Research

Publications

You can follow me and my most recent work on my Google Scholar page!

Interests

I am primarily interested in computer science through the context of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. What does that mean? Doesn’t that encompass so much? Well, yea! I am very interested in the many ways that computer science interacts with diversity problems not only in the systems that we create, but also in terms of the industry with inclusion. But if you’re still a bit unsure as to what I mean, here’s a quick list of ideas that I’d like to study

Representation in Computer Systems

By this, I mean that there is little to no representation in the research we see in computer systems. Here are a few quick examples:

  • Virtual Humans (Look how we look like!)
    • We should be seeing more usage of diverse complexions in virtual humans
    • How do people perceive virtual humans depending on their virtual complexion? Could we show human biases through this?
  • Spoken/Natural Language Generation (Speak how we speak!)
    • When you see your friend do you say “hello, how are you,” or do you say “hey what’s up”? I would like to see more informal speech in spoken language generation in computer systems to represent us how we really speak
    • Diversity in speech
      • Spanish-English code-switching (aka Spanglish) is something widely seen in Latinx communities (which I experience firsthand), but computers don’t know how to understand it or produce it.
      • African American Vernacular English (aka Black English) is a variety of English that is seldom found in CS literature, but it is still a widely spoken.
  • Ethical ML (Don’t misrepresent us!)
    • Identifying bias in ML systems and fixing them All these issues are deeply ingrained in CS, but not addressed nearly as much as they should.

CS Education for underrepresented communities

I want to see underrepresented minorities in tech rise up in numbers and ranks in the tech industry. I’m a fervent believer that anyone could do CS and we should promote that in access to CS education from a young age from these communities. I come from an underserved, low socioeconomic, Latinx community that had little to no CS lessons. Then I went to Columbia University where some of my classmates had been studying CS since they were in middle school! That’s fantastic for them, but incredibly unfortunate for me and my community. I believe that identifying and tackling these barriers is paramount to increasing CS participation in universities and the tech industry.

CS techniques for social justice

What does this mean? It means using data to point out and tackle social injustices that exist in our world. Can we use police video/audio footage from traffic stops to see how they treat black and brown communities opposed to their white peers? Can we analyze speeches made by government leaders to see how they address minority communities? Can we identify how minority communities are less likely to be given funds for STEM and can we tackle it by providing equipment and tailored online instruction? These sorts of questions are the types that we need in future CS research as these tools hold incredible power.