Olgado is a Ph.D. candidate in UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), with a graduate emphasis in global studies. He is co-advised by Geoffrey C. Bowker and Roderic Crooks within the Department of Informatics.
He is one of four graduate students to be recognized with the distinguished honor. Public Impact Fellowships highlight and support researchers whose work has the potential to impact the public sphere and enrich the lives of communities in California and beyond.
“I’m humbled and incredibly honored that my work has been recognized to have the potential for substantial public impact,” says Olgado, “I am cognizant that fellow student workers at UCI are pursuing commitments that deserve the same recognition.”
Olgado studies how activists, in partnerships with technologists, navigate the use of computing technologies. In particular, his work is concerned with creating, managing and analyzing human rights-related records surrounding large-scale systemic violence.
By examining human rights violations in Southeast Asia, Olgado has observed how sociotechnical arrangements of computer-mediated documentation shape decision-making processes surrounding accountability, reparation and memorialization.
“My dissertation, in particular, accounts for the contentious process of designing human rights databases,” says Olgado. “I explore competing logics, imaginaries and memory practices embedded in and perpetuated through such database work involving actors from conflicting epistemic communities, including survivors, victims’ families, journalists, lawyers, archivists, software engineers and foreign funders.” He believes such research will steer the direction of the emerging human rights technology space to develop survivor-centered and memory-sensitive documentation tools.
Each Public Impact Distinguished Fellow will receive $12,000 toward continuing their research. In addition to the monetary award, Olgado hopes the recognition encourages more work in support of social justice.
— Katherine Smith