Blog – How “Interdependence” finally got published

Recently, a paper I co-authored with Cindy Bennett and Erin Brady about “Interdependence” was accepted to my favorite conference and, icing on the cake, received an award. This has been wildly exciting for me, because when I started to write about this very topic four years ago, others in my academic circle were uncertain that the topic was worthwhile. Especially as a PhD student or a young postdoc, it can be difficult to turn skepticism from your academic heroes into productive argument-fortification. For me, this is a story of “stick-with-it-ness” that helps me remember nothing is impossible if you keep questioning, keep reading, and––most importantly––keep coalition-building. Thank you, Cindy, Erin, ASSETS 2018, and all the people from feminist / DS / STS and disability activists who inspired us.

CSCW18 – Diversity & Inclusion Recognition!

Our paper “Safe Spaces and Safe Places” earned a Recognition of Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion along with 4 other awesome papers at CSCW 2018! This community continues to show its commitment to inclusive excellence as it helps us raise awareness of safety and wellbeing of transgender people. Thank you CSCW and SIGCHI!

Thanks to my awesome co-authors: my previous MS thesis student, Morgan Scheuerman (now at CU Boulder), and Foad Hamidi (currently on the job market in Fall 2018).


ASSETS18 – Student Best Paper Award!

Cindy Bennett, Erin Brady, and myself are so pleased to learn our paper “Interdependence: A Frame for Assistive Technology Research and Design” earned a Student Best Paper Award (top 2% of submissions) at ASSETS 2018! This is one of my favorite papers of all time––so happy others are enjoying it, too.

Custom Disability Icons

My talented Masters Thesis student, Antony Rishin Mukkath, adapted icons from to accurately portray our research participants with disabilities in our ASSETS 2018 presentation about Interdependence. If you are interested to learn more, please see our slides (coming soon!) and research paper titled: “Interdependence as a frame for assistive technology research and design.”

You can download these custom icons here: Thumbnail | PNG | SVG.

ASSETS18 – Two Papers Accepted – interdependence & VAs for blind folks!

I’m excited to share work with collaborators Cindy Bennet and Erin Brady on theorizing Interdependence as a new frame for designing assistive technologies. Additionally, my PhD mentee, Ali Abdolrahmani, will be presenting work with Ravi Kuber and myself on the prospects of personal assistants that leverage voice-user interfaces (think: Amazon Echo) to provide increased access to the blind community. We’ll see you in Ireland at ASSETS 2018!

  • Bennett, C., Brady, E., Branham, S.M. “Interdependence as a Frame for Assistive Technology Research and Design.” In Proceedings of the ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers & Accessibility (ASSETS ’18), Galway, Ireland, October 22-24, 2018. 10 pages. forthcoming
  • Abdolrahmani, A., Kuber, R., Branham, S.M. “‘Siri Talks at You’”: An Empirical Investigation of Voice Activated Personal Assistant (VAPA) Usage by Individuals Who are Blind.”  In Proceedings of the ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers & Accessibility (ASSETS ’18), Galway, Ireland, October 22-24, 2018. 10 pages. forthcoming

Research “Microtalk”

Dean Bowman nominated me to present a “microtalk” of my work at UMBC’s Interdisciplinary Faculty Social Hour. My opening line: “If this were a nanotalk, I would say ‘people with disabilities deserve technologies that don’t isolate or stigmatize them.’ But it’s a microtalk, so you’re stuck with me for a couple more minutes.”


CHI18 – Best Paper Award!

Our research paper “Gender Recognition or Gender Reductionism?” has been selected to receive a Best Paper Award (top 1% of submissions) at CHI 2018.  CHI continues to show its commitment to diversity and inclusion as it helps us raise awareness of transgender safety and wellbeing. Thank you!

I should also add that, when you love who you work with, good things happen. It’s been a delight to collaborate on this project with postdoc Foad Hamidi (coming to the job market in Fall 2018!) and my fabulous MS student advisee, Morgan Scheuerman (check for his application to your PhD programs this Spring!).