Lynette Yarger

Lynette Yarger

Associate Professor

Administrative Fellow, 2018-2019

Penn State Teaching Fellow, 2014

College of Information Sciences and Technology

Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Research Interests

I earned my Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems from the Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University. My research focuses on how and why historically underserved groups appropriate information and communication technologies (ICT). I have designed, implemented and assessed community computing projects in economically challenged neighborhoods in Atlanta, GA and West Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA. My current research examines the performance of racial and ethnic identities in virtual communities, broadening participation in ICT education and workforce participation, and the influence of racial, class and gender identities on health information seeking and content creation.

As a critical scholar, I'm not content with simply contemplating life. I want to reflect and act upon the world in order to transform it to a more equitable place. This is the essence of praxis, which philosopher Hannah Arendt describes as "the highest and most important level of the active life". This means that in addition to publishing my research in scholarly journals, I seek to use knowledge gained from my research to facilitate social justice and empowerment for historically underserved populations. I actively disseminate knowledge by speaking at community and professional events that serve non-academic audiences. I also seek to change the world by cultivating the next generation of ICT professionals. I do so by serving as a faculty mentor in several organizations committed to equal opportunity and maximizing diversity including the KPMG Future Diversity Leadership program, the iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) for Information Sciences, and the Penn State FastStart program. I also use my classroom as a space for engaging students in meaningful discussions about the ways in which ICT offers both freedom and oppression.

My research contributes to two discourse communities: 1) socio-technical policy interventions for redressing digital inequality, and 2) critical and feminist perspectives on the intersection of gender, race and class in shaping digital inequality. My scholarly manuscripts have been published in The Information Society, Information Systems Journal, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, New Media and Society, and Information, Communication and Society. My work has also been presented at leading information systems and communications conferences including the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), the Association of Computer Machinery Special Interest Group on Management Information Systems (ACM SIGMIS), the International Federation of Information Processing Conference Working Group 8.2 (IFIP 8.2) and Working Group 9.4 (IFIP 9.4), Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC), the Hawaiian International Conference on Systems Science (HICSS), and the Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS). I have also published numerous peer reviewed book chapters and encyclopedia articles.

My research and teaching have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Oracle Help Us Help Foundation, and the Africana Research Center and Children, Youth and Family Consortium at the Pennsylvania State University.


Doctor of Philosophy (2002)

Computer Information Systems, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

Dissertation: Problematizing the Digital Divide: Cultural and Social Reproduction in a Community Technology Initiative

Academic Appointments

Board of Visitors

August 2013 - Present

School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

Industry Appointments

1998 - 2000

Product Life Cycle Manager

Avaya Communications, Business Communication Systems, Norcross, GA

  • Managed call center software products and services from project inception through retirement.
  • Developed business cases for new product and service offers.
  • Developed methods and procedures for business processes, and designed service contracts for customers.

1995 - 1998

Member of Technical Staff

Lucent Technologies, Network Engineering Systems, Atlanta, GA

  • Provided turnkey and custom call center software solutions for external clients.
  • Negotiated statements of work and pricing, gathered user requirements, developed and installed call center software.
  • Provided training for custom computer-telephony integrated solutions for major call centers including Prudential Insurance, CNN, Standard & Poors, and First USA.

1988 - 1995

Software Developer

AT & T, Network Services Division, White Plains, NY and Atlanta, GA

  • Designed, developed, and maintained computer information systems to support the planning and provisioning of telephony equipment used in the long distance network.
  • Participated on software development projects to support the industry shift from analog to digital telecommunications systems.