Students Chat Careers with Ivan Stone Lecturer
2023 Ivan Stone Lecturer Dr. Joseph B. Keller met with students over lunch and breakfast to discuss career paths at the intersection of digital technologies and public policy.
How, as a computer scientist, do you end up advising the White House on the ethical use of artificial intelligence? Or how would you go from majoring in International Relations to writing policy papers on foreign interference and digital authoritarianism? In a series of intimate conversations over nourishing meals, Dr. Joseph B. Keller shared with students what it means to work at a think tank or do research for a living—and how to prepare for work in those fields right now as Beloit College students.
Dr. Keller was Beloit College’s annual Ivan Stone Lecturer in 2023. In addition to delivering a keynote on “Truth & Technology: Centering Humanity in an Evolving Digital Landscape” to a packed auditorium on November 2, he visited classes and met with students in more conversational forums during his two-day residency. Over lunch on November 2, he engaged students who want to work in rights, justice, and policy. Then, over breakfast on November 3, students who are majoring in computer science or cognitive science talked with Dr. Keller about the range of careers available related to artificial intelligence—including the ethics of AI and developing policy on the global governance of AI.
The broad and holistic education of a liberal arts degree especially suits anyone interested in working at this intersection of the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities. Dr. Keller’s own career path is exciting. After getting a PhD in cognitive science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he became a governmental advisor for the American Psychological Association and is now a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, affiliated with the Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology and the Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative. As a foreign policy expert, his writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, Nature, The Washington Post, and other platforms.
Students asked Dr. Keller about the ecosystem of research and policy in Washington, D.C., where the Brookings Institution is located. He advised them on the importance of developing clear writing and communication skills and being able to think about the big picture in addition to the granular details.
Dr. Keller’s visit was part of a yearlong slate of programming around the theme of “Misinformation and Media Literacy in a Digital Age.” The slate kicked off earlier this semester with a visit from game designer Ashlyn Sparrow, this year’s Ousley Scholar in Residence. In the upcoming spring semester, the Weissberg Chair will be Dr. Joan Donovan, a leading scholar of misinformation. The programming is organized by Weissberg Program co-directors Gloria Bradley and Josh Moore and faculty leader Michael Dango. The career readiness events were sponsored by the Rights & Justice Career Channel and the Worldbuilding Career Channel.