Deb Donig, PhD

DEB DONIG is an Assistant Professor of English Literature at Cal Poly and a Lecturer UC Berkeley’s School of Information in the MA in Data Science Program. She is the co-founder of the Cal Poly Ethical Technology Initiative and the host of “Technically Human,” a podcast where she talks with major thinkers, writers, and industry-leading technologists about the relationship between humans and the technologies we create. She is the interim co-Director for the Center for Expressive Technologies and a Fellow at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She has taught and published on a wide variety of areas, including ethical technology, comparative genocide studies, science fiction, African and Caribbean literatures, and The New Yorker.

Outside of academia, she consults on film and television projects, including the forthcoming anthology series “Weight of the World,” and the Amazon Prime Series Hunters, produced by Jordan Peele and starring Al Pacino. In 2020, she was featured as an expert in the documentary “Hunters: Behind the Scenes,” where she discussed the role of fiction in and the ethics of representing the Holocaust.

In 2020, Professor Donig served on the Biden/Harris Policy Strategy Team in Higher Education. As a policy expert, she drafted policy memos for and advised the campaign’s First 100 Day priority strategy for the Administration.

Learn more about the Ethical Technology Initiative @ Cal Poly

Subscribe to the Technically Human Podcast on iTunes


Two CLA Professors Receive National Science Foundation Grant to Assess the Profession of Ethical Technology

Before It Happened Podcast: Ethics and Human Rights in Tech with Deb Donig

The Rise of Tech Ethics

Jewish History Matters: Ethical Technology and the Holocaust with Deb Donig

Tech Stands Up: Deb Donig on Defining “The Good”, Building Diverse Teams, SciFi and Utopia

2021 Thought Leaders: English Professor Deb Donig

Creating a Vision for Ethical Technology

Spotlight: Cal Poly’s Ethical Technology Initiative

Cal Poly Coalition Aims to Make the University a National Leader in Research, Training in Ethical Technology

English Professor Consulted On New Amazon Prime Series “Hunters” Starring Al Pacino

10 Best UCLA Professors Who Ooze Passion in Everything They Do

Select Publications:

The Technology of Interpretation: New Approaches to the New Criticism,” in Textual Practice (2020).

Seeing Double in Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People: Local Toxins, Global Toxicity and the Universal Bhopal,” in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing (2017).

John Ashbery Changed My Life,” in Electric Literature (2017).

Fictions of Eichmann: The Authentic Self, Authenticity, and the Facts of Atrocity,” in Textual Practice (2017).


  • 10+ years experience in research and qualitative and quantitative analysis across industries spanning start-ups, non-profits, and academia.
  • Background in driving new projects in a career that spans start-up innovation, organizational management, and empowering global business leaders.
  • Passionate and innovative technologist and humanist interested in humane design.
  • Exceptional ability to present complex ideas and systems, define and launch new processes, build relationships, and mediate between technical and non-technical stakeholders to achieve project goals.

Professional Experience
Data Analytics Fellow and Lecturer
(June 2010-June 2018)

  • Named as one of College Magazine’s“Top 10 Professors at UCLA” and recognized for research and teaching excellence.
  • Received a $10,000 grant to lead a team of researchers, students, and faculty to work collaboratively on a digital humanities program.
  • Published articles in peer-reviewed journals on topics related to literature, law, and globalization
  • Taught quarterly courses of ~40 undergraduate students on topics related to international law, technology and human rights, and digital analysis.
  • Raised $15,000 to bring in distinguished speakers, managing budget, and planning and organizing speaking events and conferences.

Instructor, PhD Candidate and Researcher
(September 2010-July 2017)

  • Completed a dissertation that converged networks of globalization and human rights.
  • Served on Digital Humanities Advisory Board, Postcolonial Colloquium Committee; and Undergraduate Curriculum Advisory Committee. Received a Melon Grant, Curriculum and Public Relations Development.

Consultant, AlmaLinks: Global Network of Outstanding Young CEOs and Executives
(January 2014-December 2016)

  • Collaborated with industry leaders, CEO, and Advisory Board to develop global strategy and to identify key investors and stakeholders.
  • Wrote and edited publicity material, reports, and speaking points that articulated and defined organizational vision and goals.
  • Worked with local and global leaders to develop collaborative networks across leaders and industries.

Masters Candidate and Instructor
UMass Amherst
(August 2008-June 2010)

  • Won a research fellowship to complete a Master’s thesis on public memory and urban space in Berlin.
  • Designed and taught literature courses and composition courses for the English Department and Writing Program.

Chief Editor and Content Officer, BoredAt, Inc.
(June 2007-June 2008)

  • Worked with the CEO and CTO to develop content for social media start-up platform and to strategize platform development, venture capital, and publicity.
  • Cultivated and organized a strategy for developing user networks and communities

Director of Education and Community Relations
New England Holocaust Memorial
(October 2005-June 2007)

  • Worked with the American Association of Holocaust Survivors and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston to develop organizational strength and community relations
  • Spearheaded the development of a teaching curricula for Holocaust studies
  • Developed government and international diplomatic relations
  • Raised funds and cultivate donors, and planned programs on behalf of the foundation.


Background: Research, Project design and administration; Staff Management; Public relations; Grant writing; Community building and management; Relationship development and team building; Negotiation; Data analytics; Writing; Editing; Social impact; Fundraising; Public speaking

Proficiencies:Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access); Tableau; Microsoft Outlook

Research Experience:Legal Research; Open-source project management and development; Quantitative Analysis; Geographical Analysis; Archival Research; Investigative Journalism

PhD, 2017
Literature, Law, and Human Rights

UMass, Amherst
MA, 2010
English Literature

UC Davis
BA 2005
Magna Cum Laude

LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/deb-donig-0128b94/

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