headshot of robin with curly hair, smiling outside, wearing a  flowered shirt and printed scarf


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 strengths. 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). I also hold affiliate positions in the Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing (ESC) and the Digital Studies Institute. My research has been funded by NSF, Google, the Retirement Research Foundation, and the Department of Transportation. 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?

March 2022 - Received an NSF CAREER award to fund research on older adults, voice technologies, and credibility

February 2022 - Late-Breaking Work paper on older adults' critical refusal of health reporting technologies accepted to CHI 2022

October 2021 - CSCW paper on older adults' care-related social media behaviors received an Honorable Mention award

September 2021 - TIIS paper on how older adults engage in health information seeking with voice assistants published in a special on Conversational Agents for Healthcare and Well-being

August 2021 - Started as a visiting researcher in the People + AI Research (PAIR) group at Google

June 2021 - DIS paper about how older adults used technology during COVID-19 and engaged in social infrastructural repair due to COVID-19 published

March 2021 - AIES paper on the lack of older age representation in AI datasets published


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. Note, the institutions I applied to are only one type of academic home. Liberal arts colleges are also excellent options! See Evan Peck's resource on applying to Computer Science positions at Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions.

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