Ellie Harmon, PhD

I am based in Portland, Oregon where I enjoy reading, cycling, swimming, walking, singing, dancing, a morning coffee, and an afternoon tea.

I have a professional background in social science and computer science. I care about making computing more accessible, meaningful, and beneficial for human flourishing. I have particular expertise studying technology use in the context of work, labor, and organizations.

As a faculty member at Portland State University from 2017-2021, I taught courses in user experience and computer ethics; mentored numerous excellent student researchers; worked to make computing more broadly approachable, relevant, and welcoming; and advocated for a better university as an AAUP union leader. I am especially proud of my work as a co-director of CyberPDX, a professional development program for middle and high school teachers. Our interdisciplinary team helped teachers learn new skills and integrate cybersecurity concepts into their biology, art, and literature classrooms; introducing key technical competencies to thousands of high school students who might never have self-selected into a technology-oriented elective.

I have led both social science research and technical design and development projects for organizations including Intel, IG Metall (German Metalworkers Union), and the International Labour Organization. I held a postdoctoral appointment at CU Boulder in 2015-16.

I hold a PhD in Information and Computer Science from the University of California at Irvine. My dissertation argued that feelings of “constant connection” are characterisitic of contemporary life, rather than the direct result of using a phone/computer “too much.” Nonetheless, concerted efforts to “unplug” or “disconnect” often feel successful because they force us to rearrange our social/work life more holistically.

I have walked the length of the United States on each coast, between Georgia and Maine on the Appalachian Trail (2008, 2000 miles) and from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail (2013, 2650 miles).

You can find my academic writings indexed on Google Scholar.