Teaching at Uplift's Scratch Day celebration

This list contains personal projects as well as those related to school and my companies.

2016 – Present

The Lab for Artificial Intelligence and its Applications (LAIA) @ Coppin State University (until Summer 2021) and currently at Uplift, Inc.

2012 – 2015

Juxtopia Imhotep Affordable Wearable Telehealth Device

Leshell Hatley leads presentation at the 2014 American Public Health Association Conference

2015 – ongoing

Urban Kid! Game Design & Development Studio

Game Design & National Movement


Gwendolyn Boyd Delta Sigma Theta Centennial STEM Torch Event


In honor of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.‘s 100th Year Anniversary, the sorority’s symbolic torch (“Intelligence is the Torch of Wisdom) traveled the world.  It’s first visit to DC occurred in March 2013 in celebration of Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, the sorority’s 22nd National President.  Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd is the first African-American to receive a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University and is now the executive assistant to the chief of staff at the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins and the chair of the Johns Hopkins Institutions’ Diversity Leadership Council.  Her desire was to have this weekend dedicated to getting youth introduced to STEM.  This is where I came in…. I spearheaded a STEM Expo for the weekend celebration at Howard University (my alma mater) with over 1,000 participants, 35 technology-based exhibitors, and several hands-on workshops (e.g. from Black Girls Code and the Spelbots).  The event was a major success!

The image above is a picture of the audience (two basketball courts full of attendees)… with more coming in the entrance on the right.

2012 – ongoing

FLO – Focused Learning Opportunities (Prototype)


Using the Standards of Learning (SOL), Virginia’s public school standard testing program, data provided by the VLDS, interested users would select the particular SOL test and a particular population such as county, district or school on which to focus. FLO helps educators provide Focused Learning Opportunities (FLO) for all students in the Commonwealth.


App Inventor + Augmented Reality Tutorial.  


This is a multimedia-based tutorial created to provide a brief yet resourceful introduction to MIT’s App Inventor and how to use it to create augmented reality android apps.

(AAAS) Educators Explore Innovative Ways to Harness Mobile Technology in the Classroom

Teacher Leshell Hatley, founder of Uplift Inc., and her working group colleagues at the CMD-IT workshop prepared to discuss ideas for using technology to improve teaching and learning in the classroom.

Teachers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are at the forefront of both the disruption and the response, no more so than at the middle school level where many students have never experienced life in an era before smart phones became ubiquitous.

Four dozen leading teachers, academics, and policymakers grappled with these issues in an intensive two-day workshop on “Diversity as an Innovation Resource.” They have an ambitious goal: Within the next 18 months, deliver new technology-based tools that middle school teachers and students might use for learning math.

The workshop, held 19-20 June at AAAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., was organized by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT, pronounced “command it”) in cooperation with AAAS and other collaborators.

2011 – ongoing

Youth APPLab 

Youth APPLab is an after-school program designed to introduce African-American and Latino middle and high school students to computer science by way of developing smartphone applications (apps) for the Android platform. It is also a Broadening Participation in Computing Research project in that student perspectives, learning methods, and information acquisition (learning how to program), are all explored and observed. Information gathered/gained is used to introduce concepts in new ways and to design technology that supports learning of these same concepts.

Leshell Hatley: Youth AppLab from Ray on Vimeo.

Robotics in DC

Robotics in DC follows the same mission as Youth APPLab (above) except with a focus on engineering.  It also explores how robotics and other engineering concepts can be integrated into PreK-12th grade classrooms.

2010 – ongoing

Myles & Ayesha

‘Myles & Ayesha’ are cartoon characters I conceptualized in December 2009.  Why?  To create culturally relevant characters I could use in learning technology geared specifically towards African-American children.  Myles and Ayesha are African-American children who love science.  They are positioned as ‘learning companions’ to encourage learning and exploration of science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), history, art, and reading.  You will soon see them in learning technology, games (mobile & video), cartoons, books, and on whatever merchandise I can get them on!  I am extremely proud of this creation and publicly released them in September 2010.  I posted a blog entry about it a few days ago.

The project has already been awarded in the ING Unsung Hero Award and has an iPhone app in the Apple Store called the Myles & Ayesha Black Inventors Match Game.  The goal is to continue releasing themed apps for iDevices and Android.  So, please stay tuned for more!

***Dissertation Topic Exploration

Currently, I am exploring research areas for my dissertation.  I am continuing in the direction of my Word Learning Toy/Technology project started in 2009 (see below).

My current advisor is Doug Oard and he is advising me on related topics such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Computational Linguistics.  These topics are extremely interesting and provide for a richer investigation.  I am also exploring the world of reading instruction and reading acquisition skills with a dissertation committee member in the College of Education, Jennifer D. Turner.  I look forward to what results.

***LearnLab / Project LISTEN Data-Mining @ Carnegie Mellon

This past summer, I participated in LearnLab at Carnegie Mellon University.  This was an awesome experience where I learned how to leverage cognitive theory with cognitive modeling under the auspices of intelligent tutors.  We explored how intelligent tutoring systems are made and how research is conducted toward the improvement of student learning as well as improvements within the tutors themselves.

I followed the data-mining track during this week-long rigorous training workshop and partnered with Ayorkor Mills-Tettey on analyzing data from a Project Listen (CMU’s Reading Tutor) study in Ghana (Project Kane).  Ayorkor is a PhD Candidate in Robotics at CMU and is originally from Ghana.  She was an amazing partner and we learned a great deal together – both about intelligent tutoring systems in general and from the usage data collected in Ghana.  Ayorkor actually won honorable mention for a paper she published from this project.

This project had a huge impact on me and has influenced the direction of my dissertation topic!

***MacArthur Foundation’s 2010 Digital Media & Learning Competition Winner

This year my nonprofit organization, Uplift Inc. won the 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition.  Our project, Youth APPLab, is designed to teach African-American and Latino high school students in DC how to create mobile (android) applications/apps.  This year-long project is also intended to explore participants perspectives about computer science and learning how to program. Classes begin in October.  So, stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project!

***KIDVIEW: My Candidacy Project


Writing about KIDVIEW: I spent the duration of Spring 2010 writing my Integrative Paper – the candidacy process within the iSchool.  I had to sum up 10 design sessions, lessons learned, and all my thoughts about (mobile) technology design up to this point in a paper no longer than 7500 words.  It was an intriguing process.

Overall the iPaper (as I affectionately called it) process is designed to prepare a PhD student in the iSchool for the dissertation process – researching, writing, and working with a committee.  I can share a great deal about my experience offline, just contact me and I’ll tell you all about it!

***Design Techniques for Mobile Application Development

During the 2009-2010 school year, I worked very closely with two colleagues in the HCIL to develop and refine design techniques for Mobile Application development.  Two techniques resulted from this work – Moving Panels & Clear Panels.

*Moving Panels supports the natural affordances of using mobile devices – mobility, portability, etc. and allowed designers to move around while in the initial phases of application design.  I was actually surprised to recently find a version of our technique in the ‘real world.’

*Clear Panels supported the refinement of interactivity design once a application prototype was created and actually installed on the device.  A short paper on Clear Panels was published at the DIS2010 Conference in Denmark.


***KIDVIEW: My Candidacy Project


From the Fall of 2008 until Spring 2010, I was engrossed in KIDVIEW, my project for PhD Candidacy.  This project started out as design project for a mobile device for kids, from a kid’s perspective – thus the name.  I started the project after informally observing kids dissatisfaction with using iPhones (this was shortly after the Apple App store opened and we – KIDSTEAM – were working on what became several iPhone Apps – ICDL for the iPhone and StoryKit).

A variety of interesting components resulted from this exploratory design research:

  1. A new device in multiple sizes (this was pre-iPad and we created a device almost the same size)
  2. Additional components
  3. Apps made with kids in mind
  4. Guidelines for mobile technology design for children

*I hope to publish this work soon.

***Word Learning Toy/Technology

As a result of my interest in creating learning technology, I explored how to design a toy/technology for the acquisition of letter and sound recognition skills within my Cognitive Development class.  This fueled this interest a great deal and was fun to conceptualize.  I conducted an online survey of parents and inquired about various methods used for teaching sound/letter/object recognition and reading skills.

This work resulted in a poster I presented at the iSchools Research Review Day (Celebration of Research and Teaching) in 2009.

***Cultural Relevance in Learning Technology

Cultural Relevance Pedagogy was coined by Gloria Ladson-Billings, an education researcher.  She and others like her have inspired and encouraged me to explore cultural relevance in technology.  This is an important concept that unfortunately often gets overlooked in the commercial sector as well as in academia.  Attempting to integrate cultural relevance in the design of technology, and within learning technology more specifically, is at the heart of what drives me overall.

I have published two papers in this area in 2009 and plan to continue this work in the future.


***How Children Search the Web at Home

During my second year, I worked with Allison Druin doing exploratory research on how children ages 7, 9, and 11 search the web at home. For 2 years, we interviewed children and their parents about their in-home search behavior, rules governing computer usage, and desired features for search engines.  My research partner and I traveled the outskirts of DC, MD, VA, PA, and DE talking with people about their computer usage.  It was a great experience and we were certainly appreciative of the over 80 families who invited us into their homes.  Papers published from this exploration are on my publications page.

It turns out that some of our findings influenced some design changes within Google’s search engine.


Although I am no longer working on this project, I learned a great deal and wish the project much success in its future data collection and analysis.  For ~3 years, I was also a member of KIDSTEAM, an after-school program in the Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) where a team of kids ages 7-11 partner with adults in the design of new technologies.  KIDSTEAM partners with the National Park Service (Junior/Web Ranger’s Website and a host of other projects), Carnegie Hall, Disney, Nickelodeon, and a host of others.

***African-American Picture Books

African-American picture books are one of my favorite book genres.  During my Children’s Literature class, I explored the rich history of how this genre came to be, communicated with several famous authors and illustrators, and learned about some amazing librarians who paved the way for this genre’s existence.  Augusta Baker was one of those amazing librarians.  Her creation of the Black Children’s Literature section at the New York Public Library’s 135th Street Branch (now the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture) was an amazing contribution to the history of this genre.

I wrote a class paper about this history and gave a presentation at GRID 2008 on the subject.

***The Black Scholars Index

The idea behind The Black Scholars Index was conceived in 2008 and improved in 2009.   The Black Scholars Index™ (BSI) is an online venue to highlight, record, analyze, and illustrate the scholarly achievements within the Black Diaspora. Scholars featured were selected by the BSI team and did not make any personal exclamations on this website.

I suppose it was born out of the frustration of being in academia and not seeing many faces of color, not to mention the seemingly low value of people of color in academia I witnessed at the time.  So, my desire was to feature an African-American Scholar daily.  This project is the result of that urge and it has grown tremendously since then.

I actually won a research competition with it in 2008 and presented a poster about it at the 2009 Digital Humanities Conference.

This project now has a Facebook page as well.


***International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL)

***Great Libraries: Library Media Specialists from the Council of Great City Schools

When I initially enrolled in the iSchool, I was advised by Ann C. Weeks.  During the first few semesters, I worked with her on the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) and with the Network of Library Media Specialists from the nation’s largest cities within the Council of Great City Schools.


Published in 2009 – Lynn, M. & Bridges, T. (2009). Critical race studies in education and the endarkened wisdom of Carter G. Woodson. In Tillman, L. (Ed.) Handbook of African American Education. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publishers, pp. 339-350.

I supported my Professor and a fellow student with this article (and am mentioned in the acknowledgements).