Doctoral Student Spotlights

Gabriela Richard

Educational Communication and Technology

I chose this Doctoral Program Because:
I had been an educational designer for many years, but found myself more interested in how technologies could be used to educate and empower young adults, particularly youth who were underrepresented or underprivileged. Prior to starting the doctoral program, I had started a pilot program for New York City Public School students and teachers, which taught them how to develop and integrate tangible learning tools in their classrooms. The initiative, which developed into a 3-year grant, inspired me because the children had such wonderful ideas when it came to learning, and they developed such amazing interactive learning tools through our curriculum. Also, it was moving to see most of the kids who were part of our program go on to pursue a college education in math, science or technology, when, for many of them, these study areas (and even for some, college education) weren't previously in their spectrum. As a result, I wanted to learn more about how technology could best be integrated with education, particularly when it came to empowering underrepresented or underserved communities.
In 5 or 10 years I hope to:
I hope in 5-10 years to be a professor, pursuing research that challenges educational designers to be aware of how social context affects learning outcomes within educational games.
Focus of my research of scholarship:
gender and video games, explored through a postmodern feminist epistemological lense
I'm interested in this topic because:
Gender and video games have often been studied in a methodologically essentialist way, and I would like for game culture and educational game developers to be more aware of the spectrum of gamers and learners, across gender, race and ethnicity.
Academic or other experience that most influenced my choice of doctoral study:
My own personal experience being typically the only one of a handful of women in the areas that interested me, whether they be video games, or engineering environments, greatly influenced my choice of doctoral study. As a woman of color, I often found myself to not only be one of the only women in the room, but also one of the only people of color in the room. I want to inspire more youth of color and young women to get interested in technology, and help shape the way that technology is being developed, and I felt the best way to do this would be through education - both in terms of becoming an educator of technology, as well as developing educational technologies with their experiences in mind to get them more interested in participating in these cultures.
Professor who has influenced me the most:
Christopher Hoadley
Scholarly presentation of my work I'm most proud of:
I did a presentation at the Technology, Knowledge and Society conference of the three-year physical computing for Students and Teachers project.
Favorite course as a doctoral student:
Emotional and Social Development
What I like most about being part of a community of doctoral students:
I enjoy that we have a support network, not only for our academic work, but for the emotional aspects of doctoral study. I was lucky to be in a cohort of like-minded and amazingly intelligent individuals who were open to working together and looking out for each other.
One of the things I enjoy doing in New York City when I'm not being a doctoral student:
finding new and interesting venues where international music and expression is celebrated and embraced.

Background Information

Where you grew up:
San Francisco, CA and Boston, MA
Career Goals:
Professor/Researcher of Educational Games that explore social context
Honors, Awards, and Achievements:
National Science Foundation SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (July 2010), National Science Foundation Nordic Research Opportunity Grant (April 2009) for travel and research at HIIT Lab in Helsinki, Finland Dean 's Research Grant, Steinhardt School, New York University (May 2008-09) National Science Foundation (Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Award, 2007-2010) Invited to join Pi Lamda Theta Honor Society by Dean of Steinhardt School, New York University, for Outstanding Academic Achievement, November 2009 AERA Division C Graduate Student Scholar, American Educational Research Association Conference, April 2009 Outstanding Student Nominee, Steinhardt School, New York University, April 2009
Other professional or service activities:
Developed and coordinated the National Science Foundation: ITEST "Physical Computing for Students & Teachers" grant (M. Nachbar & B. Brownstein), which taught 90 public school teachers and over 2,000 public school students how to develop their own tangible learning tools. Worked as a Research Assistant for both the Chicago School Readiness Project (C. Cybele Raver) and the Emergency Department at Bellevue Hospital (S. Wall & L. Goldfrank).