Ericka Johnson, Professor in Gender and Society with a research interest in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at Linköping University, is appointed new WASP-HS Graduate School Director. Ericka Johnson will lead the Graduate School starting from 1 January, 2024.
Ericka Johnson, Professor in Gender and Society with a research interest in Science and Technology Studies (STS), has been appointed as the new Graduate School Director of the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems, and Software Program – Humanities and Society (WASP-HS). With a strong background in examining the intricate power dynamics inherent in technology, particularly within the realm of medical technologies and their impact on our understanding of health and bodies, Professor Ericka Johnson brings interdisciplinary experience to her new role.
“I look forward to my work as Graduate School Director. It is a chance for me to work closely with so many exciting researchers doing such different things – yet all under the heading of humanities and social sciences,” says Ericka.
Relevant Opportunities for the PhD Students
WASP-HS operates on the premise that the socio-technical entanglements of AI and autonomous systems demand interdisciplinary approaches. Ericka highlights the importance of embracing this interdisciplinarity in the graduate school’s courses and ensuring diversity in approaches.
“I am excited about the way our courses embrace that interdisciplinarity and look forward to working with our Principal Investigators (PIs) to ensure that the graduate school continues to reflect the diversity of approaches we have within WASP-HS,” she emphasizes.
With the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, Professor Johnson also aims to strengthen the international aspects of the WASP-HS graduate school. This includes engaging international guest professors in graduate school activities, incorporating global perspectives into courses, and fostering collaboration between researchers.
“We will be offering some new courses and running the 2024 summer school in parallel with the WARA-ML summer school in Norrköping,” Johnson announces.
Nurturing Future Leaders in AI, Diversity, and Beyond
Over 90 PhD students are currently involved in the WASP-HS national graduate school, which provides PhD courses and other events for young researchers and is dedicated to contributing to the diversity and inclusion of AI-related expertise. As such, the graduate school prepares the PhD students for their lives after their PhD, including postdoc positions and opportunities outside of academia.
One of the very first events that will take place during Ericka Johnson’s lead is the Winter Conference 2024, a conference intended mainly for the PhD students and supervisors within the program. The three-day event includes lectures, workshops, panel sessions and more.
“One thing I’d like to highlight during this year’s Winter Conference is the session on ’Life after the PhD’, where we will be discussing postdoc opportunities but also things a person can do with a PhD outside of academia. Our first group of students are approaching the end of their PhD studies, so we will be looking at ways we can support their next career steps – both with information and advice, and some actual postdoc positions,” says Ericka Johnson.