Working with Nokia Research and the IDEA team!

(reposted from

I am so excited to announce that I’ve started a research internship with Nokia Research Center (NRC) Palo Alto!. I’m working with Jofish Kaye and the IDEA Team (Innovate Design Experience Animate), which is led by Mirjana Spasojevic. The IDEA team is super diverse and there are so many people doing cool things. 

This is my first time working outside of academia and with a technology company as a  sociologist, so everything is new to me. I’m a baby to the CSCW, CHI, & HCI world. That’s why I’m really grateful to be working with Jofish, because I consider him to be really inter-disciplinary.

How many people can claim that their mentor writes about almost everything in the world - from smells to epistemology? (at least that’s what it looks like from his publications)

 I’ve only been here for a few weeks but already I’m learning so much about the role of research in IT companies and how ethnographers can contribute to technology research. 

I am working on two different projects and it’s starting to look like instead of only chossing one of them, they’ve each taken on a life of its own! The first one is about hacking/DIY/OSS, tinkering, and customization cultures. And the second project is about the social life of phones. We’re looking at things like gifting, sharing, and death of cellphones. If anyone has any research to share in any of these areas please share. I’m still in the exploratory phase so I would love to read your research!

While I’m here - I am going to figure out how to take advantage of Nokia’s Simple Context app for my research. After talking with David Racz and Brett Clippingdale - the brains behind this app - I’m super excited to get it working on my N95 and N97. 

My second goal is to work on publishing papers with Jofish. Up until now I’ve been stuck in course work and writing grants. Now that I’ve been awarded enough funding to move to CHina for my dissertation work I need to give some time to publishing papers. It’s interesting to work with CSCW researchers who crank papers out like every few months where in sociology it can take years to publish one paper. 

And I get to hang out with Nokia researcher Liz Bales from UCSD and UI consultant, Janet Go who is working on Nokia’s Storyplay

I am just bursting with happiness over all the people I’ve met and the amazing things that they are doing. In exploring our hacking topic, we’ve already met up with Daniela Rosner,  Elizabeth Goodman,  and Cristen Torrey. We also spoke to Jenna Burrell over at Berkeley. I love Jenna’s work. Just yesterday we had a long time with Jurgen Scheiblel and Ville Tuulos about Python programming and open source culture. I also spoke to Jurgen about his Mobi Spray project. Oh and I finally got to meet Morgan Ames - who’s now going to be my Spanish partner! I can’t believe all the people I’ve been reading throughout these years are all located here in one place…and they are real humans…and they are cool!

Thanks Barry Brown. You’re such a great advisor for telling me that sociologists do get jobs outside of academia and that I can make meaningful contributions to the tech world! Thanks for introducing me to Jofish and setting up our talk at Nokia.