Crystal Lee (she/她)

frequently asked

For students

Graduate school

If you are a prospective graduate student, I have a longer FAQ about the HASTS graduate program here. I also wrote about what doing my PhD was like on a semester-by-semester basis. For reflections on the academic (and non-academic) job market, see this post.

Letters of recommendation

I am happy to write you a letter of recommendation provided that (1) I know that my letter can strengthen your application and (2) you have taken at least one class or completed a one semester UROP with me. If I cannot write you a strong letter, please be assured that I will tell you up front and suggest a different letter writer. Feel free to email me first to inquire whether or not I would write a letter for you before you spend time filling out my form.

To request a letter of recommendation, please email me and complete this form and I will try to email you within 48 hours to let you know if I can write the letter and to ask some follow-up questions. If you are applying to graduate programs or competitive fellowships, feel free to book a time during my office hours so that we can speak about your goals and how I might help (which will also give me better context and help me write a better letter). If you have not heard from me after a week, please write a follow-up email so that your email gets bumped in my inbox.

I generally ask for 3 weeks of advance notice before a letter is due. If a deadline is closer than that, I understand -- please still email me and I'll let you know if I can complete it before the deadline (you'll still need to fill out the form). If you need multiple letters, please submit the form multiple times for each letter -- you only have to fill out the main categories once (e.g., class / research experiences) but please submit a separate form for each letter so I can go through the Google Sheet line by line. If I have written a recommendation for you before, I can likely submit one in a week or so provided that there are no major changes I need to make to the letter.

If any of the questions don't apply, please skip them! The more details you can give me about your specific circumstances, experiences, etc. the better -- don't stress about the wordsmithing here (bullets are fine); the point is to give me stuff to work with while I write the letter.

Huge thanks to Matt Cover for this form template and instructions!

Qualifying exams

I will advise at most one exam session per semester; this can (and often should) mean 2 students in 1 session, which creates more focused opportunities for discussion. I can advise exams in the following fields: disability studies and technology, data visualization, HCI, the history of computing, and the HASTS Common List. Please use these sample lists (see blog index) as the foundation of your exam preparation.

I will not require you to write reading responses unless you want to -- I have found that these responses are actually immensively helpful and have continued to serve me well over the years. (I did reading responses for one of my lists and not the other two -- I wish I had done them for all three!) However, I know that the exam process is stressful and this may not work best for you. Let me know what suits your learning style -- I am here to help you succeed, not assign you busy work.

Dissertation committees

I am happy to advise on internal and external dissertation committees in STS, history and anthropology of science, and HCI. Please fill out this form first so I can keep track of requests. If you have not heard back from me in a week, please give me a nudge via email.

Research mentorship

I currently do not have bandwidth to advise UROPs, MEng students, PhD students, or postdocs.


I am currently open for speaking engagements in the 2023–24 school year, academic and otherwise. Regardless of format or venue, I will not speak on panels or conferences that are all men or all white. Particularly if it is a panel related to disability, I will not participate on panels that do not feature disabled speakers.

Peer review

Most years, I will review ~10 papers per year (and will say no after I reach this quota). In the past, I have reviewed for CHI, FAccT, VIS, NeurIPS, Public Culture, and First Monday. I will generally only review papers related to disability, computing, and HCI.