Dr. Chris Benner is the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, Director of the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change, and a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is also the Director of the Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation. Rooted in an urban political ecology approach, his research examines the relationships between technological change, urban and regional development, and structures of economic opportunity.
Katia Obraczka is a Professor at UC Santa Cruz’s Jack Baskin School of Engineering. Her research and teaching interests include computer networks, distributed systems, Internet information systems, and operating systems. She is director of the Internetworking Research Group (iNRG). She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Jennifer Parker is an artist and Professor of Art. She is the founding Director of UCSC OpenLab Research Center and serves as principle faculty for the Digital Arts & New Media (DANM) MFA program where she directed the Mechatronics collaborative research cohort from 2009-2015 developing research projects that combine art, design, science and technology. She has served as department chair for five years and is currently helping to spearhead the IDEA Hub, a new campus-wide initiative that facilitates hands-on learning for social and creative entrepreneurship through a network of incubation hubs, student fellowships, workshops, and community mentorships.
Matt Wagers is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz with a research focus on Psycholinguistics, language comprehension, memory and language processing — especially the processing of syntactic information and its representation in memory. He serves as the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Linguistics. His courses at UCSC are offered at both Graduate and Undergraduate levels on Psycholinguistics, Experimental Design, Language and Memory, Language and the Mind and (occasionally) Syntax. He completed an A.B. in Molecular Biology at Princeton University (2003), and a Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Maryland (2008).
Marilyn Walker is a Professor of Computer Science and a fellow of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), in recognition of her fundamental contributions to statistical methods for dialog optimization, to centering theory, and to expressive generation for dialog. Her current research includes work on computational models of dialogue interaction and conversational agents, analysis of affect, sarcasm and other social phenomena in social media dialogue, acquiring causal knowledge from text, conversational summarization, interactive story and narrative generation, and statistical methods for training the dialogue manager and the language generation engine for dialogue systems. Before coming to Santa Cruz in 2009, Walker was a professor of computer science at the University of Sheffield. Walker has published more than 200 papers and has 10 U.S. patents granted or pending. She earned a B.A. in computer and information science at UC Santa Cruz, M.S. in computer science at Stanford University, and M.A. in linguistics and Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Pennsylvania.