Justice, Equity, Technology (JET) Lab

The Justice, Equitable, and Technology Laboratory is co-directed by Columbia School of Social Work faculty Desmond U. Patton and Courtney D. Courtney. Drs. Patton and Cogburn share a commitment to leveraging technology to map and address complex social ecologies and to inform the development of digital tools designed to broadly address social inequalities in health (mental, physical, communal). The laboratory will initially build on the innovative work of Drs. Patton and Cogburn that a) links artificial intelligence ( e.g. machine learning, chatbots) to understand and intervene upon root causes of community based violence b) explores the use of technological tools (e.g. virtual reality) as a tool for shaping empathy, behavior and structural competence in relation to multiple dimensions of racial inequality.

Tech Minor 

Columbia School of Social Work

Co-Chairs: Desmond U. Patton and Courtney D. Cogburn

The Emergent Technology, Media and Society (EMS) minor at Columbia School of Social Work seeks to train the 21st century social worker by providing courses, field placements and experiences as well as network development opportunities that (1) raise awareness of existing and emerging technology tools, (2) engage key stakeholders and institutions in the private, non-profit and public sectors involved in technology innovation, development and policy, (3) and provides a social, conceptual and technical fluency necessary to explore applications of artificial intelligence (e.g. machine learning, natural language processing) and other emergent technologies (e.g. virtual reality) to complex social issues. Students who participate in the minor will interrogate how social work practice intersects with advances in technology and our most pressing social problems (e.g. poverty, violence, racism, systemic bias, mental health, privacy, safety). Our goal is to create a paradigm shift in which the field of emergent technology and efforts to steward public interest meaningfully leverage the contributions, values and ethics of social work. We also aim to help social work students identify their roles and contributions to emergent technology development, application and other forms of engagement. The course will go beyond infusing ethics into technology, but rather to help ensure technology development and applications are firmly grounded in the principles of social justice, which includes integrating social work students into various technological domains.  


To successfully complete the minor, students will be required to take an Introduction to Emergent Technology, Media and Society (EMS) and Hacking for Social Impact 


Electives courses may include:

  • Statistical Thinking with Python Lab
  • Business and product development
  • UX/UI Design
  • The Public sector and technology
  • Theoretical, empirical and technological basics of XR
  • Storytelling classes w Lance W
  • Narratives + Medicine classes
  • Other Journalism classes
  • Civic Engagement through Media 
  • Narratives in Social Work
  • Potential SIPA courses


Field Placements

The co-chairs will work with the field placement office to develop field placement opportunities. Opportunities may include:

  • R-labs
  • Local NYC start-ups ( in partnership with R lab)
  • NYCx (Mayor’s office; public sector)
  • NYC Media Lab
  • Civic Hall
  • Games for Change
  • Emergent Technology Research Labs (e.g. SAFElab; Cogburn Research Group, Justice, Equity and Technology Lab).
  • Praekelt.org (if we can re-start this placement and only send Black women to it)
  • Black Public Media (media/tech intersection)
  • Firelight Media (media/justice, Harlem based)



Advisory Board

In Progress


Data Visualization funded by Oculus 


1001 Cut Journey 

Interested in working with the JET Lab?

Contact Chloe Martin at [email protected]