PhD Defense by Deana Brown

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Wednesday June 17, 2015
      8:30 am - 10:30 am
  • Location: TSRB 223
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Summary Sentence: Designing Computer-Mediated Communication Technologies to Support Migrants and Refugees

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PhD Defense of Dissertation Announcement


Title: Designing Computer-Mediated Communication Technologies to Support Migrants and Refugees


Deana Brown

PhD Candidate in Human-Centered Computing

School of Interactive Computing


Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Time: 8:30 AM (EST)

Location: TSRB 223


Dr. Rebecca E. Grinter (Advisor, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Eric Gilbert (School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Ellen Zegura (School of Computer Science and School of Interactive Computing (by courtesy), Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Michael Best (Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology)
Dr. Susan Dray (Dray & Associates, Inc.)



Families migrate to improve their outcomes, however the process is very disruptive. My research asks and answers the question can technologies mitigate the disruption caused to families by migration, and if so, how? In my work I have explored two forms of disruptive family migration—parental migration (where parents and children live in separate countries) and refugee resettlement (resulting from forced migration). In both forms, families find themselves embedded in support networks of individuals (which may include mentors, educators, guardians and so forth) on whom they rely to regain family stability. My empirical results revealed barriers (distance, language, literacy and so forth) that render the engagement between families and their support network less than effective. Through participatory approaches, I then design and evaluate separately, two technologies to mitigate the barriers and improve communication in the various support networks. 


The end contributions of my work include: 

1) Contributing a nascent agenda on migration for Human-Computer Interaction and related fields through providing an increased understanding of the challenges that limit the livelihoods of migration-separated and new refugee families

2) Demonstrating two such asynchronous voice-based communication systems for mitigating communication barriers—one to mitigate time and distance barriers to support transnational home-school communication, and the other to mitigate language and literacy barriers through mediated 'human-in-the-loop' voice translations for everyday interactions with refugees 

3) Putting forth design implications and a reflection on methods to guide others seeking to work with migrant groups in a similar capacity.

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

Graduate Studies

Invited Audience
defense, graduate students, HCI, PhD
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jun 3, 2015 - 11:41am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 10:12pm