Me at work

Wells Lucas Santo

ephemera [at] umich [dot] edu


Bullet Points - Short Bio - Medium Bio

  • PhD student at UMSI
  • Researcher, educator, and activist on societal implications of AI/ML
  • Fighting for transformative, racial justice & equity for historically oppressed communities
  • Advisory Board Member: AI4K12
  • Conferences to find me: FAccT, CSCW, AoIR
  • Previous Affiliations: Kapor Center, AI4ALL, Cogitai, and NYU
  • Personal interests: Anime, boba & US boba history, hip-hop, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and poetry
  • Indonesian & Taiwanese American; non-binary; pan/bi/demi; he/she/they

Wells Lucas Santo (he/she/they) is a PhD student at the University of Michigan School of Information, returning to academia after five years in the non-profit education and equity space where he developed inclusive, accessible, and culturally relevant curricula on artificial intelligence (AI) and social justice for underrepresented high school students.

He has worked as the National Director of Education at SMASH, was the original Education Manager at AI4ALL, and serves as an Advisory Board Member of the AI4K12 initiative. In these capacities, he has spoken about the societal implications of AI at venues such as the United Nations Youth Assembly, the Annual oSTEM Conference, and top universities such as Columbia, NYU, and CMU.

His current research focuses on the disparate impact that algorithmic technologies have on marginalized communities, centering race, gender, sexuality, and power, using frameworks like critical race theory, intersectional feminism, and transformative justice.

[This bio is currently outdated; I am preparing a new one that reflects my current status as a PhD Student at the University of Michigan.]

Hello there! My name is Wells Lucas Santo (pronouns: he/him/his or she/her/hers). I am an interdisciplinary educator, researcher, and activist on the societal implications of technology and artificial intelligence (AI). I am currently the National Director of Curriculum and Training at SMASH, an educational non-profit that supports thousands of underrepresented scholars in STEM through high school, college, and the workplace.

Previously, I was the first AI Education Manager at AI4ALL, where I developed an inclusive, accessible, and culturally responsive AI curriculum for high school girls of color, with ethics and social justice at its foundations. This drew off of my industry experience working with Deep Reinforcement Learning researchers at Cogitai, my participation in the ACM FAccT community since 2016, and my Master's studies in AI and Science, Technology, and Society at NYU. I have taught in the classroom for 8 years, supporting hundreds of underrepresented students from middle school through graduate school across the nation. Today, I continue to strive to create equitable, inclusive, and joyful classroom environments focused on co-generative pedagogy, centering the lived experiences of my students.

I have spoken at venues such as the United Nations Youth Assembly, the SAFE Lab at Columbia University, and the Annual oSTEM Conference on topics such as AI bias and justice, the disparate impact that technology has on marginalized communities, and technology's role in amplifying systems of oppression. I also care deeply about abolition, transformative justice, critical race and digital studies, US boba history, anime, housing as a human right, and how I can better support my fellow QTPOC community as a queer, non-binary first-generation Southeast Asian American.