Tom McMail (research.microsoft.com) is passionate about innovation, education and technology as means for improving the human condition. After his first university training in Psychology and Psycholinguistics, he taught K-12 in many subjects and grade levels, then took a role as social worker for Head Start. He has also worked as a professional musician and composer, plays more than 20 instruments and has taught improvisation, as well as music theory and composition. After returning to school for a degree in Computer Science, he worked in the electronic gaming industry as a computer music and technical audio expert, and later became a producer and developer of educational software.

Overall, Tom has spent nearly 14 years at Microsoft in a variety of roles. At MSN, he used new technologies and techniques in support of special events and also created innovative plans for online community adopted across Microsoft.com properties.

With MSR University Relations, Tom migrated regional efforts to a more strategic approach, directly addressing academic concerns about declining enrollments, gender disparity, and software security, introducing Tablet PCs to universities and driving experimentation to find best uses of technology to transform education. He was instrumental in introducing programs employing Gaming and Robotics as change agents for reinvigorating CS curriculum.

At Microsoft Research, in the External Research group, for the past two years he focused on seeking the most innovative new research and researchers emerging today as part of the Breakthrough Research initiative. Currently he is responsible for strategic collaboration programs with North American academic institutions and researchers. Tom lives outside of Monroe, Washington with his family in the beautiful rural foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

Videography: Amanda Long and Michael Pisano.

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