Black Makers Month: Pamela Jennings

Black Makers Month: Pamela Jennings


OK, it’s tax time and I’m tired. That’s no excuse for not posting more awesome Black Makers to the blog! Especially since it’s tax time and I’m about to give Uncle Sam more of my hard-earned dollars I would be sadly remiss to not get Pamela Jennings up here, since she is like a super-meta maker. Not only does she make her own cool stuff, but she is at the National Science Foundation and helps get other makers in the research world the money that they need to change the world. Awesome, yes? I think so! Pamela is another fantastically talented maker who I first met at Sketching In Hardware. I wish I could direct all my tax dollars to her funding initiatives. Oh yeah, and the lazy part. Her bio speaks for itself. So I will just quote her bio:


Pamela L. Jennings, Ph.D. is a Program Director for the Human Centered Computing Cluster programs and Cyberlearning Transforming Education programs in the Information and Intelligent Systems Division of the Computer Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. She is also the representative for the NSF Director on the Federal Council for Arts and Humanities and the lead Program Director for the NSF CreativeIT program until it was merged into the HCC core program. Prior to NSF Jennings was the Research Manager and Director of the Advanced Research Technology Labs at the Banff  New Media Institute in Banff, Alberta, Canada.  She received research support from the iCORE (Alberta Informatics Circle of Research Excellence) Visiting Professor program. She also held an adjunct faculty position at the University Of Calgary Department of Computer Science.  From 2001 to 2008, Jennings held a joint professorship at Carnegie Mellon University between the Human Computer Interaction Institute in the School of Computer Science and the School of Art in the College of Fine Arts. Her research and curricula at Carnegie Mellon University explored the synergies between digital media, interaction design and design of complex systems, software and electrical engineering. From 1996 – 2001 she worked as an Interaction Design Researcher in Human Centered Computing at the User System Ergonomics Research Lab at IBM Almaden Research Center and in Learning Technologies at the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International.

Jennings’ research policy projects focus on the development of pathways to integrate creative digital media practices with science and technology research. This includes collaborative projects between the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.  She was commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation to write the report New Media Arts | New Funding Models in 2000.  Prior to employment at the National Science Foundation she advised the NSF on the development of interdisciplinary funding programs that embrace creativity. She was the curator of the National Science Foundation funded exhibition Speculative Data and the Creative Imaginary: shared visions between art and technology at the National Academy of Sciences Rotunda Gallery in Washington D.C.

Jennings has presented her research at several ACM SIGCHI conferences. Jennings has exhibited her research and creative works at the Science World, Vancouver, BC; Spelman Museum of Fine Arts; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland; FE Gallery Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Parsons’ School of Design, New York; MIT List Center for Visual Arts, Cambridge, Massachusetts; 707 Contemporary Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario; and many international film and video festivals.  She is a Fellow of the MacDowell Artists Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire.  In addition to iCORE, she has received support for her research and creative practices from the National Science Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation; New York State Council on the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Jennings’ received her Ph.D. in Human Centered Systems Design from the Center for Advanced Inquiry in Integrative Arts at the School of Computer Science, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom; M.F.A. in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts; M.A. in Studio Art from the joint International Center of Photography and New York University program; and B.A. in Psychology from Oberlin College.

UPDATE (2/26/2013) : Pamela is no longer at the NSF. She is working on a start up to commercialize her educational technology projects. She is also at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is the  director of the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration. I wish her luck in her luck in her endeavors!

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Kipp Bradford is a technology consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for making things. He is the Senior Design Engineer and Lecturer in Engineering at Brown University, where he teaches several engineering design and entrepreneurship courses. Kipp is also on the Technical Advisory Board for Make Magazine.

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