Seminar: Yolanda Rankin
Assistant Professor, School of Communications & Information, Florida State University
"Rethinking Intersectionality in the Field of Computing: A Black Woman's Perspective"
Intersectionality, a critical framework that examines how interconnected systems of power oppress marginalized populations, is currently receiving new garnered attention in the context of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research, creating an undercurrent for challenging the status quo for how we design technology-based solutions for marginalized, underserved, and/or vulnerable populations. These populations have historically faced social injustices such as racial inequality that have contributed to over-policing, lack of accessible healthcare, and lack of economic investment (e.g., areas with concentrated poverty and food deserts that contribute to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease). As a Black woman who conducts HCI-related research, the work that I do is more than just research; it is an attempt to bring to light social injustices that affect Black people by exposing not only the morally decrepit and systemic interlocking matrices of oppression but also to uncover how the structure of social inequality negatively impacts Black women in the field of computing. In this talk, I intentionally position Black women front and center as intellectuals and agents of knowledge in this discussion of intersectionality that is gaining momentum within the larger HCI community and the field of computing, more broadly.
Dr. Yolanda A. Rankin is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Information at Florida State University. Her research interests include developing best practices for broadening participation in K-16 computing education, designing video games to promote Second Language Acquisition (SLA), and utilizing Black feminist epistemologies (intersectionality and Black feminist thought) as critical frameworks for designing technology with underserved populations. Yolanda, a McKnight Fellow (2020-2021) and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow (2016), has published more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, including journal articles, conference papers, and books. Prior to entering academia, she accumulated more than twelve years of industry experience, developing software applications and providing customer support while employed at IBM Research Lab – Almaden in San Jose, CA and Lucent Technologies Bell Labs in Naperville, IL. Yolanda completed her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Northwestern University, her M.A. in Computer Science at Kent State University, and her B.S. in Mathematics at Tougaloo College, a historically Black college in Jackson, Mississippi. To maintain work/life balance, she enjoys watching movies, working out, and eating good food.