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People  •  Art + Design  •  Assistant Professor

Alexandra To

Alexandra To is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University jointly appointed in the Art + Design (Games) department in the College of Art, Media, and Design and the Khoury College of Computer Science.

Alexandra is an HCI researcher, racial justice activist, and game designer. Her core research interests are in studying and designing social technologies that support the joy and empowerment of people of color and people in marginalizing contexts. She uses qualitative methods to gather counterstories and participatory methods to design for the future. She has designed award-winning transformational games, received multiple ACM Best Paper awards, and published at CHI, UIST, CSCW, CHI Play, ToDiGRA, and DIS.

Research/Publications Highlights

Bennett, C. L., Gleason, C., Scheuerman, M. K., Bigham, J. P., Guo, A., & To, A. (2021, May). “It’s Complicated”: Negotiating Accessibility and (Mis) Representation in Image Descriptions of Race, Gender, and Disability. In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-19).

Ogbonnaya-Ogburu, I. F., Smith, A. D., To, A., & Toyama, K. (2020, April). Critical Race Theory for HCI. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-16).

To, A., McDonald, J., Holmes, J., Kaufman, G., & Hammer, J. (2018). Character diversity in digital and non-digital games. Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association, 4(1).

To, A., Sweeney, W., Hammer, J., & Kaufman, G. (2020). ” They Just Don’t Get It”: Towards Social Technologies for Coping with Interpersonal Racism. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 4(CSCW1), 1-29.


Art + Design


  • Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University
  • M.S. in Symbolic Systems, Stanford University
  • B.S. with Honors in Symbolic Systems, Minor in Asian American Studies, Stanford University


  • ACM CHI Best Paper Award
  • ACM CHI Honourable Mention Award
  • ACM CSCW Best Paper Award
  • ACM CSCW Award for Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion
  • ACM UIST Best Paper Award

Research Focus

  • Game Design
  • critical race theory
  • Human Computer Interaction

Courses Taught

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Rapid Idea Prototyping for Games
  • Game Concept Development and Production
  • Mixed Research Methods for Games