Meedan is pleased to welcome Smriti Singh to our dedicated research team! We’re excited to support her deeper dive into work with Natural Language Processing and look forward to her projects.
Learn more about Smriti below:
1. What has been your experience before you joined Meedan?
I’m currently wrapping up my undergraduate degree at Manipal Institute of Technology, India. My major is Information Technology, and I’ve taken up a minor in Big Data. During my undergraduate, I have focused on taking small, dedicated steps to establishing a career in natural language processing (NLP) research. I spent a lot of time working on various projects and learning about different technologies. I also spent a significant amount of time developing my leadership skills and working on initiatives that promote women empowerment within my college community.
On the technical side of things, I’ve worked on various use cases of applied NLP research, such as sexism detection in popular sitcoms, anxiety detection across social media platforms, sexist threat detection on Twitter, analyzing factors that affect domestic violence victims during the COVID-19 pandemic, and identifying child predators in chat rooms. I’m highly motivated to produce research that can contribute to solving social challenges and improve the quality of our lives, which is why I feel extremely lucky to be working at a company that is deeply committed to making a positive impact on the world.
From a holistic perspective, I’ve been an active member of communities like ACM-W Manipal, where I’ve developed mentorship systems and research study groups for young women, so that they can gain confidence and grow both personally and professionally. I used to contribute to a couple of my University’s college blogs too. I’ve written about a variety of topics, ranging from the Avengers to environmental awareness. I’ve also written articles about many conventionally taboo topics, such as sex education and rape culture.
At Meedan, I hope to use a combination of my research and leadership skills to add value to the team and their global impact. So far, I’ve had a great time working with everyone and getting to know the different problem statements that the company is working on.
2. Tell us about one exciting and insightful experience that has shaped your perspective and work.
Ever since I can remember, I have been ardent about the potential of technology and curious to explore how we can leverage it to improve the quality of our lives. My interest in technology most likely stems from having seen my father work in the technology industry over many years. Eighteen years ago, I remember sitting next to him with a toy laptop and pretending to work beside him. These days, I often sit next to him with a real laptop and I no longer have to pretend to be working :)
That aside, I believe that my interest in using technology to solve social challenges stems from having seen how discrimination limits people from achieving their true potential. Though I come from a privileged family and have been provided with unconditional support to build a career, I recognise that not everyone has been this lucky. As an advocate for diversity and inclusion in technology, I firmly believe that technology can help make the world a better place. That’s another reason why I consider myself lucky to be a part of this organization, where their mission statement closely aligns with my personal long term career goals.
3. What’s a research project you’re excited about right now?
My first research project as a part of Meedan aims to identify questions on social media and analyze the geographic, temporal and demographic variation in questions asked during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another important question this research aims to answer is whether globally diverse informational needs are being met by official healthcare authorities. I think it’s not only exciting, but also essential to capture the variance of the nature of these questions and how they compare to the information provided by leading healthcare authorities. This will help us better understand diverse informational needs and thus, better prepare for future healthcare crises.
4. What brought you to Meedan?
I like to believe that it was a little bit of luck that brought me to Meedan. I’ve been working with Scott Hale, our Director of Research, on a side project for a long time now. I met Scott through a colleague who needed help on this project. When I expressed my interest in joining Meedan for a research internship, Scott was extremely supportive… and here I am! I’m very thankful for this opportunity (Thank you Scott, Ed and others!) and I’m sure that we can do some great things together while I’m here.
The team culture here is possibly one of the best parts about Meedan. Diversity is not just accepted here, it is embraced. I like how everyone’s opinions are valued here and I find it really admirable that despite being a globally remote company, we have found ways to connect and bond with each other.
I’m excited to work on challenging research problems at the intersection of healthcare, misinformation and gender bias. I’d really love to contribute to these research problems in such a way that the solutions can be deployed to make a real-world impact. Further, I’m hoping that over time, my leadership skills will also be of use in the team!
5. Tell us some fun facts about Smriti.
- I maintain a fairly active lifestyle. I try to workout for anywhere between an hour to two hours for at least 5-6 days a week. I love dance workouts, aerobics and HIIT!
- I love binging on shows and watching movies. Three of my favorite genres are romance, crime and thrillers.
- I’m a foodie with a huge sweet tooth. I’m crazy for basically anything with cheese or sugar. (Or both… cheesecake for the win)
- Online conversations are heavily influenced by news coverage, like the 2022 Supreme Court decision on abortion. The relationship is less clear between big breaking news and specific increases in online misinformation.
- The tweets analyzed were a random sample qualitatively coded as “misinformation” or “not misinformation” by two qualitative coders trained in public health and internet studies.
- This method used Twitter’s historical search API
- The peak was a significant outlier compared to days before it using Grubbs' test for outliers for Chemical Abortion (p<0.2 for the decision; p<0.003 for the leak) and Herbal Abortion (p<0.001 for the decision and leak).
- All our searches were case insensitive and could match substrings; so, “revers” matches “reverse”, “reversal”, etc.