Yolanda Rankin profile picture CCI FSU Tallahassee FL

Yolanda Rankin

Assistant Professor

(850) 645-1507
LSB 267

Dr. Yolanda A. Rankin joins the faculty as an assistant professor in The Florida State University School of Information in Fall 2017. Her research interests include designing, developing and evaluating video games to promote learning across various domains, engaging underserved populations in the participatory design of information-based technologies, and developing effective learning environments to promote Computer Science education for K-18 student populations. Dr. Rankin is the proud recipient of the prestigious 2016 – 2017 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellowship in support of her research involving the design of intelligent computer game characters that facilitate novice Spanish speakers’ conversational proficiency. She recently co-edited and published her second book Moving Students of Color from Being Consumers to Being Producers of Technology.


Dr. Rankin accumulated more than twelve years of industry experience before choosing to pursue a career in academia. She developed software tools that enable geographically distributed employees to work together to provide customers quality IT services as a result of her tenure at IBM Research Lab- Almaden. Dr. Rankin also worked as a senior program manager developing optical subsystems at Luxcore Networks, and as a software engineer developing and deploying wireless applications and features while at Lucent Technologies Bell Labs. Her industry experience enables her to integrate industry practices in the classroom setting.


  • Northwestern University, Evanston, IL - Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science 2008
  • Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ  - Master’s Certification in Project Management 1999
  • Kent State University, Kent, OH  - Master of Arts in Computer Science 1994
  • Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS - Bachelor of Science in Mathematics 1992

Research Interests

Human Computer Interaction, Games for Second Language Acquisition, Broadening Participation in Computing

Publications & Research

  • Thomas, J. O., Rankin, Y. A., Minor, R. & Li, Sun (2017) Exploring the Difficulties African-American Middle School Girls Face Enacting Computational Algorithmic Thinking Over Three Years While Designing Games for Social Change. Journal of Computer Supported Cooperative Work Volume 26 Issue 4-6, December 2017, pp. 389-421.
  • Rankin, Y. A. & Thomas, J. O. (Eds.)(2017). Moving Students of Color from Consumers to Producers of Technology. IGI Global Publishers Hershey, PA. (book)
  • Rankin, Y. A. & Thomas, J. O. (2017). Leveraging Food as the Context for Developing Computational Algorithmic Thinking in an Entry Level College Course. In Y. A. Rankin & J. O. Thomas (Eds.) Moving Students of Color from Consumers to Producers of Technology. IGI Global Publishers Hershey, PA. (book chapter)
  • Rankin, Y.A. (2016). Diversity by Design: Designing Inclusive Language Learning Video Games. In Conference Proceedings for ACM SIGCHI 2016, San Jose, CA May 7 – 12, 2016. Acceptance rate of 23%.
  • Rankin, Y., Irish, I., Thomas, J. O. & Hawkins, S. (2014).  From Consumers to Producers: African-American Middle School Students as Game Designers. In T. Barnes & I. Bogost (Eds.) Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, April 3-7, 2014

Grants & Awards

  • 2017 NSF EAGER Grant Computer-Based Social Interactions to Facilitate Language Learning
  • 2016 Woodrow Wilson Fellow
  • 2005 - 2008 NSF Graduate Research Fellow
  • 2004 - 2008 NSF Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate Fellow