Past NITLE Fellows

danah boyd

danah boyd is a social scientist at Microsoft Research and a research associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In her research, she examines everyday practices involving social media, with specific attention to youth participation. Lately, she has been focused on issues related to privacy, publicity, and visibility. She recently co-authored Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media.

At the Berkman Center, danah co-directed the Internet Safety Technical Task Force with John Palfrey and Dena Sacco to work with companies and non-profits to identify potential technical solutions for keeping children safe online. This Task Force was formed by the U.S. Attorneys General and MySpace and is being organized by the Berkman Center. Currently, danah is co-directing the Youth Media and Policy Working Group with John Palfrey and Urs Gasser; this project is funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Dr. boyd is also an associate fellow at Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society. She is on the board of the New Media Consortium. She was a Commissioner on the Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. She has worked as an ethnographer and social media researcher for various corporations, including Intel,, Google, and Yahoo! She also created and managed a large online community for V-Day, a non-profit organization working to end violence against women and girls worldwide. She has advised numerous other companies, sits on corporate, education, conference, and non-profit advisory boards, and regularly speaks at a wide variety of conferences and events.

Dr. boyd blogs at and tweets at @zephoria.  

John Seely Brown

John Seely Brown is a visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost at University of Southern California (USC) and the Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge. Prior to that he was the Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and the director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)—a position he held for nearly two decades. While head of PARC, Brown expanded the role of corporate research to include such topics as organizational learning, knowledge management, complex adaptive systems, and nano/mems technologies. He was a cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL). His personal research interests include the management of radical innovation, digital youth culture, digital media, and new forms of communication and learning.

JSB is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and of AAAS, and a Trustee of the MacArthur Foundation. He has published over 100 papers in scientific journals, including “Research that Reinvents the Corporation” and “Your Next IT Strategy,” both of which received the Harvard Business Review’s McKinsey Award (in 1991 & 2002, respectively). With Paul Duguid, he co-authored the acclaimed book The Social Life of Information (Harvard Business Press, 2000), which has been translated into 9 languages with a second edition in April 2002, and with John Hagel he co-authored the book The Only Sustainable Edge (Harvard Business Press, 2005) about new forms of collaborative innovation. His latest, co-authored with John Hagel and Lang Davison, is The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion, published by Basic Books in April 2010. He is currently working on The New Culture of Learning with Professor Doug Thomas at USC.  

Brent D. Glass

Brent D. Glass is Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the world’s largest museum devoted to telling the story of America. A national leader in the preservation, interpretation, and promotion of history, Glass is a public historian who pioneered influential oral history and material culture studies, an author, television presence and international speaker on cultural diplomacy and museum management.

As director of the National Museum of American History since 2002, Glass led a two-year, $87 million renovation and development of 20 new exhibitions for the 2008 reopening, including the major exhibitions on The Star-Spangled Banner; Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life, and On the Water: Stories from Maritime America, and 80 public programs and 2,500 theater performances. Since 2008, more than 13 million people have visited, a 50% increase over previous years, and the Museum’s web site has an additional 8 million visitors.

Glass is an active member of and consultant to the diplomatic, cultural, and academic communities.  He is a member of the Flight 93 Memorial Advisory Commission and of the State Department’s U.S-Russia Bilateral Commission Working Group on Education and Culture. He travels frequently as a featured speaker or participant in U.S. State Department public and cultural diplomacy programs, and serves as a consultant and advisor to several cultural organizations including The Presidio in San Francisco and the DeVos Institute at The Kennedy Center in Washington. He is a trustee of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Before joining the Smithsonian, Glass served from 1987-2002 as executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, managing the largest and most comprehensive state history program in the country, with 25 historical sites and museums, State Archives, State Museum, the State Historic Preservation Office, public history programs and historical publications.

Glass earned his doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1980), a master’s degree in American Studies from New York University (1971), and bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College (1969). He also completed the program for government executives at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1994). He writes extensively on topics ranging from state-of-the-museum blogs to public memory, historic preservation, and industrial history.  

Alan Kay

Alan Kay is one of the earliest pioneers of object-oriented programming, personal computing, and graphical user interfaces. His contributions have been recognized with the Charles Stark Draper Prize of the National Academy of Engineering, the Alan M. Turing Awards from the Association of Computing Machinery, and the Kyoto Prize from the Inamori Foundation. The work recognized by these awards was done in the rich context of ARPA and Xerox PARC with many talented colleagues.

While at the ARPA project at the University of Utah in the late 1960s and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the early 1970s, Dr. Kay invented many aspects of personal computing now familiar today. In 2001, he founded Viewpoints Research Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to children, learning, and advanced systems research. There, he and his colleagues continue to explore advanced systems and programming design by aiming for a “Moore’s Law” advance in software creation of many orders of magnitude. They are deeply involved in the One Laptop Per Child initiative that seeks to create a Dynabook-like “$100 laptop” for every child in the world.

Dr. Kay has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Society of Arts, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Computer History Museum. He has been a Xerox Fellow, Chief Scientist of Atari, Apple Fellow, Disney Fellow, and HP Senior Fellow. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of California at Los Angeles.  

Fred Mednick

Fred Mednick founded Teachers Without Borders in 2000 after discovering a huge gap in global teacher professional development and recognizing the power of teachers as key catalysts for social change. Today, TWB has members in 202 countries and has worked in some of the most challenging places of the world, convening teachers from regions in conflict, establishing child-friendly spaces following natural disasters, and creating communities of teachers where none have existed before.

Dr. Mednick has led several open source educational resources and tools, with particular focus on connecting global communities of teachers to content, resources, tools, and each other. He has spoken at Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and TED Talks; lectured on Human Rights and Education at the University of Washington; and been a delegate to the Global Creative Leadership Summit for four consecutive years.  

Michael Wesch

Dubbed “the explainer” by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. He is an associate professor at Kansas State University.

After two years studying the effects of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, Wesch turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society. His videos on culture, technology, education and information have been viewed by millions, translated into more than 15 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide.

Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired magazine Rave Award and the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology; he was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. He also has won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities.

In early 2007, Wesch launched the Digital Ethnography Working Group, a team of undergraduates exploring human uses of digital technology. Coinciding with the launch of this group, Wesch created a short video, “The Machine is Us/ing Us.” Released on YouTube Jan. 31, 2007, it quickly became one of the most popular videos in the blogosphere and has now been viewed more than 12 million times. He followed up this with “A Vision of Students Today,” a short video he created with 200 K-State students exploring the state of higher education today. The video was the most popular video on the Web in October 2007 and now has more than 4 million views. Wesch also has led K-State undergraduate students in a three-year study of YouTube culture. The resulting 55-minute video has now been viewed more than 1 million times and was called “a phenomenon” by The New York Times.