Mary is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research. She maintains a tenured appointment as Associate Professor in the Media School, with adjunct positions in American Studies, Anthropology, and Gender Studies at Indiana University. Mary studied anthropology before receiving her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of California at San Diego in 2004.
Her research looks at how media access and everyday uses of technologies transform people's lives. Her last book, Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America (New York University Press, 2009) looked at how young people in the rural United States use media to negotiate their sexual and gender identities, local belonging, and visibility in national LGBT politics, more broadly. Mary served on the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association from 2008 until 2010 and chaired the Executive Program Committee for its 113th Annual Meeting in 2014. Mary's current book project (tentatively titled “On Demand: Digital Labor, Platform Economies, and the Future of Work in Precarious Times”), co-authored with computer scientist Siddharth Suri, uses case studies of present day crowdwork on four different crowdsourcing platforms, comparing workers' experiences in the United States and India, to think through the social impact of digital workforces on the future of employment.