PI: D. Fox Harrell

PhD Candidate

MS in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, 2019

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Engineering, MIT, 2014

Danielle M. Olson is a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence at MIT. Her research focuses on novel applications of social science theories for story generation in interactive virtual reality (VR) experiences. She is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Ford Foundation Fellow, an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar, and a recipient of the Scholar Award given by the International Chapter of the P.E.O. Danielle earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT in 2014 and an Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2019. During her time as an undergraduate student, Danielle founded Gique Corporation, an educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) that exists to inspire & educate youth in STEAM. Following her graduation in 2014, Danielle worked as a Program Manager at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center for two years prior to returning to MIT as a graduate student. Most recently, she has worked as a 2020 summer Research Intern at Facebook Reality Labs conducting AR/VR user experience research.

Danielle is seeking a full-time industry research position related to human-computer interaction, extended reality (XR), or educational technology following her graduation.


  • D.M. Olson, D.F. Harrell. “I Don’t See Color”: Characterizing Players’ Racial Attitudes and Experiences via an Anti-Bias Simulation Videogame. In International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG ’20), Bugibba, Malta, Sept 15–18, 2020.
  • D.M. Olson, N. Soliman, A. Wang, M. Price, R. Sahu, D.F. Harrell. “Breakbeat Narratives: A Personalized, Conversational Interactive Storytelling System for Museum Education.” In Proceedings of CHI ’20: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’20 Extended Abstracts), Honolulu, HI, April 25-30, 2020.
  • D.M. Olson, D.F. Harrell. “Modeling Racial and Ethnic Socialization for Interactive Storytelling.” In Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Spring Symposium (AAAI 2019), Stanford University, Mar 25–27, 2019.
  • D.F. Harrell, D. Olson, D. Kao, A. Rodriguez, L. Carney, S. Veeragoudar. “Exploring the Use of Virtual Identities for Broadening Participation in Computer Science Learning.” In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (ILRN 2018), Missoula, MT, June 24-29, 2018.
  • L.H. Gilpin, C. Zaman, D. Olson, B.Z. Yuan. “Reasonable perception: Connecting vision and language systems for validating scene descriptions.” In HRI ’18 Companion: 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction Companion, Chicago, IL, Mar 5–8, 2018.
  • L.H. Gilpin, D. Olson, T. Alrashed. “Perception of Speaker Personality Traits Using Speech Signals.” In Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, p. LBW514. ACM, 2018.
  • D.F. Harrell, D. Kao, C. Lim, J. Lipshin, A. Sutherland, J. Makivic, D. Olson. “Authoring Conversational Narratives in Games with the Chimeria Platform.” In Proceedings of Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2014), Fort Lauderdale, FL, Apr 3-7, 2014. Designated Exemplary Paper.


  • International Chapter of the P.E.O. Scholar Award 2020 – 2021

  • MIT J-WEL Grant in pK-12 Education Innovation 2019 – 2021

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship 2018 – 2023

  • Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship 2018 – 2022

  • MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology, Residency Collaborator Spring 2018

  • MIT University Center for Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) Sloan Scholar 2016 – 2021

  • MIT Presidential Graduate Fellowship Program 2016 – 2017