headshot of robin with black blazer and green top


rnbrew at umich dot edu

twitter: @_rnbrewer

office phone: 734.615.1299

North Quad #4372


I'm Robin. I do research in Human-Computer Interaction at the intersection of social computing and accessibility. I ask how experiences with technology can be made more accessible to digitally constrained communities. Specifically, I design, build, and study systems to better engage older adults and people with vision impairments who face barriers to accessing and engaging with technology. I also study how people in these communities are actively engaging digitally and how researchers and designers can learn from their strengthss. Most recently, I have investigated the role of accessible voice interfaces (e.g. IVR and smart speakers) and the ways in which these technologies support or do not support social and informational needs.

I am an Assistant Professor at University of Michigan's School of Information (UMSI) and in Computer Science and Engineering (EECS, by courtesy). In the past I have conducted research at Northwestern University, University of Maryland - Baltimore County (UMBC), Carnegie Mellon University, and University of Maryland - College Park. I have also worked at Microsoft Research, Facebook, and IBM Research as a user experience researcher.

I hold a Ph.D. in Technology and Social Behavior from Northwestern University, M.S. in Human-Centered Computing from UMBC, and B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland.

Interested in working with me?

What's New?

Fall 2020 - Admitting PhD students to work with me starting Fall 2021. The application deadline is December 1st. Apply online.

May 2020 - In the news in the Schools of Information and Public Health for recent research on a phone-based virtual senior center in Detroit

February 2020 - Gave talks at University of Washington's DUB series and Microsoft Research on Accessible Voice Interfaces for Social Well-Being

January 2020 - Gave talks at the Michigan AI seminar series and the University of Michigan DAIR center on Applications of AI for Accessibility


Below I share job application materials from when I applied to the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2016 and for tenure-track faculty positions at R1 HCI and iSchool programs in 2018. For other examples, see materials of others like Denae Ford Robinson, Amy Zhang, and tips from Philip Guo. Note, the institutions we applied to are only one type of academic home. Liberal arts colleges are also excellent options! See Evan Peck's Medium article on applying to Computer Science positions at Liberal Arts Colleges

President's Postdoctoral Fellowship: Research Proposal, Education and Background Statement , Thesis Abstract

Tenure-track faculty positions: Cover Letter, Research Statement (PDF), Teaching Statement (PDF) , Diversity Statement