WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS) has named Dr. Allison Druin as a Special Advisor for National Digital Strategy. A professor at the University of Maryland’s iSchool, Druin is taking a two year leave of absence to assist the National Park Service as a visiting scholar and will help NPS develop its digital strategy for the agency’s upcoming 2016 Centennial and beyond.
“The constantly evolving digital landscape presents numerous opportunities for the National Park Service to reach new audiences in our second century of service,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Allison’s academic background and accomplishments, along with her collaborative style, present exciting possibilities to incorporate emerging digital technologies and tools into our efforts to provide the highest level of visitor services, to protect and share the resources in our care, and to engage the next generation of Americans in our national parks and programs.”
“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the digital future of the National Park Service,” said Druin. “I look forward to exploring how our digital tools can support and amplify how we all experience our nation's parks."
As a professor at the University of Maryland’s iSchool, Druin’s research has focused on developing new educational technologies for children. Her team has partnered with the National Park Service over the past twelve years on projects developing new mobile technologies and website experiences for children and their families, including the long-running, popular WebRangers program.
Druin strives to pioneer the development of new co-design methods that bring product-users into the technology design process. Her team of faculty, staff, and graduate students, recently engaged elementary school kids to help design digital elements of the Every Kid in a Park program; an initiative by the White House and Department of the Interior to give all fourth graders and their families free entrance to national parks.
During Druin’s 18 years as a faculty member at the University of Maryland, she has served as Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab, Associate Dean of Research for the iSchool, and most recently as the university’s first Chief of Futurist and Co-Director of the Future of Information Alliance (FIA). She helped establish a FIA partner network with the National Park Service, Newseum, the Smithsonian, National Geographic and other organizations to explore the opportunities and challenges of the rapidly changing information landscapes.
Druin received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design, her master’s degree from the MIT Media Lab, and her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico’s College of Education.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.