Who We Are

The Digital Interests Lab is a research collective that supports and promotes investigations at the confluence of technology and individual autonomy/rights.


Anne L. Washington, PhD is Public Interest Technologist serving as an Assistant Professor of Data Policy at the NYU Steinhardt School. Her expertise on public sector information currently addresses the emerging governance needs of data science. The National Science Foundation has funded her research multiple times including a prestigious 5-year NSF CAREER grant on open government data. Dr. Washington’s data-intensive projects draw on both interpretive research methods and computational text analysis.

on twitter as @DataPolicyProf


Dr. Davi Liang is Racial Equity PostDoctoral Fellow with NYU Steinhardt. Dr. Liang is a passionate and eclectic researcher of all things law, policy, biology and gastronomy. They graduated Centre College with majors in Biology and Political Science, and went on to acquire a J.D. from Washington and Lee School of Law. In between classes on business associations and intellectual property, they worked on studying the technology and mechanisms and all that is great and terrible with the way regulation and law handled the digital era and might manage with the future. Davi notes that while discussing tech is always fun, they are just as willing to swap dumpling recipes or whiskey suggestions. 

Dr. Alicia Boyd is a social-technical researcher guided by wisdom, patience, and thoughtfulness. Her interdisciplinary background is rooted in medicine, allowing her to approach challenges from a humanistic and reflexive approach. She has Master’s degrees in Mathematics and Higher Education from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis. Throughout her career, she has worked in numerous profit and non-profit sectors. In 2021, she received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Her dissertation and post-graduation work has pioneered a new direction for research on the ‘me too’ movement. Alicia’s innovative technical and theoretical research led to the creation of Quantitative Intersectional Data (QUINTA), which is a methodological framework that investigates, critiques, and examines how to significantly improve the design, deployment, and operation of real-world AI systems – contributing to a more just, inclusive, and legitimate vision for AI.

David Morar, PhD is Senior Policy Analyst with New America’s Open Technology Institute. Most recently he was a PostDoctoral Data Policy Fellow with NYU Steinhardt and Visiting Scholar at the Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub at the Elliott School of International Affairs. His research focuses on the intersection of private governance and technology policy. Dr. Morar is also an Associate Researcher at the Big Data Science Lab at the West University of Timisoara (Romania) and at the Center for Advanced Studies in Public Policy, Governance at the Paraiba State University (Brazil). He is currently serving as Guest Researcher at the The Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI).

Previously a Policy Manager for Data4Democracy, David Morar is a ‘18 Schar School PhD in Public Policy, with a concentration on tech policy, having studied emerging technologies (from nanotechnology to AI), focusing on governance structures, particularly multi-stakeholderism. A two-time Google Policy Fellow (once with the Internet Education Foundation, and the second with the Global Network Initiative), a research Fellow with the Future of Privacy Forum, and an ICANN58 / ICANN61 / ICANN64 Fellow, Dr. Morar has worked on a very wide range of tech policy issues from privacy and cyber security, to open data policy and big data ethics.

David Morar holds a Master of International Affairs (with a Science, Technology and Society graduate minor) from The Pennsylvania State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science (in English) from The College of Political Science at the University of Bucharest.

on twitter as @morar

Kandrea J. Wade is a PhD student in the Information Science department at CU Boulder focusing on algorithmic identity and the digital surveillance of marginalized groups. Along with developing her research at CU Boulder, Kandrea seeks to discover and assist in creating proper ethical regulations and education on algorithmic identity and digital literacy. With a background of over 15 years in entertainment and media, her interests have evolved from demographic programming for entertainment and media theory to corporate user ethics and legal protections for the digital citizen.

Kandrea holds a BA in technical theatre from The University of Texas at Arlington and an MA in media, culture, and communications from New York University.

on twitter as @kandreawade

Kiran Samuel is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology and an affiliate researcher at the Data Science Institute, both at Columbia University. She is also a member of the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies

She is interested in understanding how technological advancements in surveillance, particularly through AI, reconfigure the raced, gendered, and classed subject. She researches how the market and the state have worked together to ‘innovate’ through technology in ways that fetishize the ‘future,’ but often at the expense of marginalized communities. Her dissertation explores how burgeoning AI startups deal with funding pressures, and how the broader economic landscape impacts how they define and engage with ‘ethics,’ broadly defined. She earned her Masters from NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication program and her Bachelors in Philosophy and Journalism from Rutgers University.

Prior to academia, Kiran enjoyed a career as a creative strategist in the advertising industry, specializing in social and digital media. Her clients included Google, YouTube, Sephora, and other companies turned subjects of her research.

on twitter as @donnakiran

Affiliated Scholars

Dr. Matthew Bui (he/him) is a postdoctoral researcher and incoming assistant professor (starting Fall 2022) at the University of Michigan Schoolof Information. Bui’s research examines the potential for, and barriers to, urban data justice, foregrounding the racial politics of data-driven technologies, policy, and platforms. His research has received recognition and support from the Annenberg Foundation, Benton Foundation, Democracy Fund, and Kauffman Foundation; and the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) and Research Conference on Communications, Information and Internet Policy (TPRC). Previously, Bui was a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Tech and received his PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. He also attended the London School of Economics for his masters (MSc, Media & Communication Research) and graduated with honors from UCLA (BA, Communication).

on twitter as @matthew_bui

Dr. Rachel Kuo writes, teaches, and researches race, social movements, and digital technology. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Visiting Scholar at Duke University’s Asian American and Diasporic Studies program. She is also a 2021-22 Fellow at the Center for Democracy and Technology. She has a PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. She is a founding member and current affiliate of the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies and also a co-founder of the Asian American Feminist Collective.

on twitter as @rachelkuo

Summer 2022 Students

Zhongqi Teng

Siyun Zou

Kaitlyn Ramirez

Adrien Harris

Researcher Alumni

Joshua Arrayales

Molly Nystrom

Shannon Kay

Hope Muller

Nicole Contaxis