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Medill Assistant Professor Jessica Hullman named Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow

Esteemed fellowship provides substantial funding to continue Hullman’s research in journalism and computer science

May 3, 2019 | By Jane Flis (IMC15)
Jessica Hullman headshot
Medill Assistant Professor Jessica Hullman

Medill Assistant Professor Jessica Hullman has received the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship that comes with $100,000 annually for two years to pursue breakthrough, high-impact research. Hullman’s research and teaching are in journalism and computer science.

“Jessica is truly deserving of this tremendous honor,” said Medill Interim Dean Charles Whitaker. “Her innovative research in data visualization and graphic representation of complex concepts helps journalists and researchers engage audiences and tell more compelling stories with data.”

According to Microsoft, the fellowship recognizes innovative, promising new faculty members who have demonstrated the potential to do great work throughout their careers. The grant is an unrestricted gift, providing fellows the freedom to plan their research, hire graduate students and acquire equipment.

Hullman’s primary research interests are in information visualization and the communication of uncertainty—for example, possible outcomes of an election. The goal of her work is to help more people, such as news readers, understand complex concepts through tools that use visualization, structured data and automation. At Northwestern, she is a faculty member at Medill as well as McCormick School of Engineering.

“The Microsoft Faculty Fellowship will give my students and me more freedom to explore how our ideas around uncertainty visualization and reasoning can be useful in the world and across scientific domains,” said Hullman. “For example, I'm excited to develop software that can make visualizing uncertainty easier for journalists and authors who may not have deep programming or statistical experience.”

Hullman was one of five researchers who were chosen by Microsoft through a rigorous, multi-tier selection process that involved 22 reviewers. The other recipients hail from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of Washington and University of California at Berkeley. 

To learn more about the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, visit Microsoft’s website.

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