Betsy DiSalvo

(Ph.D. HCC 12)

Associate Professor, School of Interactive Computing

What’s up with the hats and sweaters?

They used to keep TSRB way too cold. This is a photo of Sarita Yardi Schoenbeck, me, and Jill Dimond freezing in Amy Bruckman’s lab.

What were the circumstances of your coming to work at the College of Computing?

I took a faculty position with Georgia Tech immediately after graduation.

Prior to this, had you ever thought about coming back to work at GT Computing?

There was no time to not think about coming back to GT. They asked me to apply, and I also interviewed at a few other places, but GT was the best offer – they also gave me a short timeline to respond, so I had to say yes or lose the opportunity.

What’s one of your favorite memories from your time as a student?

Anytime I was sitting in my lab with a labmate –Jose, Jill, Sarita, Casey, Kurt, or Andrea– and laughing about dumb things. I still feel a connection to all of them and recently went to UC Boulder to give a talk at Casey’s department; there is a common understanding and bond between academic siblings.

How has the College changed since you were a student?

It is odd to see my peers and myself become senior folks in the department. I am now the director of the HCC Ph.D. program that I graduated from. Sometimes that seems odd.

How is GT Computing different than similar institutions?

Our HCC program is unique in that it is located in a College of Computing. So we have a diversity of quantitative, qualitative, and engineering-minded faculty that is unique.

What do you carry with you from your time as a student that still informs/influences your personal/professional life?

That one needs to communicate to a range of audiences. I was, and still am, presenting my work across academic disciplines. As a graduate student, I learned that what I present at a computing conference and how I present it is very different than what I present at an education or game studies conference. The different fields value different knowledge, and the College of Computing’s diversity helped me prepare for that.

How would you like to see the college grow in the next decade?

I would like us to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion more. Being located in Atlanta – the center of Black culture in the U.S. – gives us a unique opportunity to make Georgia Tech the center of Black computing in the U.S. With the right hires and student recruitment, we could build a part of our program that directly addresses algorithmic bias while still maintaining the technical excellence we already have.