Research Interests

My research interests lie in the interdisciplinary field of cross-cultural computing. This relatively new field explores areas such as; the exchange of cultural information, constructions of culturally relevant information resources, and core cultural qualities; within social computing spaces. I draw on literature, theories, and concepts from computer-mediated communication and my principal areas of focus are social signaling theory, refugee informatics, and ethics. Examples from my work include an exploratory investigation of the impacts of grammatical gender on transgender Arabic and Hebrew speakers, and a case study of an independent media project created by refugee youth.

My goals are to advance theoretical understandings of cross-cultural interpersonal communication in computer-mediated contexts, particularly where marginalized populations experience sociotechnical barriers. I employ qualitative and quantitative research methods such as interviewing, ethnographic observation, survey, and exploratory data analysis techniques.

Currently, with my advisor Prof. David McDonald, we are using social signaling theory (SST) to unpack the production and consumption of cues and signals in social media by Arabic and English speakers. We completed a pilot study which focused on using SST as a framework for understanding how, and to what degree, people see religiosity in Twitter texts. We have applied for funding to pursue this work further and hope to expand our inquiry to include conflict and intimacy.


University of Washington, Seattle, WA
The Information School, 2013 - in progress
Ph.D. student
Committee members: Prof. David W. McDonald (chair) and Prof. Maria Garrido

University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
M.A., 2012
Concentration: Middle East Studies
Advisors: Prof. Joel S. Migdal & Prof. David W. McDonald
Paper topics: ethnographic case study, independent youth media in Palestine & social media data analysis of the Syrian uprising

The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA
B.A., 2004
Areas of Concentration: Civil Society and Social Capital
Fieldwork: critical comparative ethnography, Kashmir & Palestine


Other Stuff I Like To Do: