Category Archives: News

National Science Foundation Grant Awarded in the Cyber-Human Systems Program!

I’m pretty excited to announce that my grant that I collaborated with Dr. Davide Bolchini titled, “Designing Collaborative and Transparent Work Information Systems” has been awarded $494,286 by the National Science Foundation’s Cyber-Human Systems Program. This grant will help us examine how to better design collaborative and transparent work information systems.


Research advances have enabled innovations in collaborative work information systems that can keep track of employees and contractors in domains such as ride sharing. For instance, after drivers login to begin a work session, riding sharing computers keep track of cars, customers, and ride locations. Such systems enable accurate payments to drivers and create work histories that are shared among managers, drivers, and clients. In many other work domains, such as home care, delivery, farm work, and child care, transparent collaborative information systems do not exist, leaving work environments open to inaccurate compensation, conflict over work requirements or behavior, or even exploitation. This project will examine the needs of workers, employers, and managers for collaborative and shared reporting, and opportunities for innovative technology to create such systems. The project will lead to fundamental understanding of collaboration in work information for traditional and new forms of work that currently lack accurate and transparent measures of the work hours, effort, or performance on which compensation is based.

This project requires fundamental research and application development in three potential key intervention areas: (1) technologies to enable worker education concerning worker and employer rights and responsibilities; (2) systems that could collect shared work data for workers, employers, and managers while protecting individual privacy and confidentiality, and (3) empirical evaluations to assess effectiveness as well as understand potential risks or undesirable indirect consequences of work-related data collection. Researchers will prototype and test these systems mainly in work environments, such as farm work, custodial work, and restaurants services. The project will lead to a better understanding of the potential for technology to help create better jobs for workers, and aid managers and employers to create responsive, transparent, and equitable business and work environments.

Honorable Mention at CHI 2017!

I am honored to announce that my paper that I co-authored with Adriana Alvarado Garcia and Jessica Despard titled, “Low-Wage Precarious Workers’ Sociotechnical Practices Working Towards Addressing Wage Theft” has received an Honorable Mention Award at CHI 2017! I am really excited about this paper and I hope others in our community enjoy it as well!

Citation: Lynn Dombrowski, Adriana Alvarado Garcia, and Jessica Despard. 2017. Low-Wage Precarious Workers’ Sociotechnical Practices Working Towards Addressing Wage Theft. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 4585-4598. DOI:

Abstract: Nearly 40 million workers in the USA, a third of the working population, are low-wage, meaning they make less than $11.65 per hour. These workers face the pervasive and detrimental challenge of wage violations, also known as wage theft, which is any illegal activity by an employer that denies benefits or wages to employees. We interviewed 24 low-wage workers who experienced wage theft and sought justice about their work practices, challenges, and information technology usage. Based on these interviews, we identify three key sociotechnical practices these workers engaged in to address their wage theft: 1) identifying wage and payment discrepancies; 2) tracking and documenting work; and 3) pursuing wage claims. Seeking to leverage HCI research to interrupt uneven social, economic, and information relations in the low-wage workplace, we ultimately reflect on the possibility and limits of several key design recommendations.

Best Paper at DIS 2016!

I am honored to announce that my paper that I co-authored with Ellie Harmon and Sarah Fox titled, “Social Justice-Oriented Interaction Design: Outlining Key Design Strategies and Commitments” has received a Best Paper at DIS 2016! I am really excited about this paper and I hope others in our community enjoy it as well!

Lynn Dombrowski, Ellie Harmon, and Sarah Fox. 2016. Social Justice-Oriented Interaction Design: Outlining Key Design Strategies and Commitments. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 656-671. DOI=

Abstract: In recent years, many HCI designers have begun pursuing research agendas that address large scale social issues. These systemic or “wicked” problems present challenges for design practice due to their scope, scale, complexity, and political nature. In this paper, we develop a social justice orientation to designing for such challenges. We highlight a breadth of design strategies that target the goals of social justice along six dimensions — transformation, recognition, reciprocity, enablement, distribution, and accountability — and elaborate three commitments necessary to developing a social justice oriented design practice — a commitment to conflict, a commitment to reflexivity, and a commitment to personal ethics and politics. Although there are no easy solutions to systemic social issues, a social justice orientation provides one way to foster an engagement with the thorny political issues that are increasingly acknowledged as crucial to a field that is not just about technological possibility, but also about political responsibility.

Congrats to my co-authors!

Honorable Mention Award at CHI 2016!

I am delighted to announce that my co-authored paper, Digital Footprints and Changing Networks During Online Identity Transitions, has received an Honorable Mention Award at CHI 2016.

Haimson, O., Brubaker, J. R., Dombrowski, L., Hayes, G. R. Digital Footprints and Changing Networks During Online Identity Transitions. Proc. CHI 2016. San Jose, CA. May 7-12, 2016.

Abstract: Digital artifacts on social media can challenge individuals during identity transitions, particularly those who prefer to delete, separate from, or hide data that are representative of a past identity. This work investigates concerns and practices reported by transgender people who transitioned while active on Facebook. We analyze open-ended survey responses from 283 participants, highlighting types of data considered problematic when separating oneself from a past identity, and challenges and strategies people engage in when managing personal data in a networked environment. We find that people shape their digital footprints in two ways: by editing the self-presentational data that is representative of a prior identity, and by managing the configuration of people who have access to that self-presentation. We outline the challenging interplay between shifting identities, social networks, and the data that suture them together. We apply these results to a discussion of the complexities of managing and forgetting the digital past.

Congratulations to my co-authors!

Dissertation Defense Passed!

I passed my dissertation defense!

Here’s a little more information about my dissertation:

Title: “Sociotechnical Food Justice: Examining and designing public interventions for systemic social issues”


In my work, I examine and design public sociotechnical interventions for systemic social issues. I use food insecurity, or a lack of enough food for all household members, as a case of a systemic social issue. Hunger is a major concern that affects millions of Americans. Within the US, government and nonprofit organizations exist that work to alleviate symptoms of hunger and address underlying causes of food insecurity. Despite their efforts, these organizations struggle to meet local food needs. My work explores these efforts and how food inequality is an issue that concerns social justice and interaction design.

I highlight three studies focusing on public sociotechnical interventions to address hunger. First, I examine how hunger-focused nonprofit organizations help their local community members access and use online government applications. I demonstrate that while state-led technological initiatives hold the promise to create additional access to government nutrition programs, actual access and use requires considerable direct assistance by other key stakeholders. Second, I share findings from a study in which I co-designed an inter-organizational location-based information system to help local nonprofit address information goals. Based on this study, I highlight the significance of  inter-organizational politics when designing for collective action among hunger-focused nonprofit organizations. Finally, I held participatory design workshops with urban farmers, hunger-focused nonprofit organizations, and community members to deal with local issues of food insecurity. With these workshops, I examine how different ways of conceptualizing justice impact the design process surrounding public interventions aimed at social issues. I present insights that inform design practice for social-justice oriented design projects. Collectively, this work contributes to larger discussions within human-computer interaction on the strengths and limitations of sociotechnical interventions in addressing systemic social issues.

Also, a heartfelt thank you to my committee: Gillian Hayes, Melissa Mazmanian, Geoffrey Bowker, & Carl DiSalvo!

Future of the Field Community Engagement Award from University of California, Irvine.

I am deeply honored to announce that I received this year’s “Future of the Field” Community Engagement Award from University of California, Irvine.

“This award recognizes one graduate student for exemplary leadership in integrating civic and community engagement into their teaching and learning activities. This individual is clearly committed to building bridges between UCI and local communities. Evidence of this can include a focus on engaged learning as a Teaching Assistant or course instructor, conducting community-based research, or identifying additional means of enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good.” – From Engage UCIFuture of the field award

CSCW 2015 Honorable Mention

Congratulations to my co-authors, Oliver Haimson, Jed Brubaker, and Gillian R. Hayes.

I am please to announce that my co-authored paper, “Disclosure, Stress, and Support During Gender Transition on Facebook” has been awarded an Honorable Mention by the “Best of CSCW” committee. Only 23 papers out of 161 accepted submissions were awarded an Honorable Mention by a dedicated review committee.

Awarded the 2014-2015 Roberta Ellen Lamb Fellowship

I just received news that I have been selected as this year to receive the Roberta Ellen Lamb Endowed Memorial Fellowship in ICS for the 2014-15 academic year! I am deeply honored and pleased to be this year’s recipient.

Information about the Fellowship:

“The Roberta Ellen Lamb Endowed Memorial Fellowship was created to honor the life of Associate Professor of Informatics Roberta Lamb, who passed away in late 2006. Her parents, Mosselle and Bob Pione, funded an endowment to honor Roberta’s life, the body of work she completed, and the important work left unfinished by her untimely death, and also to inspire others to continue the legacy she left behind. With this fellowship, the Pione’s hope that you will be able to continue your research and dissertation.”

Publications accepted for CSCW 2015!

I am pleased to announce that two publications, where I am a co-author, will be presented at CSCW 2015.

Hamison, O., Brubaker, J., Dombrowski, L., & Hayes, G. R., Disclosure, Stress, and Support During Gender Transition on Facebook. To appear in the Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW).

Ringland, K., Wolf, C., Dombrowski, L., & Hayes, G. R., Making “Safe”: Community-Centered Practices in a Virtual World Dedicated to Children with Autism. To appear in the Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW). 

Congrats to my co-authors, and I hope to see you in Vancouver!