Aakash Gautam

I am an assistant professor in the Computer Science department at San Francisco State University (SFSU).

I am interested in designing socio-technical systems to realize an inclusive and just society. My research falls across human-computer interaction (HCI), learning sciences, and community-based participatory action research. Acknowledging that technology design can reinforce the status quo, I seek ways to support the groups to own the output and engage with institutional infrastructures to bring about desired social change. I leverage participatory approaches that take incremental steps, focused on supporting communities to develop a critical awareness of their existing strengths and surrounding contexts. In the process, I design technology to function as an intermediary in facilitating people to come together, have a say in the process of change, and make moves towards enacting their desired futures.

I completed my Ph.D. at Virginia Tech where I was a member of ThirdLab. During my graduate program, I worked on two major projects. The first involved developing integrated computational thinking and science modules for middle school classrooms. We deployed curricular materials, including simulations and code-based models, in schools in Texas, Virginia, and Nepal. The second ongoing project involved an anti-trafficking organization in Nepal and survivors of human trafficking supported by the organization. The project aims to support survivors in achieving what they call “dignified reintegration.”

I am actively looking for undergraduate and graduate students interested in either (1) working with elementary and middle school teachers and students or (2) designing technologies to support marginalized and vulnerable communities. If you would like to work with me, please fill out this survey.

You can reach out to me via email (aakash[at]sfsu[dot]edu). I am also (sporadically) on Twitter.