Yolanda A. Rankin is Research Scientist at IBM Research Almaden in the Almaden Services Research division in San Jose, CA. Her primary research interests fall along three trajectories: 1. the design and evaluation of multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) as collaborative spaces that promote knowledge acquisition among inhabitants and serve as the ideal platform for innovative, self-service technologies; 2. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) as unorthodox pedagogical tools for mainstream literacy and Second Language Acquisition (SLA); and 3. Service design that combines Service Blueprinting and the Transactional Interactional Model as the basis for a dynamic computational model that identifies potential healthcare services for underserved populations.
Yolanda accumulated more than six years experience in the telecommunications industry at Lucent Technologies-Bell Labs, first as a software engineer developing IS41 wireless features and later as first tier customer technical support for wireless service providers. As a senior program manager at Luxcore Networks, Yolanda managed the product development cycle of optical networking subsystems. She has received numerous honors and awards, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Northwestern University Graduate School Fellowship, Alliance of Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Scholarship, the Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship, Tougaloo College Presidential Scholarship, and the Columbia Broadcasting System Scholarship. Yolanda completed her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Northwestern University in December 2008. Prior to that, she attained a M.A. in Computer Science at Kent State University in December 1994, and a B.S. in Mathematics at Tougaloo College in May 1992.