Melissa Bator (PhD, University of California Santa Barbara) works as an Academic Coordinator for two interdisciplinary research centers on campus: The Center for Information Technology & Society and The Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies. As the Academic Coordinator for CITS, Melissa coordinates the Information Technology & Society PhD Emphasis Program, assists in the management of both graduate and undergraduate student workers, administers the Center’s finances, coordinates Center events, and acts as a sounding board for the Center’s director.
Melissa is also an experienced facilitator utilizing Liberating Structures in her work with faculty and students to enable collborative groups to more effectively self-organize. Along with her colleague Joanne Nowak, she started the Sustainable Technology Repair Initiative in 2019 in order to fill a student resource gap at UCSB, the provision of affordable, sustainable digital device repair and device maintenance education.
Melissa's recent research examines digital equity within higher education through a basic needs framework. Her work considers digital stability as a basic need among college students and examines the interconnected nature of students’ basic needs in order to develop appropriate (i.e., trauma-informed) institutional support structures for digital equity within higher education.