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BBL: A Brown Bag Lunch Double-Header with Gabriela Marcu and Cody Buntain!

Event Details
  • Date:

This week’s Brown Bag Lunch (BBL) will feature TWO speakers.


Time: 09/21 (Thursday) from 12:00-1:30pm
Place: HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing).
Lunch: Free Pizza

Speaker 1: Gabriela Marcu
Title: Addressing health inequities through human-centered design


When we use empathy and human-centered approaches in developing health interventions, we have the capacity to affect social change. We can direct human-centered computing toward underserved populations. We can target marginalization, stigma, and inequity with human- centered methods. In this talk, I will share projects that have focused on addressing inequities within children’s behavioral health services, treatment for youth living with HIV, and opioid overdose prevention. I will present methodological approaches to designing for and with underserved populations, and show how to practice inclusion and equity in the design process. Based on the results of my projects, I will also outline design principles for health information technologies that do not sacrifice humanity for standardization. Finally, I will discuss the importance of broadening participation in computing, for more equitable research participation, methods, and output.


Gabriela Marcu is an Assistant Professor in the College of Computing and Informatics and a Research Fellow with the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University. Her research applies participatory design, action research, and ubiquitous computing to promote behavioral health and social justice. Dr. Marcu directs the Empathic Research Group, a highly diverse and interdisciplinary team passionate about user experience and social change. She holds a Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.S. in Informatics from the University of California, Irvine. She has been named a Siebel Scholar, NSF Graduate Research Fellow, Microsoft Research Graduate Women Scholar, and Google Anita Borg Scholar.


Speaker 2: Cody Buntain
Title: Gaining insight into real-world societal response using social media


Online social networking platforms (OSNs) like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit have become valuable data sources in studying societal response to high-impact events (terror attacks, natural disasters, mass demonstrations, etc.). These events unfold rapidly, with users posting their responses and new developments to OSNs as they happen. Rapidly understanding these responses can be critical to providing assistance or reducing conflict.

This talk discusses three main areas in this research:

1) How well does OSN data reflect real-world population data,

2) What are the patterns in response behavior to these events, and

3) How can low-quality information be filtered out from these data sources?

I will present findings across these questions, showing social media data mirrors certain geographic populations, discussing event-detection algorithms, and outlining some current research in cross-platform information quality. I will then open discussion on future work in: OSN data for qualitative study, crisis informatics, and studies of population/platform differences in online information quality.


Dr. Cody Buntain is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab and is funded by the Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship. His current areas of research include studying complex social systems and how society leverages social media in the aftermath of crises and social unrest. This research includes evaluating information credibility across social media platforms, real-time information retrieval and event detection in response to crises, social media reflections of real-world phenomena, and the intersection of machine learning and computational social science.