Colloquium: Social Connectedness Technologies for Critical Contexts
Bio: Lana Yarosh is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science & Engineering Department at University of Minnesota. Her research in HCI focuses on embodied interaction in social computing systems. Lana is currently most proud of getting both the NSF CRII and the NSF CAREER awards, of her best papers at CHI and CSWC, and of receiving the McKnight Land Grant Professorship. Lana has two Bachelors of Science from University of Maryland (in Computer Science and Psychology), a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and two years of industry research experience with AT&T Labs Research.
Abstract: Social isolation is a critical and fundamental challenge for mental health and wellbeing. People are self-identifying as “lonely” at higher rates than ever and many are experiencing effects of social isolation, including higher mortality rates, depression, and substance use disorders. My work takes on the task of designing technologies to increase connectedness. My approach involves working closely with people in specific critical social contexts in order to design and evaluate the effects of new technologies on social connectedness. In this talk, I elaborate on my work in two critical contexts for social connection: enhancing chilidren's care networks and supporting peer support in recovery communities. I provide examples of technologies that we've created to both support remote communication and amplify opportunities for in-person relationship-building.