The Backbone of i3: Research Advisors
Written by Daniel Robles
Every year, the iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) welcomes a group of 20-30 scholars from different colleges and universities. They join us for the month-long Introductory Institute where they are prepared to take on a yearlong research project. During the month, they self-select into teams and choose a mentor that will lead them throughout their projects. These mentors, or Research Advisors, help them transform their research ideas into full research projects that are then presented the following summer at the 2-week Concluding Institute. This work often gets published in peer-reviewed conference proceedings or journals. Last year, our 2019 cohort self-selected into six teams, led by six different research advisors (listed in alphabetical order by last name):
Dr. Brooke Auxier | Research Associate | Pew Research Center
Brooke is a former i3 Research Design Teaching Fellow (2018) and received her PhD in Journalism from the University of Maryland College Park. She recently began working as a Research Associate in Internet and Technology at the Pew Research Center. Her current research focuses on internet and technology uses by people of different ages, ethnicities, and political parties. Her research ranges from both positive and negative uses of internet and technology to digital privacy issues. To see her most recent work, look no further than this link: https://www.pewresearch.org/staff/brooke-auxier/.
Brooke led one of our 2019 cohort teams; they conducted research on social media platforms like Snapchat and analyzed how millennials use and abandon these platforms.
“Brooke has been an excellent advisor because of how much she actually cares about us and our progress. She was incredibly patient and put a ton of time into this project despite having a million other things to do. She always met us each where were.” -i3 team members
For their publication in the 2020 iConference proceedings, click here: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/106583.
Dr. Cristina Robles Bahm | Assistant Professor | Departure of Information Systems and Technology | La Roche College
Cristina has been a part of the i3 family for the past eight years mentoring cohorts through their research projects. Being an i3 research advisor is no easy task and requires a lot of time commitment. We are so gracious for the all the years of work Cristina has put in for the i3 community. Her research mostly explores spatial information processing at the intersection of people, language, and special concepts. Her research aims to build better navigation systems by looking into how people define the space they are in and what their understanding of that space is.
This past year, Cristina led her i3 team in conducting research on the information seeking behaviors of individuals dealing with homelessness or near-homelessness.
“Cristina is the best advisor you can ask for. She is genuine, caring, and really helps you grow as a researcher and as people.” -i3 team members
For their publication in the 2020 iConference proceedings, click here: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/106576.
Daniel Gardner | PhD Candidate | Department of Informatics | University of California, Irvine
Currently, Dan’s research explores and examines how cultural values and systems of authority materialize in the design of digital media and games. His most recent publication, written alongside with Theresa Tanenbaum, is on the representation of playable characters in games and what it can mean to take on these characters with an emphasis on how representation is studied in the first place. To read more, click here: https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3173574.3173667.
Dan has been an i3 research advisor for two years now. His 2018 i3 group studied microtransactions within gaming. His 2019 i3 group has been exploring the perceptions of race on video game covers.
“Dan is the coolest and REALEST advisors around. Having him as our mentor was the perfect fit. With his guidance and professional experience, our team was able to create game changing research in a field that desperately needs change.” -i3 team members
For their publications, see below.
2018 i3 team:
2019 i3 team: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/106597
Fernando Maestre | PhD Candidate | School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering | Indiana University Bloomington
Fernando moved to the US in 2013 from his home in Ecuador and since then has been teaching and pursuing a PhD in informatics. His research over the years has been on human-computer interaction. His most recent interests include assessing and designing technologies that help stigmatized and marginalized communities cope better with the negative impacts of stigma. His most recent work will be presented in the CSCW 2020 Conference in October. The paper talks about design implications for technology that could help people cope with HIV-related stigma. To see more of this and all other work by Fernando, please take a look at his website: http://juanfernandomaestre.com/wp/.
Fernando became a new member of the i3 family this past year as he took on a research advisor role for one of our 2019 cohort teams. Together they studied how queer People of Color use technology to cope with this stigma.
“Fernando was amazing help to us and our research. He was incredibly supportive, thoughtful, accommodating, easy to talk to, and was consistently reaching out to offer help. He made our research experience so much easier and we want to thank him for all his help this past year.” -i3 team members
For their publication in the 2020 iConference proceedings, click here: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/106590.
Dr. Kathleen Moore | Assistant Professor of Intelligence Analysis | School of Integrated Sciences | James Madison University
Kathleen has covered a wide range of topics in her research. Publicly she has conducted research on crisis informatics and problems using disparate data sources, such as a recent piece that was with an interdisciplinary team to study microfiber pollution in the Hudson River. She has also conducted research for the government, including a recent study that mapped the online presence of white extremist groups from surface web down to dark web.
Kathleen took on one of our i3 2019 teams and led them in their study on white extremists’ use of manifestos linked to violence and shared on Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).
“Dr. Moore helped us take on an original research idea and narrow it down to become a full research project. We appreciate her resourcefulness and quick guidance.” -i3 team members
For their publication in the 2020 iConference proceedings, click here: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/106598
Dr. Martez E. Mott | Postdoctoral Researcher |Ability Team, Microsoft Research
i3 family member since 2014, Martez is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Ability group at Microsoft Research. His research there focuses on areas within human-computer interaction and accessibility. In his research, he aims to create and evaluate intelligent interaction techniques that improve the accessibility of computing devices for people with a range of motor and sensory abilities. His most recent work, accepted into the 2020 ACM Conference, was about understanding the accessibility of virtual reality for people with limited mobility. A preprint of this work can be found here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/uploads/prod/2020/07/understanding_vr_accessibility_assets2020.pdf
Martez first joined i3 as one of our inaugural Teaching Fellows in 2014 where he co-taught the programming modules that we run each year for our Introductory Institute. Since then, he has returned to give talks at i3 in both 2015 and 2018. Now, he is one our 2019 Research Advisors. He and his team have been exploring how eLearning platforms support students with cognitive disabilities.
“Without Dr. Martez Mott, our time at i3 Inclusion Institute would not have been the same. The brilliant ideas and great energy he brought to each meeting helped us feel confident in accomplishing this project. He wasn’t just our advisor. He was a mentor to us who we could rely on for our future professional or academic goals.” -i3 team members
For their publication in the 2020 iConference proceedings, click here: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/106601
SO MUCH APPRECIATION
Research Advisors have been such an integral part of all that i3 has accomplished. Their willingness to dedicate a year to lead undergraduate scholars in conducting impactful research has been phenomenal and can truly be considered the backbone of this program. Not only are they Research Advisors, but they become mentors for our scholars in their research journeys and path to graduate schools and beyond. In a year of so much difficulty and uncertainty, they have remained committed to our scholars and their projects. Words can only express our gratitude for them. They are an irreplaceable part of our i3 family.