Professor in the Psychology Department and the School of Education
I am a Professor in the Psychology Department and the School of Education. This will be my second term as Master of Shepard, having previously served from 2003 until 2007. I am very happy to be returning to Shepard.
Shepard is a wonderful place to live and work. Two things stand out: First, we are very diverse group, in every sense of the word. Students come from almost every College or School in the University, and you’ll find dozens of majors represented. Second, despite (or because of) our diversity, Shepard is a close community. Students are genuinely interested in others, devote a great deal of time philanthropy, and participate in many events together.
The focus on working across fields is probably what attracted me to Shepard in the first place. My research and teaching are very interdisciplinary, focusing on how people learn from visual displays, such as maps, graphs, and charts. I study people from age 18 months to well past college. You can read more about my work at http://groups.psych.northwestern.edu/uttal/
My job as Master is primarily to help you meet faculty. We have an active and enthusiastic group of Faculty Fellows who come from many different disciplines. You’ll have lots of chances to meet them—at lunch in our dining room, at a dinner at a local restaurant, or on one of the many trips we have planned to Chicago and other locations.
I’m looking forward to meeting you on move-in day.
Shepard Associate Master
Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Larry Birnbaum is co-director of the Intelligent Information Laboratory, and teaches courses in the Medill/McCormick Center for Innovation in Technology, Media and Journalism. He received his doctorate in computer science from Yale University in 1986, and joined the Northwestern faculty in 1989. His research in artificial intelligence and computer science includes natural language processing, case-based reasoning, machine learning, human-computer interaction, educational software and computer vision.
Professor Birnbaum has been featured in the New York Times for his work with computer-generated news articles.
Shepard Assistant Master
Ph.D. student in Northwestern’s Interdisciplinary Theatre & Drama
I grew up in the wine country of Northern California, where we complain about extreme cold when temperatures are in the 40s and the summers are so mild and humidity-free that no one owns an air conditioner. And thus until the age of 17 I pretty much thought that’s just what weather was like. When I moved to Portland, Oregon to attend Reed College, I learned about rain, amongst lots of other things. Reed is a strange and delightful place with extremely high academic standards and a righteous bunch of weirdos for students and faculty, and it was there that I realized my life’s ambition was to become an absent-minded professor. I majored in Literature-Theatre, did a stint at an acting school in London, drank a lot of black tea, became completely nocturnal for a while and wrote a thesis on Renaissance anatomy theatres and really violent Jacobean plays.
In 2008, I moved to Chicago to become a graduate student. I have since discovered snow, wind, and humidity. Hoo boy. I love working as a Ph.D. student in Northwestern’s Interdisciplinary Theatre & Drama program. I’m studying the ways scientists use performance to teach people about their work, and my dissertation is on performances about the human brain (like this one: http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html) and how they shape non-scientists' conceptions of what brains do. I also LOVE teaching theatre, and would be psyched to have you in one of my classes! There’s lots of experimentation and jumping around in my classrooms, which are also things I’m excited to do with my Sheep this year. I predict fun all round.
Looking forward to meeting you. Please don’t hesitate to email me with questions, concerns, or random hellos! I'm excited to meet you!
What do masters do?
The Master is a senior faculty member who "guides the intellectual and programmatic life of each residential college." For example, he coordinates fellows' participation in an undergraduate research grant called the FARA. Learn more about the Master staff.
The Associate Master shares the responsibilities with the Master.
The Assistant Master is a graduate student who helps with administrative duties, like organizing cross-RC events. They are usually awesome.