“I Don't See Color”: Characterizing Players’ Racial Attitudes and Experiences via an Anti-Bias Simulation Videogame.

D.M. Olson, D.F. Harrell.
In Proceedings of the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG '20)


Breakbeat Narratives: A Personalized, Conversational Interactive Storytelling System for Museum Education.

D.M. Olson, N. Soliman, A. Wang, M. Price, R. Sahu, D.F. Harrell.
In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems


Modeling Racial and Ethnic Socialization for Interactive Storytelling.

D.M. Olson, D.F. Harrell.
In Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Spring Symposium (AAAI 2019)


Cultural Computing/Indigenous Values.

D.F. Harrell, D.M. Olson.
Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence Workshop (IP AI 2019)


Africa and the Avatar Dream: Mapping the Impacts of Videogame Representations of Africa.

D.F. Harrell, S. Sengün, D. Olson.
The Digital Black Atlantic (Eds. Kelly Josephs and Roopika Risam), University of Minnesota Press, 2021

In Print

Foundations of Interaction in the Virtual Reality Medium.

D. Olson, D.F. Harrell, A. Sutherland, C. Zaman.
Encyclopedia of Computer Graphics and Games (Ed. N. Lee), Springer International Publishing AG, 2018.


Exploring the Use of Virtual Identities for Broadening Participation in Computer Science Learning.

D.F. Harrell, D. Olson, D. Kao, A. Rodriguez, L. Carney, S. Veeragoudar.
In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN 2018)


Reasonable Perception: Connecting Vision and Language Systems for Validating Scene Descriptions.

L.H. Gilpin, C. Zaman, D. Olson, and B.Z. Yuan.
In HRI '18 Companion: 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction Companion


Perception of Speaker Personality Traits Using Speech Signals.

L.H. Gilpin, D. Olson and T. Alrashed.
In Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems


Growing Youth Curiosity and Self-Confidence in STEAM with Gique.

D. Olson, A. Davis-Polanco, P. Getzen, G. Rabadam.
SciArt Magazine, Vol. 26, Special Topics: STEAM, 2017


Authoring Conversational Narratives in Games with the Chimeria Platform.

D.F. Harrell, D. Kao, C. Lim, J. Lipshin, A. Sutherland, J. Makivic, D. Olson.
In Proceedings of the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG '14)


Teaching Experience.

Teaching Assistant



Work Experience.

Sept 2016–Present

Graduate Research Assistant

MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality

June 2020–Aug 2020

Research Intern

Facebook Reality Labs Research

July 2018–Aug 2018

Learning Facilitator

MIT STEAM Camp at Chinese International School

July 2017–Apr 2018

VR Research Consultant

Mediate VR

Apr–Aug 2016

Summer Program Coordinator

MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs

June 2014–Apr 2016

Program Manager


Oct 2013


Gique Corporation

Jan 2013–2014

Undergraduate Research Assistant

MIT Media Lab

Summer 2013

Program Manager Intern


Summer 2012

Software Development Engineer in Test Intern




  • Microsoft Research PhD Summit [Student Attendee]
    Online (Dec 2020)
  • GAMERella 2020 [Game Jam Participant]
    Online (Nov 2020)
  • FDG '20: International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games [Paper Presenter]
    Online (Sept 2020)
  • CambridgeCHI '20 [Non-Paper (LBW) Presenter]
    Online (May 2020)


  • Indigenous Protocol and AI Workshop [Workshop Participant]
    University of Hawaii (Mar 2019)
  • Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Spring Symposium [Paper Presenter]
    Stanford University (Mar 2019)
  • SENSE.nano [Poster Presenter]
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sept 2019)
  • Connected Learning Summit [Workshop Presenter]
    University of California at Irvine (Oct 2019)


  • MIT and Nord Anglia Education Annual STEAM Summit [Workshop Presenter]
    Houston, TX (Jan 2018)
  • NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Conference [Poster Presenter]
    Alexandria, VA (Mar 2018)
  • ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems [Poster Presenter]
    Montreal, QC (Apr 2018)
  • Interventions: A Student-Led Design Conference [Invited Panelist]
    Northeastern University (Apr 2018)
  • National Center for Women & Information Technology Summit [Workshop Presenter]
    Grapevine, TX (May 2018)
  • Immersive Learning Research Network International Conference [Paper Presenter]
    University of Montana (June 2018)


  • Black Women in Computing Conference [Sponsored Attendee]
    Washington, D.C. (Jan 2017)
  • Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences Women's Summit [Sponsored Attendee]
    University of Florida (April 2017)
  • MIT-Nord Anglia STEAMFest [Workshop Presenter]
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (May 2017)
  • National Society of Blacks in Computing Conference [Sponsored Attendee]
    Atlanta, GA (June 2017)
  • Educators of Color Conference [Workshop Presenter]
    Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (June 2017)
  • MIT Alumni Leadership Conference [Invited Panelist]
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sep 2017)
  • Google Student Research Summit [Poster Presenter]
    YouTube HQ, San Bruno, CA (Oct 2017)
  • Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems,
    Black in AI and Women in ML Workshops [Poster Presenter]

    Long Beach, CA (Dec 2017)


  • Youth Conference for Alumni of Color Conference [Workshop Presenter]
    Harvard Graduate School of Education (Mar 2016)


  • Microsoft TechReady 20 Conference [Session Presenter]
    Seattle, WA (Jan 2015)
  • Microsoft TechReady 21 Conference [Session Presenter]
    Seattle, WA (July 2015)
  • Intercollegiate Business Convention presented by Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business [Invited Panelist]
    Boston, MA (Oct 2015)


  • From Vision to Practice Institute, Virginia Department of Education Annual Conference [Workshop Presenter]
    Williamsburg, VA (July 2013)

Personal Interests.


A brief selection of some books and graphic novels I've enjoyed over the last several years.

Academic Reading
Pleasure Reading
Graphic Novels

My Hobbies

I make it a priority to spend time enjoying my hobbies outside of work!

I love to run, bike, and hike in the outdoors. In 2019, I decided I wanted to share my love of fitness with others in my community. I work part-time as a Group Fitness Instructor at the Greater Hartford YMCA. I previously also worked as a CycleStar Instructor at CycleBar West Hartford and Personal Trainer at the YMCA.

Hiking Running Training CycleBar
I absolutely love cooking, baking, and juicing in my kitchen. New recipes are always welcome, so please send them my way! I also enjoy trying new restaurants in whatever city I am in (with a particular fondness for dessert and ice cream shops).

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I am a huge animal lover. My partner and I love spoiling and spending time with our cat, Miko (adopted from Animal Rescue League of Boston in 2014), and our dog, Peanut (adopted from Connecticut Humane Society in 2019).

Headshot Headshot

Let's craft something to make the world a better place.