Nichole Pinkard

Nichole Denise Pinkard

Associate Professor, Learning Sciences


 Nichole Pinkard is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and Faculty Director of the Office Community Education Partnerships. She is the founder of Digital Youth Network and L3, a social learning platform that connects youth’s learning opportunities across the school, home, community, and beyond.


Through collaborations with city agencies (e.g. YOUmedia with the Chicago Public Library, and City of Learning with Mayor Rahm Emmanuel), Dr. Pinkard and DYN’s work has ignited new models for reimagining, visualizing, and documenting learning across spaces through the creation of existence proofs in urban contexts.


Dr. Pinkard is the recipient of a 2010 Common Sense Media Award for Outstanding Commitment to Creativity and Youth, the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies, an NSF Early CAREER Fellowship. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, an M.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University.


Her current scholarly interests include the design and use of pedagogical-based social networks and socio-technical systems to support community-level ecological models of learning.

Hear Dr. Pinkard, in her own words, describe the focus of her research over the past 15 years.  There is still much work to do as this video captured 8 years ago is as true today as then!

Nichole Pinkard from New Learning Institute on Vimeo.




Year Degree Institution
1998 PhD, Learning Sciences Northwestern University


Year Title  
1998 Leveraging Background Knowledge: Using Popular Music to Build Beginning Readers' Reading Skills


Year Title Source Period Amount Status
2018 SCC: I4all (interests for all): A smart socio-technical infrastructure to identify, cultivate, and sustain youth STEAM interests in a diverse midsized American city National Science Foundation 2018 - 2021 $2,500,000 Funded
PI: Pinkard, Nichole   Stevens, Reed   

2018 Broadening Participation in Computer Science Through Programming and the Arts Across Learning Spaces National Science Foundation 2018 - 2021 $999,865 Funded
PI: Pinkard, Nichole   Horn, Michael   

2018 Equitable Computer Science for All Learning Ecosystems: Developing Underserved Students' Computational Making Literacies Through Community-Embedded Out of School Time Programming National Science Foundation 2018 - 2019 $300,000 Funded
PI: Pinkard, Nichole   Vossoughi, Shirin   

2015 Engaging Middle School Girls in Computational Electronic Design National Science Foundation 2015 - 2018 $1,365,379 Funded
PI: Pinkard, Nichole    Sheena Erate

Lab Affiliations

L3 Lab

Last Updated: 2018-11-12 07:29:04