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Computing &: A conversation series on computation and storytelling

April 21, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT

Computing And graphic highlighting panel talk

The Vagelos Computational Science Center (CSC) at Barnard College in partnership with The Brown Institute at Columbia Journalism School welcome you to Computing &, a series of panels exploring the complex and multifaceted role of computing in spaces of public life.

Framed around the theme of ‘Computing &’, we will rotate through three crucial subtopics, each representing an area where computation directly impacts vulnerable communities and the stories told about them. The discussions will highlight the oppressive and surveillant aspects of technology, as well as the innovative ways individuals and groups have leveraged technology and journalistic reporting to counteract these effects. This event is in-person only.

The three panels will focus on the following topics:

2:00pm – 3:15pm

  • Computing & Carceral Technology: A deep dive into the role of computation on communities pre-, during, and post-incarceration, exploring carceral technologies and alternative information networks. Featuring Sylvia Ryerson, Dan “April” Feng, Martin Garcia, Clarence Okoh, and moderated by Adam Iscoe.

3:30pm – 4:45pm

  • Computing & Queering Tech: A discussion on the role of queer communities in the design and implementation of internet technologies, examining the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital world. Featuring Afsaneh Rigot, Christina Dragon, Colleen Macklin, and a Tech Learning Collective instructor.

5:00pm – 6:15pm

  • Computing & Reproductive Justice: An exploration of how technology intersects with reproductive rights and justice. Featuring Anna Louise Sussman, Runa Sandvik, Dr. Kameelah Phillips, and moderated by Saima Akhtar.

Computing & is a unique series of talks that engage area experts, scholars, technologists, and journalists working to expose and challenge harms often invisible to the masses. Full bios below.

Register to Attend


Christina Dragon (she|her) serves as the Measurement and Data Lead in the NIH Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office. Previously she served as the Sexual and Gender Minority Data Lead in Medicare’s Office of Minority Health and as the data analyst for the Health People 2020 LGBT Health topic area at the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, and has over a decade’s experience working on federal SGM data. She serves as the Terminology Subgroup lead for the Measuring Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Research Group, part of the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM), and recently co-led the subgroup on SOGISC data in administrative forms for the Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQI+ Equity. She holds a Masters’ Degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a double major from Smith College in Neuroscience and Woman and Gender Studies.

Dan “April” Feng is the Chief Operating Officer at Ameelio. She holds a Masters degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics. An economist by training and curious by nature, she had dedicated her work to solving the hardest challenges at the most critical time. Her previous experiences include solving social loneliness with Freakonomics author, Steven Levitt, working at the UK Parliament during Brexit, and managing public  transportation innovations under then Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Martin Garcia is the Manager of News Inside, the print publication of The Marshall Project, and the Associate of Inside Story, The Marshall Project’s new video series, both of which are distributed in hundreds of prisons and jails throughout the United States. Martin is also one of the co-chairs of The Marshall Project’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He is a Mercy College graduate and well versed in Department of Corrections policy. Previously, Martin was a community coordinator for Worth Rises, part of The Osborne Association as a Children’s Center Caregiver, and an Advisor to its NY Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents.

Adam Iscoe is a writer and editor from Austin, Texas. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Texas Monthly and McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. Iscoe is an editor at Lapham’s Quarterly. In 2019, he worked as a Visiting Scholar at The University of California, Berkeley. He has also taught journalism at Solano State Prison, in Vacaville, California; and edited The San Quentin News, an award winning newspaper produced by incarcerated journalists at San Quentin State Prison.

Colleen Macklin is a game designer and an Associate Professor in the school of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons School of Design. She’s interested in how games model and reveal ideologies through systems. At Parsons, she is the founder and co-director of PETLab, a design research lab that develops games for experimental learning and social engagement. PETLab projects include disaster preparedness games and sports with the Red Cross, the urban activist game Re:Activism and the physical/fiscal sport Budgetball. She is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, known for the videogame Dear Reader and the social card game, The Metagame. She has co-authored (with John Sharp), Games, Design and Play: A detailed look at iterative game design (Addison Wesley Professional, 2016) and Iterate: Ten Lessons in Design and Failure (MIT Press, 2019). Colleen has a BFA in Media Arts from Pratt Institute, and an MA in International Affairs from The New School.

Clarence Okoh is a civil rights attorney and racial justice advocate whose work addresses the impact of mass criminalization and economic divestment in Black communities, with a particular focus on Black youth and young adults. Clarence is Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), where he leads the organization’s cross-team policy agenda to advance youth-led, anti-carceral approaches to community safety by challenging systems that surveil and punish Black, brown and Indigenous youth in low-income communities. He is also an inaugural member of the Just Tech Fellows at the Social Science Research Council. In this capacity Clarence leads a project designed to better understand and challenge the use of emerging technologies to criminalize Black and brown youth and systematically violate their civil and human rights.

Dr. Kameelah Phillips is a board certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist, wife, mother, and lifelong women’s health advocate. She is an educator, mentor, and expert in women’s health issues and has been involved in local, national, and international organizations aimed at advancing women’s health care issues through advocacy and direct patient care.

Afsaneh Rigot is a scholar and researcher covering issues of law, technology, LGBTQ, refugee, and human rights. Her work and her research pose questions about the effects of technology in contexts for which it was not designed, and the effects of western-centrism on vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities. She also looks, in theory and practice, at how to constructively engage with power-holding corporations. She is a senior researcher at ARTICLE 19 focusing on MENA LGBTQ and Tech issues, an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Advisor to the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard University, and a  Technology and Public Purpose Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s  Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She is the founder of the Design From the Margins tech design methodology.

Sylvia Ryerson is a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Yale University, with a Master’s concentration in the public humanities. Prior to graduate school she worked as an independent radio producer, and at the Appalshop media arts and education center in Whitesburg, Kentucky. There she served as a reporter and the director of public affairs programming, and co-directed Appalshop/WMMT-FM’s Hip Hop from the Hilltop & Calls from Home radio show, a nationally recognized weekly radio program broadcasting music and toll-free phone messages from family members to their loved ones who are incarcerated, and Making Connections News, a multimedia community storytelling project documenting efforts for a just transition from coal extraction. Her research questions build from this work, and are rooted at the intersection of scholarship, activism, and art.

Runa Sandvik is the founder of Granitt, a company focused on security for journalists and other at-risk people. Her work builds upon experience from her time at The New York Times, Freedom of the Press Foundation, and The Tor Project. Originally from Oslo, she now lives in New York.

Anna Louie Sussman is a journalist who writes on gender, economics, and reproduction. She is working on her first book, about the relationship between capitalism and reproduction, for Dey Street Books.

Tech Learning Collective is an apprenticeship-based technology school for radical organizers founded in New York City that provides a security-first IT infrastructure curriculum to otherwise underserved communities and organizations advancing social justice causes. We train politically self-motivated individuals in the arts of hypermedia, Information Technology, and radical political practice. Founded and operated exclusively by radical queer and femme technologists, we offer unparalleled free, by-donation, and low-cost computer classes on topics ranging from fundamental computer literacy to the same offensive computer hacking techniques used by national intelligence agencies and military powers (cyber armies).



Brown Institute @ Columbia
Vagelos Computational Science Center (CSC)


Brown Institute at Columbia
2950 Broadway
New York, NY 10027 United States
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