Allison Jerzak

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Allison Jerzak is currently a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she studies the history of music recommendation. In particular, she is interested in the digital infrastructure underlying these systems and the datasets used to train them.

Previously, Allison studied piano at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She maintains an interest in piano performance as a secondary area of focus, and has taken special interest in historical keyboards. She is currently a member of the UC Berkeley Baroque Ensemble, where she plays harpsichord and organ. She is also a regular participant in the Berkeley-Bucknell Chamber Music Collective, an annual music chamber festival that performs 18th and 19th century chamber repertoire on fortepianos.

Before coming to Berkeley, Allison detoured into the technology sector — first at Epic Systems (the Amazon of healthcare IT), where she implemented electronic medical record systems in hospitals around the country, and then at the Willy Street Co-op, a large grocery co-op based in Madison, WI, where she worked in data analytics and IT. Those experiences sparked her interest in studying sociotechnical systems — the dynamics between technology, its creators, and the contingent economic, social, and intellectual conditions under which these technologies were developed.