Jessica Ann Roberts


I am a learning scientist designing technologies to mediate social, informal learning interactions. The field of Learning Sciences, with its focus on understanding how people learn in order to better design learning environments and learning interventions, allows me to blend my background in theatre design and my experience as a teacher in formal and informal settings. I specialize in learning through social and collaborative interactions around digital displays, with a particular interest in data visualizations and maps.


Carnegie Mellon University

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Human-Computer Interaction Institute. 2017-present

Northwestern University

Postdoctoral Researcher, TIDAL Lab. 2015-2017

University of Illinois at Chicago

Graduate Student Researcher, Learning Sciences Research Institute. 2008-2015

Journal of the Learning Sciences

Editorial Assistant, 2012-2014


University of Illinois at Chicago, PhD in Learning Sciences

Specialization: Geospatial Analysis and Visualizations for Learning
Dissertation: Connecting Visitors to Data: Exploring Tools for Mediating Learning Talk at an Interactive Museum Exhibit
Committee: Leilah Lyons (chair), Susan Goldman, Tom Moher, Michael Horn, Robb Lindgren

Northwestern University, BS in Interdepartmental Studies in the School of Speech

Specialization: Theatre and film lighting design
Coursework: advanced lighting design, hand and computer-aided drafting, freehand drawing for stage design, film production, advanced lighting and cinematography
Select theatre credits: the Theatre and Interpretation Center's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (lighting designer, 2003), Arts Alliance Production's Graffiti Dancers (lighting director, 2003; lighting designer, 2001-2002; assistant stage manager, 2000), The Dolphin Show's Damn Yankees (lighting designer, 2002) and The Secret Garden (associate lighting designer, 2001), and Arts Alliance's Garden Party Hello, Again (lighting designer, 2003).

Teaching experience

2018 Learning Media Methods (undergraduate, co-instructor) Carnegie Mellon University
2017 Evaluating Institutions: Research and Evaluation Methods in Museums (graduate) University of Illinois at Chicago
2017 Human-Computer Interaction (undergraduate/graduate) North Central College, Naperville, Ill.
2007-2009 Paralegal and attorney training for domestic violence pro bono clinic (professional) Latham & Watkins LLP
2005-2009 LSAT, GMAT, ACT Test preparation (high school and post-baccalaureate) Kaplan Test Prep
2003-2006 Self-contained elementary school (4th, 7th, and 8th grades) Chicago Public Schools