top of page


Race, Activism & Digital Wellness

Project Overview

The Race, Activism & Digital Wellness project was designed as a direct response to growing mental health struggles following the rise of the dual pandemic (COVID-19 + anti-Black racism). Black youth navigate an onslaught of racism, both on and offline, and the shift to remote learning overexposed them to racially traumatizing and emotionally taxing digital content.  This project focused on fostering race-based digital wellness in two ways: 1) designing a critical race technology course that fostered students' ability to critically read, navigate and resist algorithmic racism in their everyday lives; and 2) provide them a chance to dream up and deploy abolitionist technologies that could support racialized wellness for Black youth. 

Thanks to philanthropic gifts and competitive research grants, this pilot study has developed into three new, but interrelated projects and research strands. The first includes the development of a formalized STEM+CS summer program at UCLA, called Race Abolition and AI (more below). The second includes the development of gender-specific programming for Black girls, femmes and non-binary students interested in AI, resistance and digital wellness. This mini program, called GLITCH, is set to launch summer 2025. Finally, the third expansion includes the formal development of a Critical Race + Media Studies research team that studies Black culture, resistance and collective healing online.  

Grants & Institutional Partnerships

The Race, Activism & Digital Wellness project was awarded seed grant funding ($20,000) by UCI's Connected Learning Lab. The success of this pilot study resulted in additional funding that supported the formal creation of a CRTT summer program at UCLA. The Race, Abolition and AI program, now in its fourth year, is discussed in detail below. 

Race, Abolition & AI

PNG image.png

Project Overview

The overarching goal of this summer program is to prepare Black high schoolers to critically interrogate the ubiquity of anti-Black racism within socio-technical architectures (e.g. code, data, algorithms, interface design, etc.) of digital and artificially intelligent technologies, and to develop ways to resist, subvert and redesign these systems in computationally sophisticated ways. At the end of the 5 weeks, students work collaboratively to design and dream up technologies that are race-conscious and algorithmically just, and that can protect - rather than harm - marginalized communities. Rooted in critical race, Black feminist and Afro pessimist frameworks, the course is designed in ways that bend, blur and break STEM+CS as we currently know it to instead bring forth a Black radical reimagining of science and technology: a STEM Otherwise.

Grants & Institutional Partnership

The Race, Abolition and AI summer program, hosted annually at UCLA, is made possible through competitive funding from the Connected Impact studio ($15,000), an IRT Engineering and AI Grant ($15,000), and an anonymous gift from a private philanthropy group ($15,000). To date, the program has been awarded $65,000 in total.

LiTT Gaming Lab

Project Overview

This project examines the pedagogical possibilities of video games in the lives and schooling experiences of Youth of Color. In collaboration with Dr. Arturo Cortez, the study PI and a leading figure in digital learning sciences, and YEBO, a non-profit community organization in Denver, this project supported the development of a community-based video game lab that connects Youth of Color to undergraduate STEM mentors at CU Boulder. In addition to receiving college credit for their participation, the youth in this study will design a curricular unit on race, justice and video games that will be implemented by practitioners in schools around Colorado.  Future iterations of the project will connect youth and undergraduate participants to CS engineers and game designers to collaboratively develop race-conscious and justice oriented video games for Youth of Color in schools.

Grants & Institutional Partnership

The LiTT Gaming Lab was a recipient of a Place-Based Seed grant ($20,000) by the University of Colorado Boulder in 2021. It was also awarded a prestigious award of $200,000 by the Lucas Educational Foundation in that same year. As part of the Lucas Grant, which encourages inter-campus liaisons, the LiTT gaming lab works in collaboration with a research collective at Northwestern. 

Equity Oriented Robot Tutoring

Grants & Funding Sources

The goal of this project is to broker partnerships between engineers, computer scientists and Black youth to design a socially conscious and algorithmically-just AI system that can support equitable learning opportunities for Youth of Color in urban schools. By positioning the voices and cultural insights of Black students as an invaluable first step in eradicating anti-Black racism in educational spaces, this work addresses calls for more qualitative and racially conscious interrogations of technology that can remediate racial inequality across the techno-social spectrum.

This project was competitively funded by an IRT Seed Grant ($15,000) from CU Boulder's School of Engineering

Project Overview

Project Overview

Engineering for Social Justice

The “Engineering for Social Justice” study partners with over 13 global engineering programs across the country to understand the impacts of social justice movements, including #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, on humanitarian engineering students’ ability to leverage anti-racist and decolonial practices in their current and future projects. Under my stewardship, our research team was able to design a global engineering Discord server where we share educational resources on anti-racism and environmental (in)justice; provide opportunities for users to critically reflect on trending topics in the field; and share practice-oriented steps on how to ensure global service projects are justice-oriented and race-conscious.

Grants & Funding Sources

This project received a Research and Innovation Grant ($50,000) from CU Boulder, and a $350,000 award from the National Science Foundation. 

bottom of page