Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion

Dr. Eleanor Loiacono

Professor of IT and Data Science, WPI, Founder and Director of the Inclusive Design and Accessibility (IDEA) Hub

I am currently a Professor of Information Technology and Data Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the Robert A. Foisie School of Business. I am the Founder and Director of the ​Inclusive Design and Accessibility (IDEA) Hub at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which was established in 2018 to address the needs of people with differing abilities across technologies and environments.

My research expertise centers on the intersection of technology and the user. Over the past 20 years, I have focused on how people feel about the technology they use and how technologies, such as mobile apps and social media, can improve users’ experiences. I have brought my research expertise into my teaching and project advising as well.


Dr. Wei Ding

Associate Professor Computer Science, Director, Knowledge Discovery Lab, Chair CSM Senate, UMass Boston

Wei Ding received her Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Houston in 2008. She is an Associate Professor of Computer Science in the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research interests include data mining, machine learning, artificial intelligence, computational semantics, and with applications to health sciences, astronomy, geosciences, and environmental sciences. She has published more than 130 referred research papers, one book, and has three patents. She is an Associate Editor of the ACM Transaction on Knowledge Discovery from Data (TKDD) and Knowledge and Information Systems (KAIS). She served as an editorial board member of the Journal of Information System Education (JISE), the Journal of Big Data, and the Social Network Analysis and Mining Journal. She is the recipient of the Best Paper Award at the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI), the Best Paper Award at the 2010 IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Informatics (ICCI), the Best Poster Presentation award at the 2008 ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (SIGSPAITAL GIS). She received the 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award and the Best PhD Work Award between 2007 and 2010 from the University of Houston. Her research projects have been sponsored by NSF, NIH, NASA, and DOE. She is an IEEE senior member and an ACM senior member.


Dr. Valerie Barr

Chair of Computer Science, Jean E. Sammet Professor of Computer Science, Mount Holyoke College

I am the Jean Sammet Professor and chair in the Computer Science department at Mount Holyoke College. I was previously in the Computer Science Department at Union College. I spent 2013-2014 on temporary assignment to the National Science Foundation, serving as a program director in the Division of Undergraduate Education.

Before coming to Union, I was on the faculty at Hofstra University. During my graduate studies I also taught at Pratt Institute, Rutgers University, Mount Holyoke College, and Polytechnic University (now NYU Poly). I received my Masters degree from New York University and my Ph.D. from Rutgers University.