- Teaching Associate Professor, Director of DNID
Jessica's Affiliations: August Wilson House, CEC Hill District, Center for African Studies, Center for Latin American Studies, Digital Media Lab, First Year Programs, Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies, Homewood CEC, Homewood Children's Village, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, Open Lab, Provost Academy Courses, Remake Learning, SCI, STEM Coding Lab, Vibrant Media Lab.
Jessica FitzPatrick earned her doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh. She conducts research at the confluence of postcolonial theory, speculative fiction studies, spatial studies, and new media creation. FitzPatrick’s recent research articulated the idea of thirdspace-wielding “Twenty-First Century Afrofuturist Aliens” in Extrapolation and worked towards “Restoring the ‘Lived space of the body’” to critical making in the electronic book review. Her current projects include the book project, Hacking the Future: the Space and Place of Earth in Postcolonial Science Fiction, and digital and public humanities ventures like the Secret Pittsburgh Digital Guidebook, which exhibits student-generated explorations of Pittsburgh sites and stories. She regularly teaches courses like Narrative and Technology, Digital Narrative and Interactive Design, Secret Pittsburgh, Global Fictions, and Science Fiction. Her pedagogy is rooted in the practice of codesign with community and campus partners.
As the Director of the Digital Narrative and Interactive Design (DNID) program, FitzPatrick works with DNID students, faculty, and advisors across the School of Computing and Information and the English Department in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. She regularly mentors DNID students as they design and implement projects that unite narrative with code and worldbuilding with interactive interface. Alongside DNID alumni Lynn Priestley, FitzPatrick co-founded and executive produced the Welcomed by Design podcast, which features conversations with authors, researchers, designers, advocates, and practitioners making the future of design more accessible and inclusive. She regularly helps organize the Games 4 Social Impact Jam at Pitt.
FitzPatrick also directs the English Department’s Digital Media Lab (DML), which supports educational programming and creative pedagogy about digital media. Through the DML, she organizes workshops, connects Pitt campus and Pittsburgh communities of learners with digital media equipment, and runs an annual Digital Media & Design Showcase featuring undergraduate and graduate digital and critical making projects.
Postcolonial theory, speculative fiction studies, spatial studies, and new media creation