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Erhardt Graeff is an educator, social scientist, and public interest technologist. He works on the design and use of technology for civic engagement, civic learning, and social justice, and the ethical responsibility of technologists as stewards of democracy. His current research is on articulating the responsibilities of engineers as citizens and developing new forms of civic education within undergraduate engineering. His pedagogy is organized around creating spaces for student-owned and -led public interest technology projects.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Ph.D., Media Arts and Sciences, June 2018
S.M., Media Arts and Sciences, September 2014
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
M.Phil., Modern Society and Global Transformations, July 2008
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
B.S., International Studies, May 2007
B.S., Information Technology, May 2006
Summer Institute of Civic Studies, Tufts University, Medford, MA, July 2013
Study Abroad, SUNY Brockport, Velikiy Novgorod, Russia, Summer 2006
Assistant Professor of Social and Computer Science | Sep 2018 – present
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, MA
Teaching social science, design, and computer science courses.
Faculty Associate | Sep 2018 – present
Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
2020. Chowdhary, S, Daitzman, S, Eisenbud, E, Pan, E & Graeff, E. ‘Care and Liberation in Creating a Student-Led Public Interest Technology Clinic .’ IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, Tempe, Arizona, Nov 12–15.
2020. D’Ignazio, C, Graeff, E, Harrington, CN & Rosner, DK. ‘Toward Equitable Participatory Design: Data Feminism for CSCW amidst Multiple Pandemics.’ In Conference Companion Publication of the 2020 on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, 437–45. CSCW ’20 Companion. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery.
2020. Saxena, D, Graeff, E, Guha, S, Cheon, E, Reynolds-Cuéllar, P, Walker, D, Becker, C & Fleischmann, KR. ‘Collective Organizing and Social Responsibility at CSCW.’ In Conference Companion Publication of the 2020 on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, 503–9. CSCW ’20 Companion. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery.
2020. Graeff, E. ‘The Responsibility to Not Design and the Need for Citizen Professionalism.’ PDC 2020 Interactive Workshop “Computing Professionals for Social Responsibility: The Past, Present and Future Values of Participatory Design.”
2019. Graeff, E. ‘Fostering the Good, Responsible Technologist to Face any Dilemma.’ CHI 2019 Workshop on CHI4Evil: Creative Speculation on the Negative Effects of HCI Research.
2019. Graeff, E. ‘Monitorial Citizenship.’ In Hobbs, R & Mihailidis, P, eds., International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy Education. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
2019. Graeff, E. ‘Everyone Should Be Involved in Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating Digital Surveillance Technology.’ In Levinson, M & Fay, J, eds., Democratic Discord in Schools: Cases and Commentaries in Educational Ethics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
2019. Graeff, E. ‘How Silicon Valley Can Support Citizen Empowerment.’ Scholars Strategy Network, Mar 15.
2018. Graeff, E. ‘Evaluating Civic Technology Design for Citizen Empowerment.’ Ph.D. Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Won Best Dissertation Award, Association of Internet Researchers, 2019)
2017. Graeff, E. ‘Tim Highfield, Social Media and Everyday Politics.’ International Journal of Communication, 11.
2016. Graeff, E. ‘Youth Digital Activism.’ World Youth Report 2015–Youth Civic Engagement. United Nations: New York, NY.
2016. Graeff, E. ‘Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee: Building a Debt Resistance Movement.’ In Gordon, E & Mihailidis, P, eds., Civic Media Reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
2015. Graeff, E. ‘Binders Full of Election Memes: Participatory Culture invades the 2012 U.S. Election.’ In Gordon, E & Mihailidis, P, eds., Civic Media Project.
2015. Graeff, E & Matias, JN. ‘Making Drones Civic: Values and Design Principles for Civic Technology.’ Presented at the International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, New Orleans, LA, Feb 20.
2014. Graeff, E. ‘Tweens, Cyberbullying, and Moral Reasoning: Separating the Upstanders from the Bystanders.’ In Robinson, L, Cotten, SR, & Schulz, J, eds.,Doing and Being Digital: Mediated Childhoods. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.(Won Outstanding Author Contribution award in Studies in Media and Communications, Emerald Literati Network, 2015)
2014. Graeff, E. ‘Crowdsourcing as Reflective Political Practice: Building a Location-based Tool for Civic Learning and Engagement.’ Presented at Internet, Politics, and Policy 2014: Crowdsourcing for Politics and Policy, Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford, UK, Sep 26.
2014. Matias, JN, Agapie, E, D’Ignazio, C, & Graeff, E. ‘Challenges for Personal Behavior Change Research on Information Diversity.’ CHI 2014 Workshop on Personalizing Behavior Change Technologies.
2014. Graeff, E, Stempeck, M, & Zuckerman, E. ‘The Battle for “Trayvon Martin”: Mapping a Media Controversy Online and Off-line.’ First Monday, 19, no. 2.
2014. Graeff, E. ‘Action Path : A Location-Based Tool for Civic Reflection and Engagement.’ S.M. Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
2013. Graeff, E. ‘What We Should Do Before the Social Bots Take Over: Online Privacy Protection and the Political Economy of Our Near Future.’ Presented at Media in Transition 8: Public Media, Private Media, MIT, Cambridge, MA, May 5.(Won MIT Benjamin Siegel Prize in Science, Technology, and Society, 2014)
2011. Lotan, G, Graeff, E, Ananny, M, Gaffney, D, Pearce, I & boyd, d. ‘The Revolutions Were Tweeted: Information Flows during the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions.’ International Journal of Communication, 5.
2009. Rossini, C & Graeff, E. ‘A Brief Overview of U.S. Public Policy on OER from California’s Community Colleges to the Obama Administration.’ The Publius Project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
2009. Graeff, E with Woodworth, S. ‘Afghanistan and its Election on Twitter: The Macro Picture.’ Web Ecology Project.
2009. Kim, E, Gilbert, S, with Edwards, MJ & Graeff, E. ‘Detecting Sadness in 140 Characters: Sentiment Analysis and Mourning Michael Jackson on Twitter.’ Web Ecology Project.
2009. (Various Authors). ‘Reimagining Internet Studies: A Web Ecology Perspective.’ Web Ecology Project.
2008. Graeff, E. ‘Rural Internet Use and the Strengthening of Weak Ties.’ M.Phil. Thesis, University of Cambridge. (Earned First Class mark)
2008. Graeff, E. ‘One Laptop per Digital Divide?’ Cambridge University International Development: Vision, 7 (Technology & Development), pp. 16–18.
2008. Ray, A & Graeff, E. ‘Reviewing the Author-function in the Age of Wikipedia.’ In Eisner, C & Vicinus, M, eds., Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism: Teaching Writing in the Digital Age. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, pp. 39–47.
- Best Dissertation Award, Association of Internet Researchers, 2019
- Outstanding Author Contribution award in Studies in Media and Communications, Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, 2015
- Berkman Center for Internet & Society Fellowship, Harvard, 2014 – 2015
- Benjamin Siegel Prize in Science, Technology, and Society, MIT, 2014
- New Leaders Council Fellowship, 2010
- Institute Writing Contest Winner in Technical Writing, RIT, 2007
- Academic Convocation Student Speaker, RIT, 2006
- Golisano College of Computing Commencement Speaker & Delegate, RIT, 2006
- Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar, RIT, 2006
- Davis Scholarship Leadership Award, RIT, 2006
- Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society, RIT, 2006
- RIT Honors Program, 2004 – 2007
- Nathaniel Rochester Society Scholar, RIT, 2004 – 2006
- Public Interest Technology University Network Year 2 Network Challenge, $62,395, 2021, “Olin College Public Interest Technology Clinic Summer Fellowship Program” (PI)
- Kettering Foundation, $5000, 2020–2021, “to contribute to the Foundation’s research on the pedagogy of civic professionalism” (Independent Contractor)
- Olin College Integrated Project Fund, ~$5500, 2020, “Democracy and Media: Developing an AHS Foundation Course on Civic Power and Professionalism” (PI)
- Olin College Integrated Project Fund, ~$20,000, 2020, “ADE Curriculum Development” (Co-PI)
Public Interest Technology University Network Network Challenge, $88,790, 2019 – 2020, “Olin College Public Interest Technology Clinic” (PI)
- BOW Presidential Innovation Grant, $4000, 2019 – 2020, “Intellectual Community Building through Reading, Discussion, and Public Guest Lectures“(Co-Investigator)
- Cambridge Overseas Trust, £2500, 2007 – 2008, Scholarship
2020. Wood, A, Martello, R, Chowdhary, S, Anderson, M & Graeff, E. ‘Engineering Education in the Public Interest.’ Presented at the 2nd (Virtual) Colloquium on the Global State of the Art in Engineering Education, Dec 1.
2020. Cumiskey, K, Garvin, L, Graeff, E, & Johnson, G. Panel: ‘Real World Applications for IT Students.’ Presented at the Public Interest Technology University Network 2020 Virtual Convening, Nov 13.
2020. Chowdhary, S, Pan, E, Daitzman, S & Graeff, E. ‘Launching a Student-Run Public Interest Tech Initiative.’ Presented at the Public Interest Technology Undergraduate Informatics Education Conference, University of Texas, Austin, TX, Mar 3–4.
2019. Graeff, E & Zomer, A. ‘Designing Social Impact Metrics for Civic Technology.’ Presented at TICTeC: The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, Paris, France, Mar 20.
2018. Graeff, E. ‘The Need for Empowerment-based Design in Civic Technology.’ Presented at The Internet, Policy & Politics Conference 2018, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, September 20–21.
2018. Graeff, E. ‘The Rise of Monitorial Citizenship.’ Presented at Connected Learning Summit 2018, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA, Aug 1.
2017. Graeff, E. ‘Designing for Monitorial Citizenship.’ Presented at TICTeC: The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, Florence, Italy, Apr 26.
2016. Graeff, E. ‘Holding Civic Tech Accountable for Civic Learning.’ Presented at Digital Media and Learning, University of California, Irvine, Oct 6.
2016. Graeff, E. ‘From User to Citizen: Evaluating Online Engagement as Civic Learning.’ Presented at TICTeC: The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, Barcelona, Spain, Apr 28.
2015. Graeff, E. ‘Strike Debt & Rolling Jubilee: Building a Debt Resistance Movement.’ Presented for the The Civic Media Project: Citizens, Technologies & Learning in Digital Culture panel at Digital Media and Learning Conference, Los Angeles, CA, Jun 12.
2015. Graeff, E, Martinez, M, Nicholls, R, & Matias, JN. ‘Putting Youth, Community, and Learning at the Heart of Civic Technology.’ Presented at Digital Media and Learning Conference, Los Angeles, CA, June 11.
2014. Graeff, E, Darling, K, Hake, D, & Nelson, M. Panel: ‘Governing the Ungovernable: Algorithms, Bots, and Threats to Our Information Comfort-Zones.’ The 42nd Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy (TPRC42), George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA, Sep 12.
2014. Graeff, E. ‘‘The Battle for “Trayvon Martin”: Mapping a Media Controversy Online and Off-line.’ Presented at Political Networks, McGill University, Montreal, QC, May 31.
2014. Graeff, E. ‘Action Path: A Location-based Tool for Civic Reflection and Engagement.’ Presented at Place, (Dis)Place and Citizenship, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, Mar 22.
2014. Graeff, E, Barabas, C, Craig, H, & Hope, A. Panel: ‘Balancing Deep and Wide Impacts in the Design of Civic Tech.’ Digital Media and Learning Conference, Boston, MA, Mar 8.
2013. Graeff, E. ‘Binders Full of Election Memes: Expanding Political Discourse.’ Presented at the Digital Media and Learning Conference, Chicago, IL, Mar 14.
2013. Graeff, E, Bausola, D, Leavitt, A, and Marra, G. Panel: ‘Bots for Civic Engagement.’ South by Southwest, Austin, TX, Mar 11.
2012. Graeff, E & James, C. ‘Community Service, Social Entrepreneurship, and Digital Media: Stories from Youth’s Civic Lives.’ Presented at the Digital Media and Learning Conference, San Francisco, CA, Mar 1.
2011. Davis, K & Graeff, E. ‘Cultivating Ethical Thinking among Digital Youth: Challenges and Opportunities.’ Presented at the Center for Character & Social Responsibility Spring Institute: Preparing Engaged Citizens, Boston University, Boston, MA, Apr 28.
2010. Graeff, E & James, C. ‘Solving the Problem of Studying New Forms of Participation On- and Offline.’ Presented at the Civic Studies, Civic Practices Conference, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University, Medford, MA, Jul 3.
2020. Graeff, E, ‘The Responsibility to Not Design and the Need for Civic Professionalism.’ BOW Big Ideas, Wellesley, MA, Dec 16.
2019. Graeff, E, Mardell, B, Soep, L, & Stokes, B. ‘The Next Frontier in Assessment Innovation: Digital Spaces and Play Experiences.’ Civic Learning Impact and Measurement Convening, Facebook, Menlo Park, CA, Jan 11.
2018. Graeff, E. ‘Designing for Empowerment.’ Convocation Address, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, MA, Aug 30.
2017. Graeff, E, Powell, J, Carletide, Z, Habboo, Z, Vukasinovic, N, & Horowitz, J. Panel: ‘Role of Technology in Implementing and Monitoring the SDGs,’ 6th Annual ECOSOC Youth Forum, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY, Jan 30.
2016. Graeff, E. ‘Youth Digital Activism.’ Presented at the Launch of the United Nations World Youth Report: Youth Civic Engagement, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY, Jul 15.
2016. Graeff, E. ‘Youth Digital Activism.’ 47th Symposium on International Relations – Social Media: Global Impact on Political Engagement, Youth & Privacy, Yale University, New Haven, CT, Apr 8.
2016. Graeff, E. ‘Civic Media Impact.’ Boston Civic Media: Impact and Assessment workshop, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA, Apr 7
2015. Graeff, E. ‘Civic Media: Communities Making Change.’ Innovation Keynote at Next Library Festival, Aarhus, Denmark, Sep 13.
2014. Graeff, E. ‘The Civic Media Research Path.’ Keynote at the RIT 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, Aug 8.
2013. Zuckerman, E & Graeff, E. ‘Mapping Media Ecosystems to understand Digital Civics.’ Presented for the The Digital Humanities Distinguished Speaker Series, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, Nov 11.
2013. Graeff, E. ‘The Battle for “Trayvon Martin”: Mapping a Media Ecosystem.’ Presented at Insiders and Outsiders: The 2013 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference, Cambridge, MA, Jun 24.
2013. Graeff, E. ‘Inspiration, Community, and Happiness: Why Microphilanthropy is Awesome.’ Presented for the Yale Distinguished Speaker series on Happiness, New Haven, CT, Apr 5.
2011. Graeff, E. ‘Mapping an Arab Ecosystem (or two).’ Presented for the Mapping Media Ecosystems panel, MIT Center for Civic Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, Nov 2.
Olin College of Engineering
2020. ENGR3290/ENGR4290 Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship, Fall course co-taught with Craig Bida, Scott Hersey, Elizabeth Johansen, Ben Linder, Amon Millner, and Kofi Taha
2020. AHSE1199-01 Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences Foundation Topic: Democracy and Media, Fall course (newly devised)
2020. ENGR3290/ENGR4290 Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship, Spring course co-taught with Craig Bida, Scott Hersey, Elizabeth Johansen, Ben Linder, Amon Millner, and Kofi Taha
2019. MTH1111/SCI1111 Modeling and Simulation of the Physical World, Fall course co-taught with Steve Matsumoto, Alice Paul, and Jason Woodard
2019. ENGR3290/ENGR4290 Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship, Fall course co-taught with Craig Bida, Scott Hersey, Elizabeth Johansen, Ben Linder, Amon Millner, and Kofi Taha
2018. MTH1111/SCI1111 Modeling and Simulation of the Physical World, Fall course co-taught with Allen Downey, Alison Wood, and Jason Woodard
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2015. CMS.360/860 Introduction to Civic Media, Spring course co-taught with Ethan Zuckerman, quality of my teaching as rated by students: 6.9/7.0.
2015. MIT Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program.
2014. MAS.700 Future of News and Participatory Media, Spring course TA for Ethan Zuckerman.
Workshops and Guest Lectures
- Ethics in Engineering, 2020 (Nov 17) guest lecture with Alison Wood in Olin First Year Introduction course, Olin College.
- Ethics in Engineering, 2019 (Oct 2) guest lecture with Alison Wood in Olin First Year Introduction course, Olin College.
- Citizen Professionalism, 2019 (Apr 12) guest lecture in the Change the World course, Olin College.
- Text Mining Ethics, 2019 (Mar 5) guest lecture in the Software Design course, Olin College.
- Guy Debord and the Situationists, 2018 (Nov 16) guest lecture in the What is “I”? course, Olin College.
- Facebook Trending Topics and the Design of Algorithms for News Curation, 2016 (Nov 9) guest lecture in the Media Innovation class, Northeastern University.
- Introduction to Civic Media Design, 2015 (Jan 12) workshop for social entrepreneurs at Sirdab Lab, Kuwait.
- Civic Technologies and Participatory Approaches to Civics Education, 2014 (Nov 20) pre-conference clinic for educators attending the National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, Boston, MA.
- Learning Guides for Community Makers, 2014 (Oct 26) workshop led with Matias, JN, Rodriguez, G, Gunter, J, and Sandvik, L, and Gennarelli, V. at the Mozilla Festival, London, UK.
- Designing Civic Apps with and for Youth, 2013 (Oct 27) workshop at the Mozilla Festival, London, UK.
- Tween’s Conceptions of Privacy Online: Implications for Educators, 2011 (Aug 1) workshop for educators at Facing History and Ourselves, Brookline, MA.
- Twitter and Democracy, 2010 guest lecture in the Internet and Society: Technology and Politics of Control class, Harvard University Extension School.
- CSCW 2021 Conference (workshops co-chair), 2020 – 2021
- Olin Public Interest Technology Clinic (faculty advisor), Olin College, 2019 – present
- Public Interest Technology University Network (designee), Olin College, 2019 – present
- Scholars Strategy Network, 2019 – present
- Context & Ethics in Engineering Working Group, Olin College, 2019
- Ethics & Values in the Educational Experience Task Force (chair), Olin College, 2018 – 2019
- Advising Task Force, Olin College, 2018
- Advisory Board, iCivics, 2018 – present
- Ad Hoc Task Force on the Future of Libraries, MIT, 2015 – 2016
- Corporation Joint Advisory Committee, MIT, 2015 – 2016
- Frontiers of Democracy Conference Planning Committee, 2014
- Media Lab Diversity Committee, MIT, 2014 – present
- Media Lab Student Committee, MIT, 2012 – present
- Science Policy Initiative Member & Secretary, MIT, 2012 – 2014
- inthis (startup) Advisory Board, 2012 – 2013
- Youth and Media Lab Mentor, Berkman Klein Center, Harvard, 2011 – present
- New Leaders Council, Boston Advisory Board, 2010 – 2012
- BetterGrads Mentor, Granada High School, Livermore, CA, 2010 – 2012
- Faculty of Social & Political Sciences Graduate Student Rep, Cambridge, 2007 – 2008
- Digital Arts Competition and Exhibition Advisory Board, RIT, 2006 & 2007
Research Assistant | Jul 2012 – Jun 2018
MIT Center for Civic Media, Cambridge, MA
Designed and studied new technologies for civic and political engagement.
Consultant | Jun 2017 – Aug 2017
Obama Foundation, Washington, DC
Developed a research strategy and lab design to advance civic engagement practice.
User Experience Researcher | Feb 2016 – May 2016
Facebook, Menlo Park, CA
Conducted fieldwork in five countries for Facebook’s Civic Engagement product team.
Professional Fellow | Jan 2015
U.S. State Department + International Center for Journalists, Kuwait
Studied social and media entrepreneurship in Kuwait during 2-week exchange program.
Fellow, Affiliate | Sep 2014 – Aug 2016
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA Convened a summit and several workshops on youth, learning, and civic technology.
Research Assistant | May 2012 – Jul 2012
Microsoft Research (Social Media Collective), Cambridge, MA
Studied public narratives around mobile news app algorithms and design.
Research Assistant | Mar 2009 – Dec 2009
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA Studied open education resources and political economy of US textbook industry.
Deputy Regional Field Director | Oct 2008 – Nov 2008
Obama for America, Mercer County, PA
Supported Get out the Vote operations in Beaver, Lawrence, and Mercer counties.
Engineers Without Borders Intern | Jul 2008 – Sep 2008
Aptivate, Cambridge, UK
Updated content and code for Aptivate’s ‘Web Design Guidelines for Low Bandwidth.’
US Senate Intern | Jul 2007 – Aug 2007
Office of Senator Arlen Specter, Washington, DC
Summarized Senate Judiciary Committee testimony; handled constituent communications.
Student Researcher | Mar 2006 – May 2007
RIT Lab for Social Computing, Rochester, NY
Co-developed blog/wiki use survey; designed interface mockups for social library app.
Editor in Chief | Jan 2005 – Apr 2006
Reporter Magazine, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
Oversaw 50+ staff publishing weekly news magazine; wrote regular editorial column.
NSF Research Intern | Jun 2004 – Aug 2004
Arctic Region Supercomputing Center, Fairbanks, AK
Collaborated on 3D Japanese home model for cultural instruction in virtual reality CAVE.
Co-Founder, Director of Technology & Strategy | May 2009 – Dec 2012
BetterGrads, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Nonprofit that offered online mentoring to prepare high school students for college.
Design Methods: User-centered Design, Human-centered Design, Participatory Design
Qualitative Research: Semi-structured Interviews, Surveys, Thematic Analysis
Quantitative Research: Multilevel Modeling, Social Network Analysis, Spatial Data Analysis
Tools: R, Stata, Python (Jupyter), Gephi, Dedoose, NVivo, SurveyMonkey, GeoDa, ArcGIS