Board of Regents

Jay L. Cunningham

Portrait of Jay Cunningham

Jay Cunningham is a fifth-year Doctoral Candidate in Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington. He innovates on technology design through human-centered approaches in artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) systems, data science, and human-computer interaction. Hisresearch spans critical computing and technology practices, specifically focusing on advancing equitable experiences in automated speech recognition and natural language processing systems for Black/ African American English speakers.

A native of Artesia, Mississippi, Jay attended East Mississippi Community College as a dual enrollment high school student, earning an Associate of Arts in Computer Science. He then transitioned to The University of Alabama where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Civic Engagement and Leadership. There, he cultivated his leadership experiences and dedication to service through numerous campus involvements including: President of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Blackburn Institute Fellow, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and inaugural SGA Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Jay entered the University of Washington HCDE Ph.D Program in the Autumn of 2019 and subsequently earned his Master of Science degree in 2021. He’s a notable student leader, mentor, and researcher within HCDE and across the UW campus serving in various capacities and organizations over the nearly past 4 years including: HCDE – Diversity Committee Ph.D Rep, GSA, Student Resource Groups, Sustained Dialogue; UW – Black GSA, BSU, NSBE, AVELA. He’s been honored as a GSEE Graduate Minority Scholar, 2021 Husky 100, Black Opportunity Fund awardee, and 2023 Bonderman Travel Fellow. Jay’s work and scholarship has been recognized by prestigious programs such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the GEM Engineering Ph.D Fellowship, Gates Millennium Scholars Program, Google Award for Inclusive Research, and the SSRC Just Tech Fellowship.

Beyond campus, Jay’s actively involved in the Seattle community through the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle Young Professionals, ACLU-WA, Africa Town Community Land Trust, Black-DOT, Seattle Ballard Elks Lodge, SPS WHOLE Mentoring, Build the Bench WA, and Founder of Seattle Black Valley.

  • Appointed by Governor Jay Inslee from July 3, 2023 to June 30, 2024
  • Confirmed by the Senate on January 31, 2024