summary / education / experience / enterprises started / publications / conference presentations / invited talks / teaching/workshops / service / honors / technical skills /
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I am a mixed methods researcher and civic technology designer studying how citizens, communities, and social movements use technology to make change. My motivating research question is how do we best design technologies and learning experiences to empower youth to be more effective citizens.


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 (Highest Honors), May 2007
B.S., Information Technology (Highest Honors), 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
Olin College of Engineering, Needham, MA

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 | Dec 2009 – Feb 2012
Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
Studied young people’s ethical thinking and civic engagement in online spaces.

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.

enterprises started

Founding Trustee | Jul 2009 – present
The Awesome Foundation, Boston, MA (
Philanthropy giving monthly micro-grants to creative and innovative projects and ideas.

Founding Member | Jun 2009 – Apr 2012
Web Ecology Project, Cambridge, MA (
Think tank studying social media and internet culture phenomena.

Co-Founder, Director of Technology & Strategy | May 2009 – Dec 2012
BetterGrads, San Francisco Bay Area, CA (
Nonprofit offering online mentoring to prepare high school students for college.


2018. Graeff, E. ‘Evaluating Civic Technology Design for Citizen Empowerment.’ Ph.D. Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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.

conference presentations

2017. Graeff, E.‘Designing for Monitorial Citizenship.’ TICTeC: The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, Florence, Italy, Apr 26.

2016. Graeff, E.‘Holding Civic Tech Accountable for Civic Learning.’ Presented at the Digital Media and Learning, University of California, Irvine, Oct 6.

2016. Graeff, E.‘From User to Citizen: Evaluating Online Engagement as Civic Learning.’ 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.

invited talks

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.

teaching / workshops

  • 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.


  • Ad Hoc Task Force on the Future of Libraries, MIT, 2015 – present
  • 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


  • 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
  • Overseas Trust Scholarship, Cambridge, 2007 – 2008
  • 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

technical skills

research methods & software

Design: User-centered Design, Human-centered Design / Design Thinking, Collaborative/Participatory Design
Qualitative: Semi-structured Interviewing, Surveys, Thematic Analysis Quantitative: Multilevel Modeling, Social Network Analysis, Spatial Data Analysis
Tools: R, Stata, Gephi, Dedoose, NVivo, SurveyMonkey, GeoDa, ArcGIS


Proficient in Javascript (including JQuery and d3), HTML, CSS, SQL
Familiar with Java (including Android), Python, Ruby, PHP, Perl, UNIX shell scripting

composition & design

Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop Apple Keynote, Numbers, Pages Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word