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Research Team

Principal Investigator

Katie Davis - Photo by Tamell Simons

Katie Davis is an Assistant Professor at The University of Washington Information School, where she studies the role of networked technologies in teens’ lives. Some of her current projects include investigating identity development and informal learning in online fan fiction communities, using digital badges to recognize anytime, anywhere learning, the effects of gamifying classroom instruction, and the causes and consequences of cyberbullying.

Katie holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate in Human Development and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She was named a 2015 Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, an honor that recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD. She is also the recipient of a 2015 National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award to support her research investigating how networked technologies can be leveraged to develop learners’ STEM identities and connect their STEM learning across informal and formal contexts.

Prior to joining the faculty at the UW iSchool, Katie worked with Howard Gardner and colleagues as a Project Manager at Harvard Project Zero, where she was a member of the GoodPlay Projectand Developing Minds and Digital Media Project research teams. In addition to publishing and presenting her research in scholarly venues, Katie regularly shares her work with parents, teachers, business leaders, and policymakers in an effort to build connections between research and practice.

Katie is the co-author with Howard Gardner of The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World, which was published in October 2013 by Yale University Press. The book represents a synthesis of the research that Katie conducted with colleagues on the Developing Minds and Digital Media Project and the GoodPlay Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Drawing on interviews with young people, focus groups with the adults who work with them, and comparative analyses of youth’s artistic productions from 1990-2011, the book explores how today’s “digital youth” are different from the youth who grew up in a pre-digital era.

Research Assistants

Adam Bell

Adam Bell is a PhD student in Learning Sciences and Human Development in the College of Education at the University of Washington. He studies cultural epistemology and digital ethnography. Adam is focused on employing qualitative methodologies to better understand how young people learn, produce knowledge, and develop identities through digital discourse and design. He seeks to leverage insights gained about learners’ identities in formal and informal learning environments in order to substantiate authentic and equitable learning.

Adam has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois in Springfield (2013) and a bachelor’s of arts in English Education from the University of Iowa (2006). Before beginning his doctoral studies, Adam was also a public high school English teacher in central Illinois (2007-14). He currently works as a research assistant with Dr. Katie Davis, in the University of Washington’s Information School, on the National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award. Also, Adam is a research assistant with Dr. Ana Elfers and Dr. Marge Plecki at the University of Washington’s Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy. Adam is the instructor for the Foundations of Digital Learning technology seminar in the University of Washington Teacher Education Program.  

He is the Social Chair of the Associated Students of the College of Education (ASCE), a senate representive in the University of Washington Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), where he serves on the Judicial Committee, and he is a founding member of the College of Education’s Queering Education Collective (QEC).

JennyJenny Gawronski is a second-year doctoral student at the University of Washington in the College of Education studying preservice teacher education in the digital age with Kenneth Zeichner. More specifically, she explores how preservice teachers leverage their personal technology and digital media practices while learning to become teachers in university-based teacher education programs. Her research also investigates how preservice teachers use technology to participate in learning communities that span multiple educational settings. Currently, she is a teaching associate and coach in the Elementary Teacher Education Program at the University of Washington where she teaches the art education and technology seminar courses and coaches student teachers in the Seattle Public Schools.

Before coming to the University of Washington, Jenny had a career as an artist and arts educator. She taught ceramics, metals, and graphic design at a high school located outside the city of Denver. She then moved to southern, Colorado where she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art Education at Adams State University in southern Colorado for three years. Please reference her website for images of her ceramic artwork.

MFA, Ceramics, Louisiana State University (2008)
Post-Baccaluareate Year, Ceramics, Hogskolan for Design och Konstantverk, Sweden (2004)
Post-Baccaluareate Certificate, Ceramics, University of Colorado, Boulder (2003)
BFA, Ceramics, Pennsylvania State University (2001)
BS, Art Education, Pennsylvania State University (2001)

Caroline PittCaroline Pitt is a second-year PhD student in the Information School.

Research interests: 

Caroline is interested in connected learning and how informal learning experiences can help develop inquisitive and creative minds as well as encourage enthusiasm and passion for both the arts and sciences. She is particularly interested in museums and science centers and how they can be adapted to serve wider audiences. Currently, she is a research assistant for the Digital Badges project as well as a community science application project called Science Everywhere. She also assists with the intergenerational co-design team KidsTeam UW. Previously, she worked as a video editing contractor for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and was a research assistant in the Laboratory for Automation Psychology and Decision Processes at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has also worked for the American Psychological Association’s PsycTESTS and University of Maryland Libraries.


  • BS, Psychology, University of Maryland (2014)
  • BA, Anthropology, University of Maryland (2014)

Please contact Caroline with any website problems, as she is currently in charge of updates, at pittc AT


Ada Kim is a second-year PhD student in the Information School.Ada Kim

Area of Research:

My research area is situated in the fields of digital youth, human computer interaction (HCI) and including computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL).

My current research interests are (1) investigating the role of informal learning in identity development and (2) designing better platform for informal learning, which facilitates both learning and socializing in out-of-school settings.


  • PhD, Information Science, University of Washington (in progress)
  • MA, Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2014)
  • MS, Experimental Psychology, Korea University (2011)
  • BA, Psychology/English Language and Literature, Korea University (2009)

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