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Cathy N. Davidson

Director, The Futures Initiative


Cathy N. Davidson is director of the Futures Initiative and a distinguished professor in the Ph.D. Program in English at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is a renowned scholar of cultural history and technology, including the history of the book, the history of industrialism and postindustrialism, digital humanities, and the impact of new technologies on culture, cognition, learning, and the workplace. Her current work focuses on trust, data, new collaborative methods of living and learning, and the ways we can change higher education for a better future.

Davidson previously taught at Duke University for more than two decades, where she held two chaired professorships, the Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. From 1998 to 2006, she also served as Duke University’s (and the nation’s) first Vice Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies, working with faculty and students to design more than seventy new cross-campus programs and technologies. In 2002, Davidson cofounded the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (, which is now a network of more than 13,000 scholars, artists, and technologists committed to “Changing the Way We Teach and Learn.” She is co-PI of the HASTAC/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions, which have awarded more than $10 million in grant funding to support nearly one hundred innovative projects operating around the world.

She has published more than twenty books, including Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (Oxford University Press, expanded edition, 2004), The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, with David Theo Goldberg (MIT Press, 2010), and Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn (Viking, 2011). A frequent speaker and consultant on institutional change at universities, corporations, nonprofits, and other organizations, she writes for the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post, and Times Higher Ed, among others.

In 2011, President Obama appointed her to the National Council on the Humanities. In 2012, Davidson was named the first educator to serve on the board of directors of Mozilla, and she received the Educator of the Year Award (with HASTAC cofounder David Theo Goldberg) from the World Technology Network.

Photo credit: Paula Vlodkowsky


Administrative Team:


Lauren Melendez

Administrative Specialist for the Futures Initiative and HASTAC@CUNY

LaurenLauren previously worked at ESPN Audio in Network Radio within the Sales Planning Department. In this role she coordinated with the Network Sales Team on stewarding General Market, Hispanic, Digital, and Remnant inventory with, pricing, clearing Network Audio buys, and worked with the finance department to expedite credit approvals, billing and several other administrative responsibilities. Lauren has been in the Media Industry for the last seven years and has worked in sales and buying roles at Fox Station Sales, as well as at Initiative Advertising Agency. Lauren is very excited in making the transition from Media into working here at the Graduate Center as an administrative specialist of the Futures Initiative and HASTAC. Lauren is also attending Graduate School at Hunter College in counseling. Lauren feels the admin role here at CUNY will be a great learning experience and growth opportunity, and she is excited by the prospect of working with undergraduate students in the CUNY colleges and community colleges as part of her position at the Futures Initiative.



Katina Rogers

Deputy Director of the Futures Initiative and HASTAC@CUNY

Katina_CUNY_compressedKatina joined the Graduate Center in October 2014. Her work focuses on many aspects of higher education reform, including scholarly communication practices, professionalization and career development, public scholarship, and advocacy for fair labor policies. She previously worked with the Modern Language Association as managing editor of MLA Commons, the MLA’s online platform for collaboration, discussion, and new modes of scholarly publishing. Her study on perceptions of career preparedness, which she conducted as senior research specialist for the Scholarly Communication Institute, provided valuable data on the skillsets and career paths of humanities graduate students. While at SCI, she contributed to the development of the Praxis Network, a multi-institutional and international effort geared toward sharing model programs and experiments in humanities methodological training. Katina is the editor of #Alt-Academy, a digital publication dedicated to exploring the career paths of humanities scholars in and around the academy. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder.




Futures Fellows:




Michael Dorsch

Michael is a doctoral student specializing in geography in the Earth and Environmental Sciences program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He teaches in the Department of Geography at Hunter College, CUNY and has also conducted research for the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities and the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. His research interests include using tools from geographic information systems and techniques from analytic cartography to visualize social and environmental inequities related to negative environmental exposures from energy production and industrial/post-industrial sites. Michael blogs on issues related to society/environment interactions, and his full CV is available at


Danica Savonick

HeadshotDanica is a third-year doctoral student in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY and a teaching fellow at Queens College, CUNY. Her research interests include twentieth century and contemporary literary and cultural studies, American studies, critical university studies, and critical race and gender studies (many, many studies). More specifically, she is interested in how literary, cultural, and popular texts help us understand the experiences of historically underrepresented populations within academia, and how these social texts theorize the relationship between education and social justice. She experiments with images. She dances, cooks, and obsesses over her cat. She is a HASTAC Scholar.


Lisa Tagliaferri

lisaphotoLisa is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her current research focuses on late medieval and early renaissance Italian and English literature, and utilizes digital humanities techniques. She also has a background in the computer sciences, having earned an MSc from the University of London. Her thesis explored educational gaming and provided a research context for a Java-based prototype of a multi-platform educational game she developed based on a BBC Radio program. Lisa has a penchant for traditional and antique photography processes, and blogs about education and technology at


Kalle Westerling

s200_kalle.westerlingKalle is a performance and theatre scholar, currently working on two dissertations, one for Stockholm University in Sweden on the formation of the Swedish brand of drag show. His other dissertation project, for The Graduate Center, CUNY in New York City, concerns male-identified bodies in 20th century burlesque and boylesque. He also co-directs the HASTAC Scholars project for the The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC). He is on the Board of Directors for The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, as well as the board of Swedish Performance Studies-focused publishing house STUTS. He has held fellowships from the American-Scandinavian Foundation and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. His first book, on the Swedish drag group After Dark, was published in 2006. Read his full CV at


Embedded Librarian:


Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz

Shawn_SQShawn(ta) is a reference and instruction librarian at the Graduate Center. She is the embedded librarian for the Futures Initiative and HASTAC@CUNY, as well as liaison for the departments of Advance Social Research, Africana Studies, Anthropology, Food Studies, Language and Literacy, LGBT Studies, Psychology of Political Behavior, Public Health, Social Welfare, Sociology, Theatre, Urban Education, Urban Health and Society, and Women’s Studies. She often speaks and writes on issues of Black Lesbian Archiving. Shawn is completing her MFA in Fiction at Queens College, holds a BS in Queer Women’s Studies from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program, and an MLS from Queens College.

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