UMD INFO College Welcomes Six New Faculty Members

- September 12, 2023

Reflecting INFO’s ongoing dedication to excellence in research, education, and the exploration of the information science landscape

We are delighted to announce the newest additions to the vibrant academic community at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (INFO). With a shared commitment to advancing knowledge and innovation in the field, we warmly welcome Dr. Scott Jackson, Dr. Irene V. Pasquetto, Mr. TJ Rainsford, Dr. Fiona Shen-Bayh, Ms. Anat Szendro Sevilla, and Dr. Stephanie Valencia to our esteemed faculty roster. They bring expertise in data science, information ethics, experiential learning, and UX design. 

Their diverse expertise and scholarly accomplishments are set to significantly enrich our college. As we look ahead, we eagerly anticipate the collaborative and transformative contributions that each of these accomplished individuals will bring to our community, further enhancing our mission of preparing future leaders in the information field. Meet the new faculty members:

Scott Jackson, Ph.D. 

Joined INFO in August 2023 as a Lecturer focusing on Data Analysis and Data Science.

Initially trained in linguistics, psycholinguistics, and neuroscience, Dr. Jackson worked in applied research at the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language from 2009 to 2019. His work there focused on measuring cognitive traits and leveraging that information for improved personnel selection and training. Based on these experiences and a short time in the industry, Dr. Jackson is interested in how data analysis is applied in real-world decision-making, including the ethical and moral challenges of the ongoing revolution in data sciences. Dr. Jackson feels excited and honored to help train the upcoming generation of information scientists.

Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Arizona
Previously: Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language; Senior Data Scientist at TeamWorx Security, LLC.


Irene V. Pasquetto, Ph.D. 
Will join INFO in January 2024 as an assistant professor focusing on science mis- and disinformation issues. 

Dr. Pasquetto is a scholar in the field of information and communication science. She conducts research and teaches Ethics of Information Technologies and Digital Curation. Her most recent research focuses on science mis- and disinformation, open science and data reuse practices, and public participation in science.

From 2018 to 2020, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, at the Harvard Kennedy School. Dr. Pasquetto earned a Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she also worked as a research assistant at the UCLA Center for Knowledge Infrastructures (CKI) and the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics. Previously, Dr. Pasquetto earned a master’s and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Verona (Italy).

Ph.D., Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
Previously: Assistant Professor. School of Information, University of Michigan; Chief-Editor & Co-Founder. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review; Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School


TJ Rainsford, M.A.
Joined INFO in August 2023 as a Lecturer and Interim Director of iConsultancy Experiential Learning Program.

Mr. Rainsford is a highly experienced IT industry executive and educator. He has over 27 years of experience in the IT industry and has served in several senior and executive leadership positions. He has previously served as a faculty member at Mount St. Mary’s University as well as an instructor of record and member of the iConsultancy staff at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland.  He holds a BA in History & Philosophy and an MA in History and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Information Studies at UMD focusing on the use of experiential learning in information science-related programs.

Previously: Founder & CEO, Praxis Impact LLC; Chief Information Officer, 1547 Critical Systems Realty; Strategic Transformation Advisor, DataPrise; Practitioner-in-Residence and Sr. Director, Special Projects, Mount St. Mary’s University; Vice President & Chief Information Officer, designDATA; Chief Technology Officer, NPower


Fiona Shen-Bayh, Ph.D.
Joined INFO and UMD BSOS-Department of Government & Politics (25% INFO, 75% GVPT) in August 2023 as an assistant professor focusing on government and data science. 

Dr. Fiona Shen-Bayh studies the politics of authoritarian regimes, specifically the legal and judicial instruments of power. Using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, she analyzes various underutilized historical materials and archival data to better understand the institutions of political control in authoritarian contexts. Dr. Shen-Bayh’s research on these themes has been published in leading political science journals and received multiple awards, including the Theodore J. Lowri First Book Prize awarded jointly by the American Political Science Association and the International Political Science Association, the Giovanni Sartori Book Award, and Juan Linz Best Book Award for the comparative study of democracy and autocracy.

Ph.D., Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
Previously: Assistant Professor of Government, College of William and Mary; Postdoctoral Fellow, Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, University of Michigan


Anat Szendro Sevilla, M.S.
Joined INFO and the Design Cultures & Creativity program(joint) in January 2023 as a lecturer focusing on Visual & UX Design.

Ms. Anat Szendro Sevilla is interested in the intersection of visual arts, UX design, creativity, and teaching. Her training brings together academic studies and professional experience in visual design. She completed her Bachelor of Design from Israel’s leading art and design university, The Bezalel Academy.
Ms. Sevilla has worked in the visual design industry for over a decade. Her professional experience spans small branding companies to big advertising firms like TBWA Worldwide. In 2017 she opened her studio, TukTuk Design, and leads the design processes and UX/UI projects for clients. She also developed and continues to teach her class about creativity through visual communication at the UMD Design Cultures & Creativity (DCC) Center.

Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction, University of Maryland College of Information Studies.
Previously: Freelance UX Consultant, Stellar User Experience, LLC; Freelance Designer, TukTuk Design Studio; Graphic Designer, 2W Design Studio; Art Facilitator, Jewish Art Lab


Stephanie Valencia Valencia, Ph.D. 
Joined INFO in August 2023 as an assistant professor focusing on accessibility, inclusive design, co-design, augmentative and alternative communication, and human-computer Interaction.

Dr. Stephanie Valencia bridges social science with accessibility research to create new technologies for people with speech and motor disabilities. She wants to further our understanding of social interaction and user agency to develop new accessible tools. She studies the social context in which assistive devices are used and where they fall short and then carries out research through design, in which she can generate new design knowledge about people and technology by making artifacts. Dr. Valencia explores specific technology materials by employing participatory design and co-design, inviting end users with disabilities and interdisciplinary stakeholders to make and design together.

Dr. Valencia is published in top-tier human-computer interaction venues, her publications have received an honorable mention and three best paper awards. She has been named one of the Innovators Under 35 by the MIT Technology Review in Latin America for her work on designing open-source and low-cost assistive technologies. She holds a Ph.D. and MSc in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University and a BSc in Biomedical Engineering from Universidad CES and Universidad EIA (joint program) in Colombia.

Ph.D., Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University
Previously: Google Research, Research Intern; Microsoft Research, Research Intern; Yale University, Yale Child Study Center Postgraduate Fellow in Translational Technologies