UCI’s Department of Informatics was well represented at the 21st ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 18), held the first week of November in New Jersey. UCI alumni, faculty or students (co)organized four of the conference workshops and co-authored almost two dozen of the accepted papers. Informatics Professor Yunan Chen helped organize the “Data Work in Healthcare” workshop with Katie Pine ’12, and Chen co-authored a handful of CSCW papers on topics ranging from self-tracking and fertility care to social networking and privacy concerns. While at the conference, many of the UCI folks she talked to expressed an interest in getting together.
“A lot of people wanted to gather to get to know each other,” she says, “so I organized a dinner, hosted by the Informatics department.” Thirty-five people attended the sit-down, multicourse dinner. “We had great conversation and people really enjoyed it,” she says. “It presented a good opportunity for people to see old friends and meet new faculty.”
Two such new faculty members are Informatics Professors Stacy Branham and Daniel Epstein. Branham co-authored the CSCW paper, “Safe Spaces and Safe Places: Unpacking Technology-Mediated Experiences of Safety and Harm with Transgender People,” recognized at the conference for its contribution to diversity and inclusion, and Epstein co-authored “Friends Don’t Need Receipts: The Curious Case of Social Streams in the Mobile Payment App Venmo.”
Branham was delighted to have an opportunity to better connect with her new colleagues, including Assistant Research Professor Matt Bietz. “I was humbled and proud to see myself as a new member of the long-standing, influential UCI Informatics family,” she says. She was also thrilled to meet UCI alumni, such as Wayne Lutters (Ph.D. ’01) and Charlotte Lee (postdoc). “I am so excited that some of the same people who advised these greats are now my mentors as I begin my journey in the Department of Informatics.”
Epstein was similarly pleased to meet UCI alumni. “The best part for me was chatting with alumni and learning what they’re up to. I also picked up lessons from their time at UCI and ideas for what the department could be doing to better to support them in their current roles.” Epstein chatted with Leslie Liu (M.S. ’11), Katie Pine, Patrick Shih (Ph.D. ’11), Morgan Ames (postdoc) and Norman Su (Ph.D. ’09).
Chen says she hopes to plan another dinner at CSCW ’19 in Austin, Texas next year. “UCI has a strong presence at these conferences, and the dinners provide a great opportunity for good conversations and future collaborations.”
— Shani Murray