About

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C. Estelle Smith is wrapping up her PhD in Computer Science with a social computing emphasis in GroupLens Research at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is co-advised by Professors Loren Terveen (Department of Computer Science & Engineering) and Susan O’Conner-Von (Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing). Her dissertation explores the ways in which caring and wonderful human beings can exchange social and spiritual support in online spaces as they navigate life-threatening physical and mental health crises. Her interdisciplinary research has also touched on  topics like Human-Centered Machine Learning and Science Communications/Public Engagement in HCI (CV available here). Her dissertation defense is scheduled for December 18, 2020 at 11am CT. Please mark your calendar and request a Zoom invite link by clicking here if you’d like to attend!

Estelle has been president of the Computer Science Graduate Student Association (CSGSA) at the University of Minnesota from Fall 2020-Summer 2021. During this time, she masterminded a complete organizational restructuring of CSGSA and lead a student body of over 450 graduate students through an unprecedented shift into all-virtual experiences of grad school caused by the COVID19 pandemic. She successfully advocated for a complete remodel of CSGSA’s graduate student lounge space (which will be opened when it becomes safe to do so), launched a virtual community on Slack, successfully facilitated numerous in-person and virtual events, and has re-invigorated the social fabric of the Department in just one year.

Estelle is deeply grateful and excited to be joining the CU Boulder Department of Information Science in January 2021 as a postdoc with Brian Keegan and Chenhao Tan. She’ll be working to support an NSF-sponsored grant to study genealogical relationships, behavioral sequences, and social support in online communities. More exciting news to come as her next steps unfold!

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.

Publications

2020

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. Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (ToCHI). (Download from ACM)

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)

2018

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)

2017

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.

Blog

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 …