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Graduate Student Profiles
Alexander
Behm
Ph.D. in Information & Computer Science
John
Brock
1st-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science
Ellie
Harmon
4th-year Ph.D. student in Information & Computer Science
Sun Young Park
4th-year Ph.D. student in Information & Computer Science
Arjun
Satish
5th-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science
Nicole Miya Sylvester
2nd-year Ph.D. student in Information & Computer Science
Tianbing
Xu
4th-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science
2012-13 Kling Memorial Fellow
Ellie Harmon
Ellie Harmon
Ellie Harmon has received the Rob Kling Memorial Fellowship, named for the late professor Rob Kling, who made prolific contributions to the field of social informatics. Kling spent more than 20 years at UC Irvine (1973–1996), where he studied the role of computers in society, organizations and public policy. He gave rise to what came to be known as the "Irvine School," the intellectual perspective on information technology in complex organizational settings that was born at UCI. Over his lifetime he held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UC Irvine and Indiana University, Bloomington.
Where are you from?
I was born in Georgia, and grew up in a small town, Flowery Branch, about an hour northeast of Atlanta. I have also lived in Atlanta, GA; Santa Fe, NM; and San Francisco, CA.
What are your previous academic degrees?
B.S. in computer science with minors in cognitive science and sociology from Georgia Tech and M.S. in human-computer interaction, also from Georgia Tech.
Why did you choose to pursue graduate studies at UCI?
I chose to pursue my Ph.D. in informatics at UCI because of its reputation as an interdisciplinary department. Within a single department, we have top researchers in areas that, at other schools, might be segregated into various departments like, "information studies," "human-computer interaction," "science and technology studies," or "organization studies." In addition to this rich variety of perspectives within the department, many students and faculty have good working relationships with students and faculty across other campus departments. This makes UC Irvine a unique place to study the interweaving of information technologies with contemporary life.
What is your current research focus?
My research focuses on the everyday experience of mobile communication technologies. I conduct ethnographic fieldwork that investigates how people connect to and disconnect from each other and technology in new ways. I am interested in how ideals of nature, time and the human self are important to questions about connection and disconnection — and how those same ideals are themselves redefined in the context of contemporary mobile technologies, which are becoming ordinary and intimate objects.
What are your future plans?
I plan to stay in academia.
How do you like to spend your time outside of school?
I am passionate about spending time outdoors. I thru-hiked the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail in 2008, and I plan to thru-hike the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail this year.
Any words of wisdom for prospective grad students looking to study at UCI?
Contact current grad students and talk to them about what it’s like here.