I’m currently a doctoral student in Human Centered Computing at Georgia Tech. I graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies in 2012 and with a Master’s in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown in 2014.
Current CV – last updated 11/16
Deviant Communities: Bad communities exist all over the Internet, and often we wonder how to deal with these behaviors we find undesirable. One such community, the pro-eating disorder community, derives from a false belief that eating disorders and mental illnesses are alternative lifestyles. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr have taken steps to root these communities out and ban/monitor their content. These communities avoid detection by adopting unusual linguistic constructs and behavioral and social conventions to circumvent this surveillance. So, rather than tag their post with “thinspiration” (a portmanteau of thin-inspiration) which is banned, they will modify the tag to be “thynspoooooo”.
As these communities move farther into the dark peripheries of social media, we can no longer monitor those who may need help. However, little work has been done to build quantitative methodologies to automate monitoring, assessing and developing potential interventions in these communities. My research remedies this gap by building robust and automated computational approaches to understand behavioral cues of risky communities from social media data. I focus on mental illness in online communities that promote eating disorders (pro-ED) as well as depression, self-injury, and suicide ideation.
Research Ethics: Questions of public data, sensitive communities, and deleted content are all important issues in my work that broadly relates to deviant behavior online. Researchers should approach their work ethically and respectfully while conducting good science, and there is a need for more discussion and approaches to doing ethical research in social computing. My work touches on these issues, and I personally have an interest in helping to solve research issues on sensitive and deviant health-related content online.
In my spare time, I am an avid cook and make a mean roasted chicken and homemade pizza. I also am a competitive powerlifter in USAPL.