Bio

For the last five years, Dr. Sylvan has served in executive leadership at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society  (BKC) at Harvard University, where her portfolio includes developing in-person and hybrid educational programs, leading student engagement initiatives, designing dialogue and co-creation spaces for leading scholars, technologists, and decision-makers in the public and private sectors, developing technology ethics programs, and building capacity for technology ethics policy and practice across the globe. 

Throughout her tenure at BKC, Dr. Sylvan has engaged and continues to engage in multiple educational, research, and policy projects. This has included co-leading the Policy Practice (formerly the AI Policy Practice) and the Co-designing Generative Futures initiative. She represents BKC with both the Global Network of Internet & Society Research Centers and the International Network for Digital Self Determination. She works on advising governments and Youth and Media efforts. Sylvan has led many of BKC's educational programs including the Summer Institute and BKC Research Sprints, which include Digital Identity in Times of Crisis, Digital Ethics in Times of Crisis: COVID-19 & Access to Education Learning Spaces, Digital Self Determination, and AI Policy Research Clinic. She is a longstanding member of BKC's Tech through Spec working group.

Dr. Sylvan’s lifelong interest is in sociotechnical systems that support creativity, shared knowledge, and learning. Before joining BKC, Dr. Sylvan worked for herself and for multiple nonprofits. She was the Vice President of Education at The Tech Museum in Silicon Valley (now The Tech Interactive) where she created a new education department. While Maker in Residence at the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College, she launched a makerspace for K14 educators and community college students and taught classes on makerspace practices and instructional design. As a Fellow and Director of Learning and Community at Manylabs she developed programs for communities to use environmental and social sensors for civic action. As a Researcher Scientist and Project Director at TERC, she project directed a technology development project that supported a web-based community of practice that was focused on data literacy. There she also researched both the creative design processes of game design teams and the diffusion of ideas in communities of science inquiry within games. Her consulting practice focused on research, education, and technology for nonprofits, museums, and tech companies.

Dr. Sylvan’s M.S. and Ph.D. are from the MIT Media Lab where her work addressed how sociotechnical systems support shared knowledge and group action. There, Dr. Sylvan received fellowships from Highlands and Islands (2005-2006) and Media Lab Europe (2003-2004.) She was also a fellow with International Society for Design and Development in Education (2011) and served on the advisory boards of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College, zSpace, and the Stanford d-school Build Lab.

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