Current Research

Anonymity, Verbal Person-Centeredness, and Indentity in Online Recovery and Social Support

Advised by Lana Yarosh

Social support research has investigated reciprocal self-disclosure and when it occurs in practice, but little is known about the effects of reciprocal self-disclosure on support seekers. Inspired by prior work investigating the effects of verbal person centeredness (VPC), we explore the interaction effects of VPC and identity in 12-step recovery, a context that promotes anonymity.

Classifying Verbal Person-Centerdness in Online Health Communities Through Transfer Learning Models

Advised by Lana Yarosh and Andrew High

30 years of research has shown the diverse and impactful effects of verbal person centeredness (VPC) on social support outcomes. Manual classification of VPC has traditionally been tedious and attempts to automate this process have proved not to generalize. We combine multiple datasets from prior work and use modern NLP approaches to classify VPC and evaluate generalizability on an online health community.

Validation of a Classification Model for Naturalistic Expressive Writing

Haiwei Ma | Advised by Lana Yarosh

Expressive writing has been shown to have beneficial health effects. We build on the baselines from prior ML approaches in this space and validate multiple methods for classifying expressive writing beyond accuracy measures using test validity, test-retest reliability, and evaluations of generalizability.

Technology Mediated Disclosure: HIV, Stigma, and Sensitive Self-Disclosure

Fernando Maestre | Advised by Lana Yarosh

Sensitive self-disclosure can be challenging, especially when it involves highly stigmatizing identities. Using a low-fidelity prototype derived from a prior workshop with people living with HIV, we probe participants on using technology to facilitate sensitive self-disclosure in both remote and in-person scenarios.


Research Assistant

August 2021 (Current)


Investigating the design of social computing systems through empirically studying of online health communities; using mixed methods approaches to design, implement, and evaluate human centered systems.

Software Engineer

July 2019 - May 2021


Designed and implemented services at scale to host Dynamics 365 apps in Docker containers on Service Fabric clusters; Lead the design and implementation of my team's work on Project Uno (the seamless integration of CDS and Dynamics 365 infrastructure systems)


September 2020 - July 2021


Created software solutions for joint venture partnerships; Own the full-stack implementation of the iOS/Android application for the successful Kickstarter doghouse

IS Software Developer Intern

May 2018 - August 2018

Federated Mutual Insurance

Developed SQL for companywide Multi Product Data Mart reports; Automated the companies process for building SSRS reports with VBA Script; Presented R&D for an Agile approach to software development to management

Research Intern

May 2017 - August 2017

UNC Charlotte HCI Lab

Worked independently on the backend recommender system by using machine learning to classify recipe data; conducted empirical study to develop personalized model for curiosity (see Publications and Awards)

Publications and Awards

"Some other poor soul's problems": a peer recommendation intervention for health-related social support

Zachary Levonian, Matthew Zent, Ngan Nguyen, Matthew McNamara, Loren Terveen, Svetlana Yarosh

Under review for CSCW 2023 | Pre-print

Unstoppable Together Hackathon

1st Place - 2020

24-hour hackathon innovating for Jira, Confluence, and Atlassian users; automation, integrations, machine learning, or Tempo themed; created MyTempo, a Alexa based skill integrating with Jira and Tempo.

Video | Github | Blog

Fargo Hackathon - Emerging Prairie

1st Place - 2019

24-hour hackathon for behavioral and mental health issues; developed My Hero, a mobile web app written using Blazor for connecting individuals with peer-support mentors.

Github | Blog

Microsoft Fargo Hackathon

1st Place People's Choice - 2019

72-hour open themed hackathon; created Cyber Attack, an educational game developed in Unity for use in teaching important cyber security concepts to non-technical individuals.


UNC Charlotte Research Symposium

1st Place - 2017

Poster talk and research symposium for REU students working in HCI, Visualization, and Vision and Image Analysis Labs; presented personal contributions to Q-Chef: A User Experience Based on AI Models of Curiosity

Poster | Abstract | Blog