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See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

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Events

Join us for COMMColloqium. The event takes place on Friday, December 1, at 1:00 pm in 102 Mann Library Building. Associate Professor Brooke Duffy will present “Visibility in the Creator Economy: Navigating the Promises and Precarities of Platform Labor.” The colloquium is followed by a reception, located in The Hub of the Department of Communication.

Grants

Professor Natalie Bazarova et al. received a $1.2 million NSF grant. Natalie serves as Co-PI on the project, “Collaborative Upstanding: Leveraging Conversational AI for Combating Youth Cyberbullying.” The proposed research aims to develop AI conversational interventions that cultivate bystander interventions among adolescents. The researchers will (1) identify conversational strategies that lead to more effective human-human collaborative upstanding, (2) build on the identified strategies, prototype human-AI collaborative upstanding, and evaluate a set of AI conversational agents that improve it, and (3) deploy and formally evaluate the conversational AI on Social Media TestDrive, an online learning platform developed by Social Media Lab and used by more than a million early adolescents and educators across the U.S. and globally.

In tandem with her $5 million NSF-funded Deception Awareness and Resilience Training project (DART), Natalie and her colleagues released “DeepCover,” a digital spy game designed to provide insight into how online scammers think. Agents of DART are tasked with protecting others from an evil, deceitful organization called SCAMM (Society for Covert Attacks and Mass Manipulation). Natalie is a Co-PI on the DART project, which aims to protect older adults, who are disproportionately targeted by online deception.

Associate Professor Neil Lewis, Jr., (with Lisa French & Tashara Leak) received an $8 million grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant sponsors the project “Double Up Food Bucks: Innovating Solutions to Improve Food Access,” on which Neil serves as Co-PI. The goal of the project is to test new strategies for expanding access to fresh fruits and vegetables via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). With partners at the Field & Fork Network, the Action Research Collaborative will test the effects of technological, communication, and structural interventions to determine which strategies (or combination of strategies) maximize food access benefits for low-income people living all across New York State. The project was featured in the Cornell Chronicle article, NYS Families to Access More Fresh Produce via $8M USDA Grant.”

Honors

Graduate student Julia Sebastien competed in the inaugural MIT Ignite: Generative AI Entrepreneurship Competition. From 100 applications, 12 teams were chosen, and Julia and her team were among the six teams who were each awarded $15,000 for their venture. (See pic below.) Their project, eMote, is an app that “allows users to identify their emotions, visualize them as art using the co-creative process of generative AI, and reflect on them through journaling, thereby assisting school counselors and therapists.” Winners will have the opportunity to develop their projects with the support of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab.

Media

Research Associate Dominic Balog-Way was quoted in the Cornell Chronicle in a feature-length article about replacing lead bullets with copper bullets. The article, “To Help Eagles, NYS Deer Hunters Can Choose Non-Toxic Ammo,” features research by Dominic, Professor and Vice Provost Katherine McComas, and graduate student Alisius Leong. (See pic below.)

Associate Professor Brooke Duffy was quoted in the Fortune article “Instagram vs. Reality: Influencers Expose the Secret Debt Lurking behind Designer Outfits and Glamorous Vacations.”

Grad student Colten Meisner was quoted in the Fast Company article “TikTok is America’s Next Major News Source.”

Publications

Research Associate Norman Porticella, Professor Jeff Niederdeppe, et. al., November 2023, Recruitment Methods, Inclusion, and Successful Participation in a Longitudinal Clinical Trial Using Ecological Momentary Assessment,” Health Education & Behavior. Underrepresentation of historically marginalized populations in clinical trials continues to threaten the validity of health intervention research. The authors compared the effectiveness of proactive and reactive recruitment strategies in terms of inclusion, task completion, and retention within a relatively burdensome 14-day randomized controlled trial of cigarette package health messages.

Pics!

Julia Sebastien received an honorary “large check” for her MIT Ignite award.

Pictured are Katherine McComas and Dominica Balog-Way preparing for their interview with the Cornell Chronicle about their research on communicating lead ammunition risks to wildlife and human health.

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