The School of Information Studies is proud to announce that Associate Professor Jaime Banks has been selected as this year’s Katchmar-Wilhelm Endowed Professor.

The professorship lasts for a three-year period and is designed to support an associate professor in achieving their career goals, enhancing their own and the school’s reputation, and ultimately achieving promotion to full professor. 

The position was established in 2016 and made possible from a portion of the bequest of Mrs. Estelle Wilhelm ‘38 ‘39 that the iSchool received in 2013.

“I’m so appreciative for this recognition, and I’m excited about the work I’ll be pursuing in the next three years, especially as generative AI and robotics stand to reconfigure how we work, live, socialize, and play,” Banks said. 

During the professorship, Banks will be researching human experiences of social AI. She’ll focus on people’s interactions with AI companions, including the risks and benefits. She will also focus on cognitive biases in human-robot interaction, especially those that create trust and fear, and how representations of AI and robots in popular media play a role in people’s understanding of those complex technologies. 

“In reading about Estelle Wilhelm, the iSchool alum who established the supporting endowment, I learned she was a children’s librarian and a military-base librarian,” Banks added. “I grew up in a military family. The base and local libraries were important places for our family—to learn, to connect, and to access the early internet that made our world so much bigger. The work of librarians (like Estelle and other iSchool graduates) touches the lives of so many people, and I don’t think I’d be doing the work I am today without their influence.”