Extended Biography

Dwayne Christian Brown, Jr., also known as "Chris", received his high school diploma from Rock Hill High School in Rock Hill, SC. Afterwards, he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Duke University in 2013. As an undergraduate, he gained research experiences studying applications for robotics in society at Brown University with Dr. Chad Jenkins and integrating computer science into K-12 education under the supervision of Dr. Susan Rodger. At Duke, Chris graduated with Distinction after completing his honors thesis, "Integrating Computer Science Into Middle School Mathematics". Upon the completion of his undergraduate degree, Chris spent two years as a Python developer working for Bank of America in Charlotte, NC.

Motivated by his previous research experiences, Chris decided to return to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science at North Carolina State University in 2015. He began his graduate studies working with Dr. Emerson Murphy-Hill, under whom he earned his M.S. in Computer Science with his thesis "Receptive Users and Time-Insensitive Recommendations Improve Tool Discovery" in 2017. During his time at NC State, Chris gained further industry experience through internships at Blackbaud (2016) and Red Hat (2017, 2018). He also served as a TA for undergraduate software engineering (CSC326), Java programming concepts (CSC216), and C and Software Tools (CSC230) courses and was the instructor of record for the introductory Java programming course (CSC116) in Summer 2020.

Chris' doctoral research, under the advisement of Dr. Chris Parnin, introduced developer recommendation choice architectures. This conceptual framework incorporated concepts from behavioral science, specifically nudge theory, into the design of bots and automated recommendations to improve the behavior of software engineers while developing and maintaining software. He defended his dissertation, entitled "Digital Nudges for Encouraging Developer Behaviors", in Spring 2021.

After completing the requirements for the doctoral degree at NC State, Chris joined the faculty in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech as a tenure track Assistant Professor. As a teacher, he aims to create diverse and inclusive learning environments that integrate active learning, real-world examples, and research into the classroom to prepare students for computing careers. As a researcher, Chris leads the Code World, No Blanket software engineering research group at VT. Their research interests involve empirically characterizing software engineering problems, applying interdisciplinary concepts, and developing tools and techniques to improve the behavior, productivity, and decision-making of software engineers. Chris currently resides in Blacksburg, VA with his amazing wife Bethany and their twins, Luther and Ruth.

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