Staff Spotlight: Robin Kocher

Robin Kocher – one of C-SED’s newest team member’s – sat down with Storyteller Taylor Schott to answer some questions about her role at C-SED and what she’s looking forward to.

Story by Taylor Schott

EDITORS’S NOTE (7/12/2022): Since this story was published, Robin Kocher has accepted an opportunity to serve the University of Michigan’s Center for Ethics, Computing, and Society (ESC – pronounced “escape”) as a project coordinator. C-SED is proud to see Robin further pursue both her career and equity-centered goals. Learn more about ESC.

Describe your role:

I am 4 weeks into the role! My formal responsibilities include administrative assistance to support the C-SED team with administrative tasks. C-SED collaborates quite frequently with campus partners, so my role involves a lot of facilitating those meetings and events, and their logistics. It’s a lot of connecting people. I’m also in charge of helping with room reservations, an important resource for students to link to. I also aid with general touch points and questions, connecting folks to the lab, and helping with the administrative process of hiring new C-SED friends!


How/why did you become involved with C-SED?

I am also a grad student in the School of Information, attending part time. My focus is in user experience and design, and it was through the school that I found out about IIA (Innovation in Action), as well as the Envisioning an Anti-Racist World Challenge. I have my Master’s from Michigan in Social Work, and I’m very interested in the intersection of equity, justice, and technology. I met Erin Moore and Ann Verhey-Henke through IIA – I was very impressed by the intention of the design process!

*Robin, alongside a multidisciplinary team of U-M graduate students, earned first prize in the 2021 Anti-Racist World Challenge competition. Their team, Shift, aims at helping individuals shift their commitment to a lifelong learning and growth mindset. 


What is one project you really enjoyed working on?

It’s incredibly exciting to hear that C-SED is expanding and bringing in new folks for three different positions – it speaks to the impact that C-SED is having at the university and campus and beyond. Being a part of that process and seeing the other side of it is wonderful. 


What do you like most about working at C-SED? 

It’s a new thing everyday! Because we’re hiring for all these new positions – it’s felt like a marathon! I really enjoy the team atmosphere here, and its intentionality. Through IIA, I got to know Erin and Ann – and already had a feel for the dynamic with them. 


Why are you drawn to user experience and research design?

When I think of design, it’s very a relational and interdisciplinary field – I’m a very curious person. With perspective from a social work and psychology background, I wanted to be a part of that intentionality within the way that we build the world around us. I kind of took a windy path – my undergraduate education was in neuroscience, my master’s was in social work, and now I’m in the School of Information – I’ve always had this intersectional approach to things, and design comes in as a way to bring all of those together. 


What is your favorite book?

I love audiobooks! I also read a lot of fiction, on a variety of topics. Triad by Susan Kane is a great one – she talks about how introversion can be a superpower. Also, Building for Everyone by Batisse, who works at Google, describes how design in general could be more inclusive to benefit everyone. When it comes to podcasts, I love Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us – I appreciate her vulnerability and ability to connect. 

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