Danica Pawlick Potts: Tackling AI through LIS

By Nichola Emanuelli

Danica's Hometown: Calgray, Alberta

Danica Pawlick Potts hopes that one day the research she’s conducting as a PhD candidate at Western University helps shape policy decisions governing artificial intelligence.


Danica Pawlick Potts is a first-year PhD candidate in Library and Information Science at Western. She has always had a passion for learning and for being in a classroom environment. Danica envisioned herself getting a PhD from early on in her childhood, a dream she is now living out.

Danica first came to Western to pursue a master’s degree in the same field. For her co-op placement, she worked briefly teaching information literacy at the University of Guelph. She loved working as a practicing librarian but her passion for research, ultimately, meant she just couldn’t keep away from the classroom. The allure of the LIS PhD program won out and Danica found herself back at Western in 2018.

Danica has been delighted with her decision, in particular appreciating the small class sizes in the doctoral program. The intimate setting has allowed her to learn and discuss a wide range of interests and research topics with her colleagues. Western’s interdisciplinary approach to academics – and being able to take additional courses outside of the faculty – gave her the rounded education and experience she needed to develop a stronger vision for her PhD research.

"I love to read... my favourite book is called House of Leaves which is - like - the trippiest book you'll ever read."
A lover of both the written word and science, Danica chooses to focus her research on artificial intelligence. She is interested in examining people’s perception of and relationship with AI. When looking for a PhD program that fit her needs, Danica says that Western’s researchers within the burgeoning field made the school stand out above all competition and was excited to be able to continue working with Dr. Alissa Centivany. Her experience as a research assistant under Western’s Professor Jacquie Burkell has allowed her to conduct meaningful work in her chosen field and is, correspondingly, a great source of pride.

Fun Fact

Danica loves to fence.

Away from the classroom, Danica loves being active as a way to decompress after a busy week. She grew up playing a variety of sports: basketball, soccer volleyball and field hockey. But it was during her undergraduate degree that she found her new sporting love: fencing. She believes that fencing is a great way to hone her mental agility outside of class.

Danica is keeping her options for the future open. She’d love to work as a university professor, but also acknowledges that her research could lead her to working in policy development governing artificial intelligence.


Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.