Ph.D. Candidate Sabirat Rubya Wins ACM SIGCHI Graduate Student Competition

2017 SIGCHI, Lana and Sabirat
June 1, 2017

Second-year Ph.D. student Sabirat Rubya placed first in the ACM SIGCHI (CHI 2017) Graduate Student Research Competition for her paper “Facilitating Peer-Support for Recover from Substance Use Disorders.”

Rubya’s award-winning research looks into recovery programs for people with substance use disorders. Over the course of her study, she conducted interviews and had participants fill out questionnaires to see what kind of support they were getting from their communities.  She found that people in recovery get a lot of help and support when they attend physical or online AA meetings, but they often meet challenges when searching for the right meetings to attend. For example, when someone is new to recovery or is traveling, finding the meetings can be very difficult because the meeting lists are maintained locally and often outdated. Rubya’s work looks at finding ways to eliminate this difficulty so people can more easily get to the recovery communities they rely upon.  Using machine learning, pattern detection techniques, and crowd-sourcing, she is creating a global self-updating list of all AA meetings that may one day be used as a resource for people in recovery.

Rubya works with GroupLens to analyze social ties and anonymity in online recovery communities. Her research focuses on recommending and designing better technologies that can help address the large gap between the number of individuals who need and want to get help for a substance abuse problem and the number of individuals who are able to overcome the financial and social burdens of doing so.

As the winner of CHI 2017’s Student Research Competition, Rubya received a prize of $500 and a medal of recognition. She was recognized during the closing plenary session of the conference and will go on to compete at the ACM grand finals against the overall winners from 22 other participating ACM conferences.  All ACM Student Research Compeititions offer a unique forum for undergraduate and graduate students to present their original research before a panel of judges and attendees.

A complete list of winners from the CHI 2017 conference can be found on the ACM website.

Please join the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in congratulating Sabirat Rubya on this achievement and wish her luck at the upcoming grand finals!

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