Jordan Dodson

Senior Jordan Dodson is double-majoring in computer science and information science within the UNC School of Information and Library Science. She is a research assistant in the Interactive Information System Laboratory. Her research focuses on how collaborative agents like chatbots can assist people in their information-seeking processes.

a young African-American woman works on her laptop in a libraryphoto by Alyssa LaFaro
February 14th, 2018

When you were a child, what was your response to this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Describe your research in five words.

“Digital communication bots assisting collaboration.”

A food scientist! I enjoyed learning about the chemical processes that occurred within food production and distribution. I quickly learned that I was not very good a chemistry.

Share the pivotal moment in your life that helped you choose your field of study.

In middle school, I built a desktop computer with my dad and was completely amazed by how all the parts worked. Even though I am not interested in hardware, I knew that I wanted to work with computers in the future. I knew that I wanted to study information and computer science to make technology accessible for all people after I took my first human-computer interaction course.

four 20-something girls donning Carolina blue/UNC shirts

Dodson (second from right) and friends gear up for last week’s UNC vs. Duke game.

Tell us about a time you encountered a tricky problem. How did you handle it and what did you learn from it?

While working on data engineering during my internship last summer, I often ran into problems where I was unsure about some of the code that I needed for my project. I took initiative, learned a new programming language, and also asked my manager for help. I learned that the best way to better myself is to admit when I have no idea what is going on, use my resources, and ask for assistance from other people!

What are your passions outside of science? And why do you feel it’s important to have them? 

I absolutely love planning events on campus surrounding issues that need to be addressed by the student body. I am programs chair for the Study Abroad Peer Ambassadors, and I hosted the first-ever Mental Health and Study Abroad panel event last semester!

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