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Elizabeth Murnane Joins Dartmouth Engineering Faculty

Aug 12, 2020   |   by Julie Bonette

On July 1, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth welcomed its newest faculty member: Elizabeth Murnane, the Charles H. Gaut and Charles A. Norberg Assistant Professor of Engineering. Murnane’s research focuses on the design, engineering, and evaluation of technologies aimed at promoting both human wellbeing and the welfare of the natural environment on which all life depends. Her work emphasizes translational approaches to meaningfully engage with and positively shape industry practices, local communities, and policy-making.

Elizabeth Murnane at a whiteboard
Elizabeth Murnane
, the Charles H. Gaut and Charles A. Norberg Assistant Professor of Engineering

“Thayer School is such a special place, combining interdisciplinary, integrative, top-caliber research with a true emphasis on outstanding and inclusive undergraduate education. There are also so many groundbreaking developments — literally and figuratively — on the horizon for Thayer and the wider Dartmouth community, and I'm absolutely thrilled for the opportunity to be a part of it,” said Murnane.

Most recently, Murnane was a postdoctoral researcher in the computer science department at Stanford University, and prior to that, she was a graduate researcher at Cornell University. As a PhD candidate, she also spent time as a visiting graduate researcher at the University of Washington, and completed internships at Google and Microsoft Research. Before entering graduate school, she was the lead engineer and head of experimental features at Architexa, an MIT startup that built interactive visualization tools to help developers make sense of complex codebases.

She holds her PhD and MS in information science from Cornell University, and her SB in mathematics with computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At Dartmouth, Murnane directs the Empower Lab, which develops interactive, data-driven tools that empower people to individually and collaboratively collect, make sense of, and act upon information, with an emphasis on societally-impactful applications in health, education, civics, and sustainability.

Earlier this summer, Murnane received a best paper award at the Association for Computing Machinery’s annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2020). The study, for which Murnane served as first author, introduced a narrative-based smartphone application that promotes physical activity by visualizing and tying together the progress of the user with that of the app’s main character.

Murnane's early career professorship is supported by the Donna Gaut and C. Christopher “Cris” Gaut ’78 Fund, which was established in 2018 in memory of Charles H. Gaut P’78 and Charles A. Norberg P’58. The professorship will further Dartmouth’s commitment to maintaining an excellent faculty and interdisciplinary learning environment. Through the distinction it confers upon its successive holders, this Professorship is intended to help Dartmouth recruit the most promising educators and recognize the teaching and research achievements of early career professors.

“With the exciting growth of engineering at Dartmouth and the facility expansion, we wanted to support the equally important addition of dynamic and innovative new faculty members. We are very pleased to welcome someone of Elizabeth Murnane’s caliber to Thayer,” said Gaut.

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