Dr. Zoë Wood

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Dr. Zoë Wood

Whether it is creating computer graphics models of underwater shipwrecks or using art and creativity to help students learn computational thinking, Professor Zoë Wood's projects unite visual arts, mathematics and computer science. She is a recipient of the National Science Foundation funded research project where she works with colleagues and students on robotics and computer graphics algorithms for shipwreck discovery and mapping which resulted in the discovery of a rare World War II airplane wreck.  As a two time co-Principle Investigator on National Science Foundation (NSF) International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) grants, her work takes California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) students abroad to engage in research and field activities. This has led to numerous peer reviewed publications with student co-authors. Dr. Wood received the 2014-2015 College of Engineering Outstanding Club Advisor Award, the 2018 Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award and the 2018 Distinguished Scholar Award.

As co-founder of the interdisciplinary minor, Computing for the Interactive Arts, which is a union between Computer Science and Art and Design, she believes in empowering students to realize their artistic visions via coding. She has supervised more than 100 undergraduate senior projects and 40 master's thesis, many of which resulted in peer reviewed publications co-authored with students. Her courses involve independent projects of the student's choosing, allowing them to express themselves and explore, apply, and master course material in personally meaningful ways. Dr. Wood has designed creative computing curriculum ranging from 5th grade, high school computational art, introductory college courses as well as designing and teaching a graduate-level computer graphics course which allows students to incubate and explore initial research projects which often lead to master's thesis and publications. Recent NSF funded research to design curriculum for middle school students lead to the development of Fakesbook, a simple social media platform that allows lab participants to visualize their social network connections and see how their profile data can be viewed by larger and larger contingents on their network.  

Dr. Wood works to increase the number of underrepresented students in her field through research projects, outreach activities and advising the student organization, Women Involved in Software and Hardware (WISH).  As the founding advisor of WISH, which recently celebrated its 10th year, Dr. Wood has directed and lead large groups, 30-80, female computing students to the Grace Hopper conference seven times.  Students have cited attending this conference as one the most important events of their academic career. In 2016, Dr. Wood was the co-General Chair for ACM-W CWIC, a celebration for women in computing in Southern California and she served as the director for the NCWIT Central California Aspirations in Computing Award, which recognizes female high school students for their aspirations in computing, for six years.  Dr. Wood's commitment to computer science education is also evidenced by: participation in two Google funded CS4HS training sessions to teach high school teachers about computer science; designing an entire year long high school curriculum, which is in its fourth year of being taught at a local high school; designing a year long 5th grade CS curriculum, in its fifth year of being taught, exposing hundreds of 5th graders to computer science; her teaching at EPIC summer camps for 5 years; and the inclusion of her creative curriculum in a nationwide curricular repository, CSEngage, with her work recently being recognized with an `Engagement Excellence' award; and she has also twice served as the director of a middle school summer camp to teach young women about coding.  Dr. Wood's scholarship is focused on not only advancing research within her field, but sharing the excitement and importance of computational skills with a diverse student body.


Research: http://users.csc.calpoly.edu/~zwood/research/research.html

International Computing work: http://users.csc.calpoly.edu/~zwood/icex_home.html

Outreach: http://users.csc.calpoly.edu/~zwood/Outreach/

"Computing for the Interactive Arts" minor: http://users.csc.calpoly.edu/~zwood/teaching/CIA.html