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Cecilia Aragon

University of Washington
Professor and Director, Human Centered Data Science Lab; Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering
Cecilia Aragon is Director of the Human Centered Data Science Lab, Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, Founding Co-Director of the University of Washington Data Science Master’s Program, and Senior Data Science Fellow at the eScience Institute at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. In 2016, Aragon was the first Latina to be named to the rank of Full Professor in the College of Engineering at UW in its hundred-year history. She earned her Ph.D. in computer science from UC Berkeley in 2004, and her B.S. in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on human-centered data science, an emerging field at the intersection of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), and the statistical and computational techniques of data science. She has authored or co-authored over 130 peer-reviewed publications and over 140 other publications in the areas of HCI, CSCW, data science, visual analytics, machine learning, and astrophysics. Her most recent book, the memoir "FLYING FREE: My Victory over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team," was released by Blackstone Publishing in September 2020. Previously, she and Katie Davis co-authored the book "Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth, and New Forms of Mentoring" (MIT Press 2019).

In 2008, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the US government on outstanding scientists in the early stages of their careers, for her work in collaborative data-intensive science. Aragon's research has been recognized with over $27 million in grants from federal agencies, private foundations, and industry, and has garnered six Best Paper awards since 2004. Her interdisciplinary background includes over 15 years of software development experience in industry and NASA, and a three-year stint as the founder and CEO of a small company. She has also been a test pilot, aerobatic champion, and medalist at the World Aerobatic Championships, the Olympics of aviation.