Fallon Wilson
Guest Author

Wilson Fallon, PhD

Co-Founder – #BlackTechFutures Research Institute

Through her work with non-profits, academia, and government partnerships, Dr. Fallon S. Wilson strives to make visible the work of historic and modern-day Black crises solvers. She invests her time into strengthening the tech ecosystem nationwide, especially as it relates both to Black women technologists and also underrepresented persons of color who may not have access to the ever-changing arena of technology. Her TEDx–Nashville presentation of Stop Ignoring Black Women and Hear of Our Tech Prophecies eloquently addresses the intersection of historical reality for Black women, spirituality, and technology. Her work aims to end the great technical divide that exists between the races, while also seeking to put an end to misconceptions about the abilities and skills of Black people that allow the perpetuation of said divide. Dr. Wilson acts with a strong lens of equity and tech inclusion within tech ecosystems for positive workforce outcomes.

As the Lead Principal Investigator for #BlackTechFutures Research Institute, which she co-founded with Melissa Brown-Sims, M.A., Dr. Wilson engages in community action that creates change in her community and across the US. Currently. The Institute’s work, funded in part by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s 2020 Open Knowledge grant, builds a national network of city-based researchers and practitioners conducting research on sustainable local Black tech ecosystems, especially within underrepresented communities. Her research and projects include the design and implementation of Smart City models. Prior to launching the #BlackTechFutures Research Institute, as Research Director for Black Tech Mecca, Dr. Wilson developed the SMART Black Tech Ecosystem Assessment Framework.

Dr. Wilson represents as the Vice President of Policy for the Multicultural Media and Telecommunication Internet Council (MMTC) through which she launched a national campaign, “Black Churches 4 Broadband” to support digital access in Black communities which now has become “Black Churches for Digital Equity.” In this action, she brings Internet and technological accessibility to students, workers, business, and families, which remains essential for success and inclusion in the ever-evolving automated world. She serves as a Board Member of the State of Tennessee’s Future of Work Taskforce and previously Co-Chaired Nashville’s smart city plan, Connected Nashville. As a member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Communication Equity and Diversity Council, Dr. Wilson chairs the Digital Inclusion and Anchor Institution Subgroup.

Given her tech activism, Dr. Wilson received the 2017 International Society for Technology Education’s Digital Equity Award, the 2018 Nashville Cable Power of Inclusion Award, the 2021 National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women’s Rising Star in Technology Award, the Hispanic Technology and Telecom Partnership 2021 Tech Innovadores, and remains a woman to watch amongst Black women technologists. Additionally, Dr. Wilson’s research on first-generation Black college students’ alternative tech pathways and Black tech ecosystems has garnered notable research grants from Kapor Center, the Kauffman Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, among others.

During the pandemic, Dr. Wilson launched Nashville’s Digital Inclusion and Access Taskforce to address the effects of the pandemic and the digital divide on communities of color. In just seven months, she raised the necessary funds and launched a mixed-method city-wide assessment of digital inclusion related to internet connectivity in the city of Nashville and the county of Davidson. Because of her great work to support tech equity through a much needed Black tech movement, she has cemented her role as a modern-day civil rights tech activist.

Dr. Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Spelman College and from the University of Chicago, two degrees, a Master of Arts in Political Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Service Administration. As a Public Interest Technologist, she discusses race, gender, faith, and civic tech issues through her writing and presentations.