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Kathryn Hymes

DPhil Student

Kathryn Hymes

DPhil Student

Profile Contents


Kathryn Hymes is a technologist, computational linguist, and game designer. She studies how to build digital spaces for healthier communication and how play can contribute to a better, more humane life both online and offline.

Previously, she worked in leadership positions at multiple technology firms focused on communication, community, and the future of work, most recently as the head of international product expansion at Slack and an advisor at Airtable. She is a game designer and co-founder at Thorny Games (, a design studio focused on language and storytelling. She is an affiliate and past fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center on Internet and Society. Her writing on language and technology has appeared in the Atlantic, Wired, and the New York Times.

Hymes has extensive experience in international research and product development, including past work at Baidu in Beijing, as a Fulbright fellow in math in Budapest, and at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin, Switzerland. She has helped lead technology-focused field research in Japan, Indonesia, India, Brazil, Hungary, and the Netherlands.

Hymes holds an MS in computational and mathematical engineering from Stanford, an MA in linguistics from Stanford, and a BS in math from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Outside of work, Kathryn plays the fiddle, the piano, and the bones.

Research Interests

Games Research, Conversation Design, Application to Humanitarian Technology and Computational Linguistics.

Positions at the OII

  • DPhil Student, September 2023 -