Maitraye Das

.

I am an incoming Assistant Professor in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University with a minor appointment in the College of Arts, Media and Design. My research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) focuses on making collaboration, content creation, and learning more accessible and equitable in ability-diverse teams. In this space, I have investigated how accessibility is created and negotiated in the contexts of collaborative writing, creative making, and remote work; in teams of blind and sighted individuals as well as among neurodivergent professionals. I take a community-centered research approach combining in-depth qualitative studies (e.g., contextual interviews, ethnographic field observations) with iterative system building and evaluation. Some examples of my work include developing new auditory techniques for enhancing accessibility in asynchronous and synchronous collaborative writing and an audio-enhanced loom for accessible weaving. I also draw on Disability Studies literature to critically interrogate what roles technologies play in reshaping group dynamics and redistributing the labor of creating access in ability-diverse teams. My research has been recognized with Best Paper Awards and Honorable Mentions at premier venues including ACM CHI, CSCW, ASSETS, and IEEE COMPSAC, the Daniel H. and Carolyn E. Ecroyd Fellowship, a CS PhD Student Research Award and several research grants from Northwestern University and the University of Washington. I was selected as a Rising Star in EECS by MIT in 2021.

Currently, I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE) at the University of Washington. I completed my PhD and MS in Technology and Social Behavior (dual degree in Computer Science and Communication) from Northwestern University, where I worked with Darren Gergle and Anne Marie Piper. Previously, I received a BS in Computer Science and Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and worked as a research intern at Microsoft Research and a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at United International University, Bangladesh.

Apart from academic activities, I have always been passionate about music. I also like traveling and roaming around new places. Now and then I try to get a break from my busy schedule and set out for a tour with my friends and family.

For Prospective Students!

I am looking for PhD students interested in the areas of HCI, CSCW, and accessibility to join my group at Northeastern University from Fall 2023. See below for more information.

Name Pronunciation

Moi-trey-ee (Maitraye) Daash (Das). Maitraye means friendly in Bangla. Click the audio player below to listen to the pronunciation of my name.

Pronouns: She/her

Recent News

Publications

Please refer to my Google Scholar page for a full list with citations.

Peer-Reviewed Journal and Conference Papers
Book Chapter
  • Maitraye Das, Katya Borgos-Rodriguez, and Anne Marie Piper. In Press. A Case Study of Skilled Craftwork among Blind Fiber Artists. In Elizabeth Guffey ed. After Universal Design: The Disability Design Revolution. Bloomsbury.

Workshop Co-organized
  • Maryam Bandukda, Giulia Barbareschi, Aneesha Singh, Dhruv Jain, Maitraye Das, Tamanna Motahar, Jason Wiese, Lynn Cockburn, Amit Prakash, David Frohlich, Catherine Holloway. 2022. A Workshop on Disability Inclusive Remote Co-Design. In Proceedings of the 24th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS '22). [ACM DL link] .

Selected Workshop Papers, Posters, and Doctoral Consortia

Research

Designing for Accessible Collaborative Writing

Collaborators: Darren Gergle, Anne Marie Piper, Thomas McHugh

In this project, we investigate how people with vision impairments interact with collaborative writing tools (e.g., Microsoft Word, Google Docs) to produce shared documents with their sighted collaborators, the challenges they face in developing collaboration awareness (i.e., understanding who commented or edited what and where in the document), and how they develop shared norms and workarounds to adapt to the complexities of collaborative features. Our work also uncovers how accessibility in collaborative work is shaped by interpersonal relations, power dynamics, and organizational ableism. Building on the insights gathered from interviews and observations with blind writers, we build and evaluate new auditory techniques to support accessible collaborative writing in both asynchronous and synchronous settings.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews, observations, qualitative analyses (grounded theory method and thematic analysis), prototyping, experimental study design, statistical analyses
Tools: Python, PyQt, Amazon Polly
Publications: CHI 2022, TOCHI 2022, CSCW 2020, CSCW 2019, UbiComp 2018
A person is typing on a laptop in a office.

Designing for Accessible Collaborative Making

Collaborators: Anne Marie Piper, Katya Borgos-Rodriguez

In this project, we investigate the situated practice of collaborative making at a community weaving studio where blind weavers and their sighted instructors collaboratively produce handwoven products using physical materials such as loom, shuttle, and yarns. Through ethnographic field observations and contextual interviews, we uncover how blind weavers engage in coordinated embodied interaction with their sighted instructors and the materials in their workspace to learn and perform weaving steps. Building on these insights, we design interactive technologies to augment blind weavers' embodied understanding of the weaving process and the state of the woven products and interrogate the role of digital technologies in traditional, manual form of making.

Methods: Ethnographic field observations, semi-structured interviews, qualitative analyses (grounded theory method and thematic analysis), prototyping
Tools: Javascript, svg.js, Web Audio API
Publications: TACCESS 2021, CHI 2020, CSCW 2020
A blind weaver is working with a sighted instructor on a loom to create a blue and black colored cloth

Understanding Accessibility in Remote Work

Collaborators: John Tang, Anne Marie Piper, Kathryn Ringland,
Danielle Bragg, Kelly Mack, Dhruv Jain

This project focuses on understanding and rethinking accessibility in remote work. Through interviews with neurodivergent professionals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, learning disabilities, and psychosocial disabilities (e.g., anxiety, depression), we found that while working from home neurodivergent professionals need to create accessible physical and digital workspaces, negotiate communication and meeting practices, and reconcile tensions between productivity demands and personal wellbeing. In another study, we performed a group autoethnography to unpack how accessibility in remote work is created (or disrupted at times) in an ability-diverse team. Collectively through these studies, we outline an agenda for cultivating inclusive and equitable work environments, highlighting opportunities for both technological improvements as well as reworking organizational policies to integrate accessible practices from the onset.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews, autoethnography, thematic analysis
Publications: CSCW 2021, ASSETS 2021.
video conference clipart

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

Past Projects


Gender-based Self-focus Bias in OpenStreetMap

Collaborators: Darren Gergle, Brent Hecht

Peer-production communities like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap have become important sources of high quality content that serve billions of human information needs and provide essential world knowledge to artificial intelligence systems. However, these peer-production communities are alleged to have participation disparities, with men significantly outnumbering women. Focusing on OpenStreetMap, this project investigates the relationship between gender participation disparities and content disparities. We are particularly interested in assessing whether men and women contribute diferently, and — to the extent that we see evidence of this — examining whether self-focus bias plays a role in governing the relationship between the two.

Methods: Quantitative analysis
Tools: Osmium, Python, R
Publication: CHI 2019
OpenStreetMap Logo

Smart Technologies for Neurodivergent Children

Collaborators: Moushumi Sharmin, Shameem Ahmed

In this project, we conducted a systematic literature review on smart technologies (wearables, smartphones, VR devices etc.) for neurodivergent children. Informed by our qualitative analysis on 149 peer-reviewed articless collected from ACM Digital Library, IEEE Xplore and PubMed, we proposed a set of implications to guide the design of autism support smart technologies.

Methods: Literature review, qualitative coding
Publication: CHI 2018
Photo showing two kids excited in front of a laptop

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Privacy preserving and Authentication in Genomic Databases

Collaborators: Tanzima Hashem, Nusrat Jahan Mozumder

In this project, we proposed a novel secret sharing approach to compute the probability of a patient to develop a specific disease without revealing sensitive data (patient's genome, name of the disease, disease marker of medical center, and the result of the query i.e. chances of the disease) to dishonest adversaries and ensuring authentication of the genomic data. We proved the practicality of our system via extensive experiments using real human genome datasets.

Methods: Algorithm design
Tools: Java, MySQL
Publications: JIP (2019), COMPSAC 2018.

Figure showing an example of Single Neucleotide Polymorphism

Open PhD Positions

I am seeking PhD students to join our IDEATE group (Inclusive Design for Equitable and Accessible Technologies and Experiences) at Northeastern University starting in Fall 2023. The mission and vision of our group will be to make collaboration, content creation, and learning more equitable for people with diverse abilities and disabilities. Please review my publications for more details about my research (lab website is under construction).

I am looking for students with expertise and interests in

  • Human-centered research involving various methods for data collection and analysis. These methods may include but are not limited to interviews, field observations, co-design sessions, focus groups, diary studies, exploratory and experimental user evaluation, field deployments, etc.
  • Programming and building user-centered systems/applications

If you see a good match, send me an email with a short description of your fit (e.g., relevant prior research experience) and your CV.

Students can work with me through the Computer Science (CS) PhD program (Deadline: Dec 15, 2022) or the Interdisciplinary Design and Media PhD program (Deadline: Dec 1, 2022). Feel free to mention my name in your application as one of the faculty members you are interested in working with. You may not find my name in the current faculty list at this point, since I have not started at Northeastern yet; but these links will take you to the lists of new CS and CAMD faculty. There are Zoom info sessions for prospective students in the CS PhD programs including a special session for applicants from underrepresented groups in computing. GRE is NOT required for the PhD programs in Computer Science or Interdisciplinary Design and Media. Please review the programs closely for coursework, English proficiency tests, and other requirements. Students who maintain satisfactory academic progress receive full funding for up to five years including tuition, stipend, and health insurance. Funding is provided through a combination of fellowship, research assistantship, or teaching assistantship. This link provides more information about financial support for CS PhD students.

At this time, there is no opening for undergraduate or master’s students in our group. Please check back later in Spring 2024.

CV

Click here to download my complete CV

Appointments
Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
  • Assistant Professor (incoming) | Khoury College of Computer Sciences and Department of Art + Design, College of Arts, Media & Design
  • Visiting Assistant Professor | Khoury College of Computer Sciences | October 2022 - August 2023

University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow | Center for Research & Education on Accessible Technology & Experiences (CREATE) and Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering | Mentored by Heather Feldner and Julie Kientz | September 2022 - August 2023

Education
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
  • PhD in Technology and Social Behavior | August 2022
  • MS in Technology and Social Behavior | March 2021

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology
  • BS in Computer Science and Engineering with Honors & Magna cum laude | September 2015

Research Experience
  • Graduate Research Assistant | Northwestern University | Advised by Darren Gergle and Anne Marie Piper | Fall 2017 - Summer 2022
  • Research Intern | Ability Team, Microsoft Research, USA | Summer 2020
  • Graduate Researcher | People, Space and Algorithms Group, Northwestern University | Mentored by Brent Hecht | Fall 2017 - Summer 2018
  • Researcher | Western Washington University, USA | Mentored by Moushumi Sharmin and Shameem Ahmed | Summer 2017
  • Undergraduate Researcher | Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology | Advised by Tanzima Hashem | 2014 - 2017

Awards, Honors, & Grants
  • Postdoc Research Award ($10,000) | Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington | 2022-23
  • Invited article in Communications of the ACM Research Highlights | 2022
  • Donald H. and Carolyn E. Ecroyd Fellowship | Dept of Communication Studies, Northwestern University | 2022
  • Rising Star in EECS | Organized by Massachusetts Institute of Technology | 2021
  • Best Paper Award | ACM CSCW 2021
  • Recognition for Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion (Paper) | ACM CSCW 2021
  • Best Paper Nomination | ACM ASSETS 2021
  • PhD Student Research Award | Dept of CS, Northwestern University | 2021
  • Dissertation Research Grant | Northwestern University | 2021 ($1,500)
  • Graduate Research Grant | Northwestern University | 2021-22 ($2,999)
  • Finalist (top 20) | Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship 2020
  • Best Paper Honorable Mention Award | ACM CHI 2020
  • Best Paper Honorable Mention Award | ACM CSCW 2019
  • Special Recognition for Outstanding Review | ACM CHI (4 times), ACM CSCW (2 times), ACM DIS
  • Conference Travel Grant | Northwestern University | 2018-2022 (~$6,000)
  • Best Paper Award | IEEE COMPSAC 2018
  • Student Travel Grant | ACM UbiComp 2018 ($600)
  • Student Scholarship | Grace Hopper Celebration 2018
  • Best Undergraduate Thesis Award | Computer Science and Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology | 2015
  • Best Technical Poster | Grace Hopper Celebration India 2014
  • Student Scholarship | Grace Hopper Celebration India 2014
  • Dean’s List Award | Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology | 2011 - 2015
  • University Merit Scholarship | Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology | 2011 - 2014

Teaching Experience
  • Northwestern University, Department of Computer Science/ Communication Studies | Winter 2022
    Teaching Assistant in COMP_SCI 314/ COMM_ST 351 - Technology and Human Interaction
  • University of Washington, Information School | Fall 2020
    Guest Lecturer in INFO 463 – Input and Interaction
  • United International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh | October 2015 - March 2017
    Lecturer, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
    Courses taught: Digital Logic Design (theory and lab), Computer Architecture, Electrical Circuits, Assembly Programming Language

Course Designed
  • Accessible Collaboration (course designed as one of the three PhD qualifying exams) | Fall 2021
    Supervised by Darren Gergle | Northwestern University

Contact

University of Washington
The Bill and Melinda Gates Center, #GC218
3800 E Stevens Way NE
Seattle, WA 98195, USA

maitraye [at] uw [dot] edu

Copyright © Maitraye Das. Powered by Start Bootstrap from Blackrock Digital and Typed.js from Matt Boldt.