About Jess

Jess Rauchberg is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in the Department of Communication Studies and Media Arts at McMaster University, with an anticipated June 2023 dissertation completion date. 


Writing at the interstices of cultural studies, human-computer interaction, philosophy of communication, and crip theory, Jess pursues a research program investigating disability and social media user experiences. Her dissertation project, "Crip data studies," positions ableism as an ideology encoded into platform infrastructure and governing technology used alongside other networks of oppression, such as racism, colonialism, and classism. Jess's project amplifies the various reconfigurations disabled creators and social media users rely on for economic support, community building, and general platform use. The project specializes in cultural critique, critical qualitative, and participatory methodologies. 

Jess's project asks: who gets to be human online? How do disabled social media users intimately reconfigure their experiences on ableist and racist platforms? 

Jess is a core member of the Pulse Lab ABLE project. As a project manager for ABLE, Jess works alongside PI Dr. Paula Gardner and interdisciplinary design, research, and beneficiary teams to coordinate the development of an open-access gaming platform for older adults with dementia and their care networks. In this role, she supports gameplay (supporting interface design and writing user-experience flows), writing (conference proceedings, technical writing, grant writing), and community outreach. Jess previously worked on ABLE as a research assistant in user-centered design (2019-21). 

Jess is also a member of the initial trainee cohort of the NSERC-CREATE funded Smart Mobility in Aging Populations (sMAP) fellowship. In 20201, she was a Graduate Resident with the Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, where she conducted a critical qualitative project on Instagram platform moderation and disabled creators' organizational strategies. She is currently a graduate affiliate with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Jess's present and forthcoming publications appear in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, Feminist Media Studies, Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, and Studies in Social Justice, among other venues. In addition, Jess has received multiple top paper awards from the National Communication Association and the Western States Communication Association. She is also a student/early career representative for the International Communication Association's Inclusion, Diversity, Ethics, and Access (IDEA) Executive Committee. She was previously a selected member of NCA'S Mental Health and Communication Executive Task Force. 

Jess graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University's Carter School (2017). She received her Master of Arts in Communication from the University of South Florida (2019), focusing on critical media studies, performance studies, and qualitative inquiry. 

To read Jess's public CV, click here