- Personal Robots
Raechel Walker is currently a PhD Candidate in the Personal Robots Group within the Department of Media Arts and Sciences. Her research is primarily centered on AI education, with a specific focus on the concept of "liberatory computing" for minoritized communities. Her work on data activism has gained recognition and been featured in the MIT News, The Concord Bridge, the Day of AI, and the #CSK8 Podcast by Jared O’Leary.
Notably, Raechel holds several prestigious fellowships, including the MIT Presidential Fellowship, Amazon Robotics Fellowship, and Graduate Education for Minorities (GEM) Fellowship. Her leadership played a pivotal role in her team's success, leading them to win the MIT Open Data Prize and the RESPECT Best Paper Award. Raechel completed her Bachelor's degree in Data Science, with concentrations in Perspectives of Social Sciences and Dance & Theatre, at the University of California, San Diego.
During her Master's thesis, Raechel introduced the innovative concept of "liberatory computing," aiming to showcase how computing curricula can empower African American students with practical skills to address embedded racism within our society. She developed two novel high school data activism curricula that integrated lessons on racism with rigorous data science skills, with the ultimate goal of fostering lasting societal change.
Furthermore, she embarked on comprehensive investigations and analyses of data activism initiatives undertaken by African American high school students, in collaboration with community organizations situated in Boston. Throughout this research endeavor, both community partners and students played an active role in contributing to every facet of the project. This encompassed conducting research into specific instances of systemic racism in Boston, meticulously selecting datasets, and skillfully executing intersectional data analyses.