C. Estelle Smith is a Computer Science PhD Candidate in GroupLens Research at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her interdisciplinary research has touched on a variety of topics in Human-Computer Interaction including Social Support in Online Health Communities, Human-Centered Machine Learning, and Science Communications and Public Engagement in HCI (CV available here). Estelle is co-advised by Professors Loren Terveen (Computer Science Department) and Susan O’Conner-Von (Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing). She has been supported by a variety of Teaching and Research Assistantships, as well as the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowship.

Estelle’s Story

Estelle draws inspiration and purpose from her eclectic and ever-evolving collection of life experiences. She grew up and currently lives in Minneapolis, MN, but she has also lived in Costa Rica, the UK, and Austria, interspersed with lots of travel all across the world. She holds a BA in English (Creative Writing, 2010) and a BS in Neuroscience (2015), along with three years of experience at San Francisco tech start-ups between degrees and ongoing side gigs in freelance Science Writing. She has bicycled across the USA, run a marathon, and dreams of someday kayaking the Amazon.

Driven by aspirations to better align advances in technology with human flourishing, Estelle joined the Computer Science PhD program at UMN in 2016. She is deeply grateful and humbled to participate in collaborative engagements with impactful non-profit organizations such as CaringBridge and the WikiMedia Foundation. As a result, Estelle’s work explores and impacts socio-technical systems used by millions of people every day. She’s pretty stoked about that.

In Estelle’s professional day-to-day, she is a passionate researcher, communicator, and educator. In her personal day-to-day, she loves to frequent yoga and rock climbing gyms, volunteer as a foster dog mom for Adopt-A-Husky Minnesota, and go for long meandering jogs along Mississippi River trails.



C. Estelle Smith, Zachary Levonian, Haiwei Ma, Robert Giaquinto, Gemma Lein-Mcdonough, Zixuan Li, Susan O’Conner-Von, and Svetlana Yarosh. 2020. “I Cannot Do All of this Alone”: Exploring Instrumental and Prayer Support in Online Health Communities. Accepted to ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (ToCHI). (Pre-print on ArXiv)

C. Estelle Smith, Bowen Yu, Anjali Srivastava, Aaron Halfaker, Loren Terveen, and Haiyi Zhu. 2020. Keeping Community in the Loop: Understanding Wikipedia Stakeholder Values for Machine Learning-Based Systems. Proc. CHI 2020. (Acceptance Rate: 24.3%)  Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5% of submissions). (Download from ACM)

C. Estelle Smith, Eduardo Nevarez, and Haiyi Zhu. 2020. Disseminating Research News in Human-Computer Interaction: Perceived Hazards, How-To’s, and Opportunities for Innovation. Proc. CHI 2020. (Acceptance Rate: 24.3%) (Download from ACM)


C. Estelle Smith, Xinyi Wang, Raghav Karumur, and Haiyi Zhu. 2018. [Un]breaking News: Design Opportunities for Enhancing Collaboration in Scientific Media Production. Proc. CHI 2018. (Acceptance Rate: 25.7%) Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5% of submissions). (Download from ACM)

Niels van Berkel, Julio Vega, Ankit Kariryaa, C. Estelle Smith, and Ye Yuan. CHI 2018 Conference Report. IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 17, no. 03, pp. 58-63, Jul., 2018. (Download from IEEE)


Haiwei Ma, C. Estelle Smith, Lu He, Saumik Narayanan, Robert A. Giaquinto, Roni Evans, Linda Hanson, and Svetlana Yarosh. 2017. Write for Life: Persisting in Online Health Communities with Expressive Writing and Social Support. Proc. ACM Human-Computer Interaction 1, 2, Article 73 (November 2017), 24 pages. (Download from ACM) (Acceptance Rate: 27.3%)

View and download Estelle’s complete CV.


10 Things You Need to Know if You’re a Computer Science Graduate Student

  Last year, a friend of mine thought I might enjoy being President of our department’s Graduate Student Association (GSA), so he nominated me without telling me. When I first saw my name on the ballot, my internal reaction was something like, “Awwwwwwww HELL no. Who did this?” When I was subsequently elected, my second …