Bryan SemaanBryan C. Semaan

Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Graduate Studies
Information Science
College of Media, Communication and Information
University of Colorado Boulder

    Bryan utilizes his training from human-computer interaction, computer supported cooperative work, and social computing, to examine the role of Information and Communication Technologies in enabling resilience amongst people immersed in challenging contexts (e.g. people’s experiences with racism and stereotyping, LGBTQ+ people “coming out”, and refugees integrating into new sociocultural contexts). Resilience is defined as how people bounce back from threat or vulnerability. He seeks out contexts where he can explore the relationship between technology and resilience and that allow him to better understand how people actively use ICTs in the production of resilience. He especially focuses on those contexts where people might be unable to generate resilience with ICTs, or where the present design of ICTs and other social systems can produce additional threat or vulnerability in people’s lives (e.g. algorithms, facial recognition software, governance, and social media). His approach to this work is sociotechnical—he explores the complex relationship between ICT and the social world comprised of human and non-human (e.g. algorithms and chat bots) entities. Drawing on critical approaches (e.g. postcolonial and decolonization theories, critical race, and feminist science), he seeks to understand, critique, and create ethical, moral, just and equitable sociotechnical systems.

    Much of his early scholarship focused on how people draw on ICTs to build resilience during environmental disasters and human-induced emergencies. He has also examined resilience in transitional contexts, such as when people are moving from one life stage or condition to another (e.g. becoming a parent). His current and planned future work focuses on how the evocation of resilience is an everyday experience for people who are systemically marginalized across physical and digital environments; people who are pushed to the boundaries of society based on various intersections of their identity, such as race, class, gender, or sexual orientation.

    Like many in HCI, the goal of his empirical, conceptual, and design work is to advance ICTs for the social good. To realize this goal, he employs a sociotechnical approach whereby he explores the complex relationship between ICTs and human behavior by drawing on various social science theories and methods. Specifically, to think about the micro and macro relationships between technology and resilience, and to push for more inclusive and value-sensitive ICT design, his research draws and expands upon theories from various disciplines, such as Science and Technology Studies, Feminist STS, Organizational Sciences, Psychology, Trauma and Counseling, Political Science, and more. He integrates qualitative (e.g. ethnography), quantitative (e.g. experiments and surveys), and computational analyses (e.g. NLP, machine learning, and data visualization techniques) to understand the activities of populations immersed in challenging contexts. He also employs participatory and speculative design approaches to uncover complex social processes and effects, and to identify and pursue technology design opportunities which empower and/or improve the lives of people.

    Before coming to CU Boulder, Bryan was an Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. He was also a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine, where he also received his B.S. and M.S. in Information and Computer Science.


    • 10 February 2022: Paper accepted to CHI 2022 with Dipto Das (PhD student at CU Boulder)!
    • 27 November 2021: Paper accepted to CSCW 2022 with Qunfang Wu (PhD student at Syracuse University), Lulu Williams (PhD student at the University of Michigan) and Ellen Simpson (PhD student at CU Boulder)!
    • 15 November 2021: A paper with Dipto Das (PhD student at CU Boulder) received an R&R at CHI 2022!
    • 15 October 2021: CSCW 2021 paper with Dipto Das (PhD student at CU Boulder) and Carsten Østerlund (Faculty at Syracuse University) got an honorable mention for best paper award and a recognition for diversity and inclusion! Another CSCW 2021 paper with Isabel Munoz (PhD Student at Syracuse University) and Josh Introne (Faculty at Syracuse University) received a recognition for diversity and inclusion!
    • 10 September, 2021: Paper accepted to GROUP 2022 with Ellen Simpson (PhD Student at CU Boulder) and Andrew Hamann (MS Student UC Irvine)
    • 22 August, 2021: Paper accepted to CSCW 2021 with Dipto Das (PhD Student at CU Boulder) and Carsten Oesterlund (Faculty at Syracuse University)
    • 22 August, 2021: Paper accepted to CSCW 2021 with Josh Introne (Faculty at Syracuse University) and Isabel Munoz (PhD Student at Syracuse University)
    • 16 August, 2021: Officially started my journey in Colorado! Am also serving as the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies.
    • 24 April, 2021: Will be joining the Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder in August 2021