Payal Arora is an assistant professor in the Department of Media and Communication in the Faculty of History, Culture and Communication of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She earned her doctorate in Language, Literacy and Technology from Columbia University Teachers College in New York, a master’s degree in International Policy from Harvard University, and a teaching certificate from the University of Cambridge.?Her expertise is in social learning, informatics, cyber-cultures, new media, and international development. For WWGC, she will develop research expertise in both the private and public sectors. She has worked on numerous award-winning, grant-funded projects focusing on issues ranging from speech-recognition literacy software for Hispanic immigrant youth in New York (sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation) to karaoke edutainment television content in rural India (funded by the World Bank Development Marketplace and Hewlett Packard) to the impact of technologically mediated arts experiences on mental health post-9/11 (funded by the National Health Foundation).
Her work has been published in several ISI- and SSCI-ranked scholarly journals, including Current Sociology, International Journal of Cultural Studies, British Journal of Educational Technology, Information Society, and Information Communication and Society. Her paper on the digitalization of medical information in rural India was awarded the 2010 Best Paper Award in Social Informatics by the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Her first book, Dot Com Mantra: Social Computing in the Central Himalayas (Ashgate, 2010) explores how users in the remote Himalayas have learned to use computers and the Internet. Her second and forthcoming book, Virtual and Real Leisure Spaces: A Comparative and Cross-Cultural Analysis (Routledge) draws a comprehensive and transnational picture of contemporary leisure spaces through a sociological, historical, and transnational lens. WWGC congratulates Dr. Payal on her award of the EUR fellowship grant for 2012–2014.