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Laura Robinson is a sociologist whose current work examines the intersection of COVID-19 with digital phenomena, digital inequalities, and digital political media in Brazil, France, and the US. While at the Berkman Klein Center, Robinson is studying the impact of COVID-19 on the digital public sphere vis-à-vis the 2020 presidential election in the United States. Her other research on COVID-19 and digital inequalities has been published in First Monday; Social Inclusion; and the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society. Another of Robinson’s projects explores the nexus linking young people’s digital engagements to their aspirations in high-tech careers in agriculture in California from winemaking to beekeeping to cattle ranching. The project delves into the ways in which various digital technology engagements can spur occupational interest in agricultural careers across diverse sectors that will increasingly use automation and AI to keep family and organic farming viable.  

Robinson’s previous work on digital inequalities, identity work, the digital public sphere, and digital research methods has been published in venues including: Information, Communication & Society; New Media & Society; Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication; American Behavioral Scientist; Sociological Methodology; and Sociology. Robinson earned her PhD at UCLA and is an associate professor at Santa Clara University. Previous appointments include affiliated faculty at the UC Berkeley Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, visiting faculty at Cornell University, visiting scholar at Trinity College Dublin, and postdoctoral researcher at USC Annenberg. Robinson’s research has been funded by a Mellon Fellowship in Latin American studies and a bourse at l’École Normale Supérieure.  

Robinson’s roles in the field of digital studies include service as: co-editor of Emerald Studies in Media & Communications; coordinator of the Brazil-U.S. Colloquium on Communication Research; and chair of the Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. Her work has been recognized with awards from AOIR, NCA IICD, and CITAMS.