientist and educator, she is interested in studying the use of artistic multimedia and visualization tools for students to collect, analyze, and present scientific ideas as a way to facilitate their learning and enhance their creativity. Lila taught high school chemistry and art at KIPP San Jose Collegiate, initially through Teach for America, for four years before continuing her own education at the California Institute of Technology where she earned an MS in Chemistry in 2016. Lila received a BA in Chemistry and Art from Lewis & Clark College in 2009. Her advisor is Ben Shapiro, who is a faculty member of computer science rostered at the ATLAS Institute.

Katie Gach

Katie Gach is a digital ethnographer studying human experiences on social platforms. Her past work looked at real name policies and kindness on discussion boards about charity campaigns. She is working on the Facebook Legacy Contact, finding ways to build compassion and empathy into social media. Katie earned an MA in Communication, Culture, and Technology at Georgetown University in 2015, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University in 2009. Her advisor is Jed Brubaker, an assistant professor in the Information Science Department.

Photo of Simone Hyater-Adams

Simone Hyater-Adams (BS Physics, Hampton University 2014) is interested in the study of a student’s “physics identity.” She is investigating how a student develops their like or dislike of physics, and ways that the performing arts and digital media can be used to attract underrepresented students to the field. Her advisor is Noah Finkelstein, a professor of physics.

Annie Kelly

Annie Kelly holds a BS in Computer Science and is a lover of all things musical – whether it’s jamming with friends or rocking out at concerts. Annie is interested in creating new audio visual music technologies for collaborative performances. She wants to analyze how different musical interface designs can empower performers to unlock their creative potential. She began working in the ATLAS Lab for Playful Computation during her undergraduate studies and she is continuing on in graduate school with Ben Shapiro as her advisor.

Photo of Brittany kos

Brittany Kos (BS, MS Computer Science, University of Colorado Boulder, 2012, 2014) is studying introductory computing classrooms. She is researching how these spaces build community and construct social norms and how students choose to align themselves with these communities as they build a computing identity. Her advisor is Lecia Barker, associate professor of information science in the College of Media, Communication and Information.


HyunJoo Oh holds two master’s degrees: one from Carnegie Mellon University in entertainment technology and a one in Media Interaction Design from Ewha Woman’s University, South Korea. She works on digital craft, tangible interaction and creative play. By encouraging deep engagement in playful environments, Oh seeks to inspire children to actively explore their ideas, while bridging the digital and physical worlds. She is co-advised by Mark D Gross, professor of computer science and director of the ATLAS Institute, and Michael  Eisenberg, professor of computer science.

Photo of David Oonk

David Oonk studies how students learn about controversial science topics, such as climate change, and how multimedia and artistic tools can be used to help facilitate their learning. For the past four years, he has worked for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education and Outreach, and communications groups. In that time he has worked with Navajo Nation tribal college students on a project documenting environmental and land use change on the reservation through photography, and with middle and high school students across Colorado on climate change documentaries. Oonk received a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.F.A in Film Studies from the University of Colorado–Boulder. His advisor is Max Boykoff, an associate professor of Environmental Studies at CIRES.

Photo of calvin Pohawpatchoko

Calvin C. Pohawpatchoko Jr. is a member of the Numunu People (Comanche Tribe) from the Quahada (Antelope) clan. He has a BS Computer Science from Southern Nazarene University, Bethany, Okla.; a MS in Computer Information Systems from Regis University, Denver; and has done doctoral studies in Educational Technology at University of Northern Colorado and Computer Science at Colorado School of Mines as a GK-12 Fellow. He has worked for 25 years in the IT industry. Calvin serves on the Navajo Technology University Engineering Board and has served on University of Colorado Multi-Cultural Engineering Program Advisory Council and with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE). His research applies Cultural Constructionism in computing, commerce, emerging economies and building human intellectual capital through educational research for indigenous people. His advisor is Clayton Lewis, a professor in Computer Science.

Photo of ABigale Stangl

Abigale Stangl studies how people design assistive technologies, accessible media, and meaningful learning experiences for people with visual impairments. She facilitates the design of curriculum to support fabrication and learning, multi-modal literacies and 3D printing accessible materials. She holds a Masters of Science in Information Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) from the ATLAS Institute at CU-Boulder, a graduate diploma in Landscape Studies from Lincoln University, and a Bachelors of Environmental Design from CU-Boulder. She is a founding director of the Visionaria Peru program, an initiative to support clean cooking and women’s empowerment in Peru. Her advisor is Tom Yeh, assistant professor of computer science.

Meg Leta Ambrose

Photo of Meg ambroseMeg Leta Ambrose graduated from the University of Illinois in three years with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, focusing on music-related subcultures. After working for a year at a financial planning company, she attended law school at the University of Illinois and co-founded a campus record label and was active in community radio. She completed her dissertation, Digital Oblivion: A Right to be Forgotten for the Internet Age in 2013. Ambrose is now on the faculty of the Communication, Culture & Technology Department of Georgetown University.


Kara Behnke

Photo of Kara BehnkeKara A. Behnke is an avid gamer and technology enthusiast. Her dissertation explores how gaming culture – playing games, designing games, and using gamification – can help students learn computer science. She received a bachelor’s in Japanese with a minor in Technology, Arts & Media (TAM) and Chinese from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2010. While pursuing her doctorate, she also received a master’s degree in Serious Game Design from Michigan State University in 2014. As an NSF Engineering Fellow and TAM alumna, Behnke has taught computer science, game design, mobile app development and web development for K-12 and college students. Kara now works as a Teaching & Learning Specialist at She works with top universities and other institutions to produce innovative and effective online content for educational initiatives. She also conducts pedagogical research with partner universities interested in exploring the domain of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC).

Leslie Dodson

Photo of Leslie DodsonLeslie Dodson has worked as an international correspondent for CNBC, MSNBC, NBC WeatherPlus, Reuters Financial Television and NHK Japan based in London, New York, Tokyo and Denver. She received her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Dodson also is a founding partner of The Story Group, a multi-media journalism consortium devoted to covering energy and environmental issues in the Rocky Mountain West. Leslie’s PhD work focused on the use of information and communication technologies by low-literate Berber women who are involved in a unique fog water harvesting project in Morocco.

Jiffer Harriman

Photo of Jiffer harrimanJiffer Harriman
‘s work explores new approaches for interacting with sound through building digital music instruments and musical robots. His music instrument platform, Modular-Muse, has been used in music classes and workshops as a way introduce new ways of controlling with sound through programming and electronics.  He received a master’s degree in Music, Science and Technology in 2010 from the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University and is a 2002 graduate in Electrical Engineering at CU. His advisor is Michael Theodore, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Music and the Director of the Center for Media Arts and Performance.

Josephine Kilde

Photo of Josephine KildeJosephine Kilde, a Kenyan national, received her BS at University of Wisconsin Stout in Information & Communication Technologies (ICT). Her interest is using ICTs for developing education in underrepresented communities in United States and in Kenya. She works at Los Alamos National Laboratories in developing Collaborative Learning and Support Environment for Teachers (CLASET), a professional development online tool for K-12 teachers in New Mexico Native American Pueblo schools. 

Katherine Goodman

Photo of Kate GoodmanKatherine Goodman studies transformative experiences in engineering education—those moments when students connect what they learn in the classroom with the “real world.” Her current work focuses on courses in fluids, such as Fluid Mechanics and Flow Visualization. She holds a B.S in Mathematics from Valparaiso University and a Masters of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.  She works as an assistant professor at inWorks at the University of Colorado Denver.

Sophia Liu

Photo of Sophia liuSophia Liu is a 2004 graduate of the University of California at Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science major specializing in Research and Analytical Methods and double minors in Information and Computer Science, and Digital Arts. She also attended the University of Sussex. Her dissertation, Grassroots Heritage: A Multi-Method Investigation of How Social Media Sustain the Living Heritage of Historic Crises was completed in 2011. She is an interdisciplinary Innovation Specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) working with the Science and Decisions Center (SDC); the Mineral Resources Program (MRP); the Energy and Minerals, and Environmental Health (EM-EH) Mission Areas; and the Office of Enterprise Information (OEI).

Kevin Moloney

Photo of Kevin MoloneyKevin Moloney is a veteran of photojournalism and an educator with the College of Media, Communication, and Information at CU. He holds a master’s degree in Digital Media Studies from the University of Denver. Moloney’s photos have appeared in the New York Times and the Web page; his work as a writer and photographer also has been published by the National Geographic Society, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, TIME, Newsweek, US News & World Report, Stern, Paris Match, The Washington Post and scores of other international publications.

Bradley Dean Morse

Photo of Brad morseBradley Morse has worked in American Indian communities for 11 years and has extensive experience in day-to-day operations of research projects, from data collection and analysis to fiscal management. His research interests include technology-based health promotions, eHealth, mHealth, and increasing physical activity within rural- and urban-based American Indian populations. He leverages technology as channel for tailored interventions that aim to extend the reach and relevancy of face-to-face classroom-based interventions through technology for health management. His advisor is Clayton Lewis, a professor in Computer Science.

Lise Ann St. Denis

Photo of Lise St DenisLise Ann St. Denis has two undergraduate degrees from Colorado State University. She has a bachelor of arts degree in Graphic Design and a bachelor of science degree in Computer Science. She also did graduate work in Human Factors Engineering at the University of Idaho. St. Denis worked on technical publications for five years at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She then worked for 13 years at Hewlett Packard, where she worked on the design of internal information systems, user interface design and project management.

Sid Saleh

Photo of Sid salehSid Saleh investigates how group members collaborate to produce innovative solutions to thorny problems, focusing on collective creativity and entrepreneurship. Sid conducts research at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder where he is a member of the Creative Leadership Incubator. His committee is co-chaired by Professors Maw-Der Foo and David Hekman. His research inaugurated the Motorola Solutions Foundation Services Innovation Fund. An award winner, Sid applied methods such as conjoint analysis to service design at Apple, Best Buy, CEA, IBM, Motorola, Philips and others. He co/founded three startups.

Edwige Simon

Photo of Edwige simonEdwige Simon, a native of France, moved to the U.S. in 1999. She holds master’s degrees in American Studies, French and Education and currently works as a Language Technology Program Coordinator for the Anderson Language Technology Center (ALTEC) at the University of Colorado. Her 2012 dissertation is titled The impact of online teaching on higher education faculty’s professional identity and the role of technology: The coming of age of the virtual teacher.

Kate Starbird

Photo of Kate starbirdKate Starbird received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Stanford University, where she played on the women’s basketball team before a career as a professional basketball player. She completed her dissertation, Crowdwork, Crisis and Convergence: How the Connected Crowd Organizes Information during Mass Disruption Events in 2012. Starbird is now on the faculty of the Department of Human-Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Revi Sterling

Photo of Revi sterlingRevi Sterling worked for Microsoft for 10 years, five of which were spent in the external research program group where she began outreach efforts to increase the number of female computer scientists and technologists. Her 2008 dissertation is titled Advancement Through Interactive Radio. She is the Anita Borg Institute’s 2012 Women of Vision Award Winner for Social Impact and is the former director and co-founder of the ATLAS MS ICTD program.  She works for Washington DC based NGO NetHope.

Heather Underwood

Photo of Heather underwoodHeather Underwood graduated with a computer science degree from the University of Washington in 2009. Working in Bangalore, India, stimulated her desire to travel and learn about cultures worldwide. Her 2013 dissertation is titled The PartoPen: Using Digital Pen Technology to Improve Maternal Labor Monitoring in the Developing World.  She is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver’s InWorks lab.

Sarah Vieweg

Photo of Sarah viewegSarah Vieweg, whose background is in Linguistics and Computer Science, completed her dissertation, Situational Awareness in Mass Emergency: A Behavioral and Linguistic Analysis of Microblogged Communications, in 2012. Vieweg is now Scientist at Qatar Computing Research Institute in Doha.


Joanne White

Photo of Joanne whitePrior to moving to the United States in 2008, Joanne White worked in media and communications for 20 years throughout the Asia Pacific region. She has degrees in Communication and Adult Education, and has a master’s degree in Journalism from CU, where she focused on social media communities and bloggers who are mothers. At ATLAS, her crisis informatics research is focused on the information needs of people with animals during disaster events.  White is now a UX Insight Specialist at Towers Watson in Denver, Colorado.