FabLearn NYC 2020 is happy to announce four conference keynotes: Laura Devendorf, Lissa Soep, Lining Yao and Cynthia Solomon.


Laura Devendorf

Laura Devendorf is an assistant professor in Information Science and the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research questions the role of design and making in the wake of increasingly pressing global challenges. She directs the Unstable Design Lab where she works closely with students across engineering, information science, and art to speculate on alternative futures for technology. The lab currently focuses on weaving smart textiles and how themes of slowness, presence, and material negotiation can be used as both a practice and metaphor to formulate these visions. She earned bachelors’ degrees in studio art and computer science from the University of California Santa Barbara before earning her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley School of Information. Her research has been featured on National Public Radio and has received multiple best paper awards at top conferences in the field of human-computer interaction.


Lissa Soep

Elisabeth (Lissa) Soep is Executive Producer for Journalism and Founding Director of the Innovation Lab at YR Media (formerly Youth Radio), the Oakland-based national network for next-generation news and arts. YR stories Lissa has produced with teen reporters have been recognized with honors including two Peabody Awards, five Murrow Awards, an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, two Third Coast International Audio Festival Awards, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. With a PhD from Stanford University’s School of Education, Lissa has written about digital media and learning for academic journals, popular outlets (NPR, Boing Boing), and books including Youthscapes (with Maira, UPenn Press), Drop that Knowledge (with Chávez, UC Press), and Participatory Politics (MIT Press). With Asha Richardson, she founded YR’s Innovation Lab, a partnership with MIT and Cornell Tech that was among the first community-based initiatives in the US to teach teens to code, and the first embedded in a newsroom. Her work as a writer, producer, and editor has been featured on outlets including NPR, the New York Times, The Atlantic/CityLab, Teen Vogue. In 2011, she became one of six members of the MacArthur Foundation’s Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network, which explored how young people use digital and social media to express civic voice and agency. For more than ten years, Lissa served on the Board of Directors of the United States’ premier youth poetry organization, Youth Speaks, and she’s an advisor to the Civic Imagination project at University of Southern California.

Lining Yao

Lining Yao is an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science, directing the Morphing Matter Lab (https://morphingmatter.cs.cmu.edu/). Morphing Matter lab develops materials, tools, and applications of adaptive, dynamic and intelligent morphing matter from nano to macro scales. Research often combines material science, computational fabrication and creative design practices. Lining and her lab work anti-disciplinarily, publishing and exhibiting across science, engineering, design and art. Lining gained her PhD at MIT Media Lab in 2017.


Cynthia Solomon

Cynthia Solomon is an American computer scientist known for her work in artificial intelligence and popularizing computer science for students. She is a pioneer in the fields of artificial intelligence, computer science, and educational computing. While at Bolt, Beranek and Newman, she worked with Wally Feurzeig and Seymour Papert to create the first programming language for children, Logo.



Constructionism, Making and Equity Panel (Day 1, 2:00-3:00PM EDT)

Moderator: Paulo Blikstein

Filiberto Barajas-López – Associate Professor, University of Washington
Leah Buechley – Associate Professor, University of New Mexico
Paula Hooper – Assistant Professor of Instruction, Northwestern University
Luciano Meira – Professor and Cofounder/CSI at Joy Street, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
Marcelo Worsley – Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

Remembering Mike Eisenberg Panel (Day 2, 1:00-2:00PM EDT)

Moderator: Leah Buechley

HyunJoo Oh – Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
Sherry Hsi – Principal Scientist, BSCS Science Learning
Yasmin Kafai – Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Mike Horn – Associate Professor, Northwestern University

Making & Hip Hop Panel (Day 3, 1:20-2:20PM EDT)

Moderator: Brian Gravel

Dionne Champion – Assistant Professor, University of Florida
Sharon Lee De La Cruz – Director of Sustainability, The Point Community Development Corp.
Michael Dando – Assistant Professor, St. Cloud State University
Demarius Edwards – Instructor, Momentum@Morehouse
Amon Millner – Associate Professor, Olin College
Joshua Rowsey – Artist, Writer, Actor & Educator