PhD Students

Untitled design (29)Diana L. Ascher is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her lifelong interest in knowledge and decision making has focused on the evaluation, classification, organization, communication, and interpretation of information, and motivates her work at the intersection of information studies and the fields of behavioral science, finance, higher education, journalism, law, leadership, management, medicine, and policy. She brings more than two decades of experience as a writer, editor, media director, and information strategist to her work.

Untitled design (30)Morten Bay is a doctoral student at the UCLA Dept. Of Information Studies. He holds an MA in Media Studies and a BA in Philosophy and Film/Media Studies from the University of Copenhagen. His research is focused on technology’s impact on society, with a particular focus on the Internet and its history as well as technology policy. Bay’s dissertation work centers around national cybersecurity policy and the balance between security and civil rights. He has recently worked on a two-year project at the UCLA Computer Science Dept. with Internet pioneer Leonard Kleinrock, documenting innovation history at DARPA, which also funded the project. He continues this work as part of the Kleinrock Center for Internet Studies at UCLA. Morten Bay also works as a technology journalist/correspondent for Politiken, the most-read newspaper in his native Denmark. He is the author of five books, three of which are on the subject of emerging technologies and their impact on society.

Luke Bohanon is concurrently working on a PhD and an MLIS through UCLA’s Department of Information Studies. He holds a BA in English and an MA in history from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and spent five years as an assistant archivist and collections specialist at a heritage museum in Colorado Springs. His dissertation research at UCLA explores knowledge production at the intersections of scientific work, creative practices, and infrastructure in Antarctica’s research stations. Luke uses qualitative methods in his work, primarily ethnography, for which he received training through UCLA’s Department of Sociology. His other scholarly interests include archives, collective memory & genocide, privacy & surveillance, and critiques of technology. Luke is a sponsored rock climber and enjoys hiking, camping, playing with his dog, and working on cars & motorcycles in his spare time; he is also a board member for The Giving Child Organization.

Untitled design (19)Kathy Carbone is a doctoral candidate in Information Studies, with a focus in Archival Studies, at UCLA. Her research focuses on intersections between artists, art, social justice, and the archives; affect in and through the archives; the body and performance as archive and the archive as embodied and performative. Carbone is currently working on her dissertation project which is an ethnographic study of an artist-in-residence program and the socially engaged archival/art practices of the program’s inaugural two artists at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center (PARC) in Portland, Oregon. Carbone is also the institute archivist, performing arts librarian, and a faculty member in the Herb Alpert School of Music at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and a modern dancer who has been collaborating with musicians and dancers through improvisation and set material in theater and gallery based live performance events for over 25 years.

Untitled design (25)Natascha Chtena is a third year PhD student. Her work is in the subfields of social informatics known as educational and environmental informatics. Her research interests include educational technology policy, theories of materiality, digital anthropology and environmental education. Teaching is one of her passions and she brings broad knowledge and interdisciplinary curiosity to her subject matter. She holds a masters in Cultural Studies and Comparative Education from UCLA and a masters in Media Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Natascha is a regular contributor to Inside Higher Ed on issues of educational technology, language teaching and student wellness.

Untitled design (28)Marika Cifor is beginning work on her critical archival studies dissertation, a qualitative examination of nostalgia, representation and the records of HIV/AIDS activism. She is also pursuing a Concentration Certificate in Gender Studies. Her research interests include affect, community archives, queer and feminist theories, bodies and embodiment, and collective memory.Stacy is a PhD student in Information Studies at UCLA She holds an M.L.I.S. with a specialization in archives from UCLA and a B.A. in Literature, Gender Studies and Media Studies from Pitzer College.

Untitled design (23)Roderic Crooks is a doctoral candidate in Information Studies at UCLA. Roderick is a critical scholar of informatics who examines cultural aspects of information and media technology, primarily through ethnographic methods. His dissertation project reports on two years of field work at a South Central Los Angeles public high school as it implemented a one-to-one tablet computer program. He also writes about community archives, dating apps, and digital humanities. In addition to his research, Roderic teaches undergraduate courses in new media and society.

Untitled design (18)Randy Illum is currently a first year Information Studies Doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He is interested in researching the connections between physical computing, play, and information retrieval, in addition to how physical infrastructures impact the implementation of computing and information systems in informal learning environments, such as museums and public spaces. Before starting his Doctoral studies at UCLA, Randy worked in 3D fabrication, aerospace engineering, home automation, and at UCLA’s Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance.

Untitled design (22)Robert D. Montoya, M.F.A, M.L.I.S, is a doctoral candidate in Information Studies at UCLA. His dissertation, tentatively titled, Articulating Universal Taxonomies: Epistemology and the Global Unification of Biodiversity Databases, takes a critical Information Studies approach to examine how knowledge is represented in biodiversity taxonomic databases, what conceptual assumptions these infrastructures embody, and to assesses their efficacy in scientific practice. This research brings together several domains of scholarly activity, including knowledge organization (KO), classification theory, philosophy, biodiversity studies, systematics, and infrastructure studies. Methods include documentary analysis and qualitative fieldwork involving semi-structured interviews and nonparticipant observation. Robert has extensive experience working in non-profit institutions, special collections, archives, and academic libraries. Most recently he served as the Head of Public Services for UCLA Library Special Collections, where he led its reference, reader services, instruction, outreach, scholarly communication & publishing, and duplication services operations.

Dustin O'HaraDustin O’Hara is a PhD candidate at UCLA, department of Information Studies and a design researcher at the Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance (REMAP). At REMAP Dustin works on the future internet architecture project Named Data Networking (NDN); where he focuses on user interface design and human computer interaction (HCI) related issues. In addition to the NDN project, Dustin has been researching the so called sharing economy – specifically the timebanking movement. Broadly speaking Dustin’s doctoral research has been focused on how everyday social practices and human values are expressed in design patterns.

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Britt S. Paris comes to the department with an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School, where she investigated forms of value production in Web 2.0 contexts. Her current work focuses on the epistemic and political implications of the temporal design of information infrastructure. Other areas of interest include aesthetics, critical data studies, history and philosophy of technology and information ethics.


Untitled design (17)Irene Pasquetto is a doctoral student in Information Studies at UCLA. Irene holds a BA in Communication Science and a MA in Journalism and Media Studies, both from University of Verona, Italy. As a freelance journalist, Irene investigates and reports about different topic areas, mainly digital cultures, education and open government data. At UCLA, she conducts research at the Center for Knowledge Infrastructures about open data and code practices in biomedical communities. Her research methods include ethnographic participant observation, semi-structured interviews and document analysis. Irene’s research interests include data practices, data & epistemology, information policy and economics.

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Jennifer Pierre is a doctoral student in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, pursuing research in the areas of computer-mediated communication and social informatics. Her work broadly examines how people use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to form and maintain communities. Specifically, she studies how youth and other groups use social media for participation and social support, and how various individuals and communities use data to facilitate communal activism and social change. Jennifer is a co-founding member of the Southern California Climate Data Protection Project, and a former Graduate Student Researcher for the UC Digital Cultures Lab. She has a B.S. in Communication from Cornell University.


Untitled design (26)Ashley Sands is a doctoral candidate in Information Studies at UCLA. Joining us from the field of Archaeology, she brings nearly a decade of experience working with scientific data. Sands is currently completing her dissertation, which examines astronomy data management practices to reveal the expertise and infrastructure most appropriate for maximizing the utility of scientific data. Research methods include semi-structured interviews, ethnographic participant observation, and document analysis. Ashley’s research interests include scholarly communication, scientific data practices, and data management workforces.

Kristin B. Cornelius (M.A.) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously a composition instructor at Cal State U. Northridge from 2010-2014, where she received her BA in English and Philosophy (2009) and MA in Rhetoric and Composition (2012), she continues to work in the field of textuality studies and rhetoric by studying the documentation and recordkeeping practices of contracts and evidence as they exist within current information and institutional systems in the business, law, and financial sectors. Her dissertation project considers digitized standard form contracts from a rhetorical perspective and includes case studies on terms of service agreements and smart contracts made with blockchain technology.

Untitled design (20)Stacy Wood is a PhD student in Information Studies at UCLA. She holds an M.L.I.S. with a specialization in archives from UCLA and a B.A. in Literature, Gender Studies and Media Studies from Pitzer College. Stacy’s research focuses on the historical, legal and theoretical foundations of classified information as well as its material practices and artifactual features. She is also interested in information cultures within intelligence agencies and government bodies, media histories of intelligence, pedagogy and praxis in the information professions and radical archives.

untitled-design-13L. Wynholds: I am a doctoral candidate in the Information Studies department. My research interests include: science and technology studies, data practices, social/historical aspects of data structures, digital libraries/archives, ethnographic field methods, situational analysis, pluralistic knowledge structures, and queer studies.