My name is Nick LaLone and I am a researcher of the socio-technical who focuses on how humans and non-humans get to know each other. Currently, my work is focusing on how computer technology (hardware, software, and everything in between) can be better integrated within crisis response. I am interested in how the needs of researchers and practicioners can be met simultaneously. There is a degree of philosophical inquiry to this work in addition to the act of learning how computers work in order to use them at work. As a result, I am interested in programming pedagogies as well as modes of instruction about computational topic. I begin at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the Fall of 2019 and will be focusing heavily on these areas.
I began my life in academia not as a grad student but as administrative staff. I was charged with the responsibility of fostering technology use among the Sociologists in my department. I found this work challenging, but fascinating. I sought answers to the unasked, unconscious issues that I saw in the world of well-educated, well-informed social scientists from any place that I could find information. Names and terms like Object Oriented Ontology, Actor-Network Theory, the Social Construction of Technology introduced me to a number of concepts, epistemologies, and philosophies surrounding what would become known to me as, “non-human actors.” I began to read more and more and over time wanted to do more than foster technology use within the faculty of my department, I wanted to approach developers or just use of technology in general.
I enolled at Pennsylvania State University in the Information Science and Technology program. My intent was to simply gain new perspectives about technology at an iSchool since Penn State’s Science and Technology program had been sunset years before. However, as a resident of the iSchool, I was introduced to different levels of computation and began to expand my knowledge of how the computer actually works. After removing many of the barriers of use and fostering a growing sense of how programming worked, I returned to those initial questions I had as a systems support person; namely, how to foster a world where people, places, and things all learn to work together.