Danielle Olson




Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

PhD Student, 1st Year



Chantilly, Virginia

Undergraduate institution


What sparked your interest in your current field, and what do you love about it?

My passion is designing and building technologies which expand the human window of perception, surpassing the constraints of our biology and experiences to enrich our understanding of ourselves, the world, and others. I believe that technology should augment and extend our natural understanding of the world and deliver information that is undetectable by our senses in a way that challenges the current paradigm of human-computer interaction through screens. Furthermore, I believe that cultural ideas and worldviews are embedded into all systems, especially in media and technological systems. I want the systems I build to empower and humanize, rather than oppress or malign, their users and audiences.

Personal research summary

Exploring how advancements in imaginative computational self-representations such as avatars can enhance user performance, engagement, and agency in contexts including classroom environments. In particular, I am interested in understanding and addressing many of the social-technical gaps that exist within social media systems. My ultimate goal is to improve the well-being of marginalized social groups through the design and implementation of more flexible, nuanced and contextualized systems.

Personal interests

I love volunteering with kids, biking around Cambridge, zen meditation, calligraphy, taking care of my cat & rabbit, and traveling everywhere I can.