Student Spotlight: Travis Lloyd

Travis Lloyd

October 23, 2023

Travis Lloyd is a doctoral student in information science from Ardsley, New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Brown University and now studies how new technologies shape power relations in society under the guidance of Mor Naaman at Cornell.

What is your area of research and why is it important?

My research uses empirical methods to study how new technologies shape power relations in society, especially around matters of economic inequality. 

What are the larger implications of this research?

Technology changes so rapidly that it can be hard for public understanding to keep up. I see my research as a form of accountability that can help ensure that technological change brings about a future that is aligned with our shared democratic values.

What does it mean to you to have been selected for the NSF CSGrad4US program?

It’s a great honor to be selected for the NSF CSGrad4US program. I see it as a vote of confidence from the academic community that I have the potential to make a meaningful contribution as a professional researcher.  

How did the program prepare you for the graduate school application process?

The program provided guidance and encouragement during every step of the application process. It helped me determine what I was looking for in a graduate program and figure out how best to present myself as a strong applicant. 

What will this fellowship allow you to do that you might not have been able to otherwise?

I don’t think I would have applied to graduate programs without the help of this fellowship. From my prior position working in industry, it was hard to see where my interests could fit in academia. The fellowship made a Ph.D. seem much more accessible and provided the encouragement that I needed to take the plunge. 

President Pollack has designated this academic year’s theme as freedom of expression. What does freedom of expression mean to you?

To me freedom of expression is about allowing for differing opinions to be voiced in good-faith. It’s important for an academic community, as well as a democratic society, to be able to discuss challenging issues in a way that allows a range of viewpoints to be heard.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of your research or scholarship?

Outside of research I am an avid musician and I enjoy playing in bands, learning new instruments, and seeing live concerts. 

Why did you choose Cornell to pursue your degree?

I chose to pursue my degree at Cornell because the interdisciplinary nature of the information science degree program made me feel that I could carve out a course of study aligned with my varied interests. The option to pursue my degree at Cornell Tech also provides an amazing opportunity for me to ground my research in the larger community of New York City.