Meet the 2023 SMC Sociotechnical Systems PhD Interns!

The MSR Social Media Collective put the call out for PhD students studying sociotechnical systems from interdisciplinary perspectives that foster careful (and caring) critique. We were, once again, BLOWN away by the amazing applications (the force is strong in us, friends!) Here is the intern cohort joining us for our 2023 cycle:

Negin Alimohammadi is a Ph.D. student in the department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. In her research, she studies how a feminist ethic of care can be framed as a collaborative practice. She also explores how technology can and cannot support and contribute to collaborative caring practices. She has studied asynchronous and remote collaboration in organizations and platforms such as Wikipedia over the last four years. This summer, she will work with Nancy Baym and The Viva Engage Research Team to understand how providing enterprise users a platform to connect with leaders in their organization influences their sense of connection and belonging within the organization.

María P. Angel (she/her) is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Law at the University of Washington. At MSR, she will be working with danah boyd and the SMC team to understand the techno-legal imaginaries that underlie American legislators’ differing views on the protection of consumer privacy. Her dissertation research uses archival research and oral history interviews to examine (i) the evolution of the concept of information privacy in American privacy law scholarship and (ii) the legal co-production of technology. María is a Fulbright grantee and holds a dual B.A. in Law and Political Science and a master’s degree in Administrative Law.

Samantha Dalal is a Ph.D. student in Information Science at CU Boulder where her research examines the digital economy and the workers who support it. She is particularly interested in developing tools alongside workers to help them engage in sensemaking about and auditing of their working conditions. Samantha is joining MSR New England to work with Nancy Baym on a project exploring how digital entrepreneurs stitch together disparate bits of technology to create an ecosystem that supports their work practices.

Sarah Edwards is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research centers on the social media entertainment industry, branding, platforms, and globalization. Sarah’s dissertation project examines how nations have increasingly turned to influencer marketing, social media platforms, and inter/infomediaries in order to brand and communicate national identity and participate in the global cultural economy. This summer, her project at the Social Media Collective will examine shifting perceptions of the social media entertainment industry and expectations around work in the creator economy through the emergence of trade organizations and other forms of creator-led organizing.

Aurélie Petit is a PhD candidate in the Film and Moving Image Studies program at Concordia University, Montreal. Her dissertation examines the relationship between reactionary online cultures and Japanese animation in the United States, with a focus on exclusionary discourses towards marginalized communities. Another project of hers looks at the circulation of pornographic animation on streaming platforms. She will be working with Tarleton Gillespie at the Social Media Collective to research the limits of automated content moderation on Pornhub regarding animated pornography.

CJ Reynolds is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication and Journalism at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, studying how user-generated content can support political accountability on contemporary platforms like YouTube and Twitch, as well as historical platforms like GeoCities. CJ’s dissertation examines the politics of place, platform, and cameras in police-citizen interactions through the phenomenon of “First Amendment auditors” on YouTube, people who test their rights to free press by filming police in public. As an intern for the SMC, CJ is investigating livestreamer “unban requests,” a novel form of creator-driven content moderation where streamers publicly adjudicate appeals from banned chatters to enforce boundaries, reform bad behavior, and establish the culture of their individual communities. Unban requests transform content moderation into content and represent a way of making platform governance public, entertaining, and personal. CJ’s work has been published in journals such as New Media & Society and Television & New Media and presented at the annual conferences of the International Communication Association and the Association of Internet Researchers.