S. Craig Watkins is the Founding Director of the Institute for Media Innovation and the Ernest S. Sharpe Centennial Professor in the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin. An internationally recognized expert in media, Watkins is the author of five books exploring young people's engagement with media and technology. He was a member of the Connected Learning Research Network, an interdisciplinary team of scholars commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation to study young people's engagement with the digital world. You can learn more about his team's multi-year study of black and Latino teens inventive uses of digital media in their book, The Digital Edge. As a follow-up project, Watkins led a team of researchers to explore how young people are engaging in tech and social ingenuity to navigate the new world of work--the gig economy--marked by automation and globalization. His book, Don't Knock the Hustle, is a revealing portrait of how young creatives are reinventing the future of innovation in tech, media, design, education, and civic life.
Keri K. Stephens, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Organizational Communication Technology and a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research program explores the interplay of communication and technologies by examining organizational practices and organizing processes, especially in contexts of crisis, disaster, and health. She has authored over 80 articles appearing in top research journals, proceedings, and books, and her two most recent books are New Media in Times of Crisis (2019, Routledge), and the 2-time national-level award-winning book Negotiating Control: Organizations and Mobile Communication (2018, Oxford University Press). Her Hurricane Harvey and social media research was funded by the National Science Foundation, and she has given a TEDxTalk. She is an Associate Editor with Management Communication Quarterly, and is the vice-chair for the Mobile Communication Group of the International Communication Association. Finally, she regularly speaks to community groups, and recently partnered with Travis County ESD, and a Lake Travis community organization to collect data for one of the first community-wide wildfire drills in the U.S.
Erin Reilly bridges industry and academia as an innovator, educator and strategist with 20 years of experience inventing new approaches, products, and experiences. Erin is Professor of Practice at the Stan Richards School of Advertising and PR and Founding Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship for Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. Her area of expertise is combining storytelling, engagement and emergent technology, and recently launched Texas Immersive to offer students a specialized program related to this. Erin has been a guest lecturer worldwide at universities and industry conferences. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences New Media Peer Group’s Executive Committee, Past Board President of NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Education) and serves on advisory boards, such as IPSOS Media Development, Infinity Festival, Disney Junior and PBS.
Suzanne Scott is an Assistant Professor of media studies in the Department of Radio-Television-Film. She is the author of Fake Geek Girls: Fandom, Gender, and the Convergence Culture Industry (NYU Press, 2019) and the co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Media Fandom (2018). Her research interests include media fandom, digital participatory culture, and media convergence, and her work has appeared in the journals New Media & Society, Transformative Works and Cultures, Cinema Journal, Participations, Feminist Media Histories, and Critical Studies in Media Communication as well as numerous anthologies. She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level on digital media and remix culture, video game studies, digital identities, gender and fan culture, and transmedia storytelling.
Jakki Bailey is an assistant professor and the Scott C. and Vickie S. Reeve Endowed Faculty Fellow in the School of Information. Bailey, the director of the Immersive Human Development Lab, specializes in immersive technology, and its influence on cognition, behavior, and learning across the lifespan. She is currently examining VR’s influence on children’s cognitive skills and social responses as well as children’s use of conversational agents. Her past research has included studying how technology affects behavior change such as through Internet-based programs to reduce the risk of mental disorders and leveraging VR to promote pro-environmental behaviors among adult populations. She has also has used VR to test some of the mechanisms behind embodiment’s influence on perception. In addition to her academic research and service, Bailey has advised children’s media company executives on the psychological, social, and ethical implications of VR in youth’s lives. She received her PhD from Stanford University.
Dhiraj Murthy is an Associate Professor of Journalism and Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. He founded and directs the Computational Media Lab there. Murthy’s research explores social media, computational social science, race/ethnicity, qualitative/mixed methods, and disasters. Dr. Murthy has edited 3 journal special issues and authored over 60 articles, book chapters, and papers. Murthy wrote the first scholarly book about Twitter (second edition published by Polity Press, 2018). He is currently funded by the National Science Foundation’s Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) Division for pioneering work on using the social media networks of journalists for damage reconnaissance during Hurricane Florence. Dr. Murthy's work also uniquely explores the potential role of social technologies in diversity and community inclusion.
Kaya is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. Her current research is in the emerging field of computational behavioral science, bridging insights from developmental science, clinical psychology, computer science, and electrical engineering. Her lab uses mobile and wearable sensors to gain unprecedented access into the daily experiences of mothers and their infants. The goals of this work are to access the basic mechanisms of maternal mental health and infant social-emotional development, and ultimately to develop “just in time” interventions for cases of high risk, such as the transmission of risks for depression from mothers to infants.