Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing Ph.D. student Michaelanne Dye received a Microsoft Research Fellowship award for her research on internet access in Cuba during this time of social and political transition.
The award will cover 100 percent of her tuition and fees for two academic years, a $4,000-per-year conference and travel allowance to attend professional conferences or seminars, and the opportunity for a 12-week internship with Microsoft Research in one of their labs.
“It’s quite humbling,” Dye said of the honor. “There are a lot of deserving students that are doing a lot of important research, so to be selected is a major honor. Also, having the contacts that this opens up with the amazing researchers affiliated with Microsoft is invaluable to me.”
Dye, who studies human-centered computing in the School of Interactive Computing, supplied her fellowship application materials for the fellowship to the Georgia Institute of Technology and was subsequently chosen as one of the nominees for the school. Dye said that her advisors, Amy Bruckman and Neha Kumar, were invaluable in the process.
“They wrote letters of recommendation, reviewed my materials, and a lot more,” she said. “They were an incredible help.”
After submitting long and short research proposals, she was chosen as a finalist by Microsoft in November and then attended several in-person interviews at the New England office in Boston, Mass. There, Dye met with multiple researchers who were most aligned with the type of work that she does. She found out in late January that she had been selected as one of the recipients of the prestigious fellowship.
Dye’s research explores human-computer interaction and development issues from a social computing perspective. Drawing on her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Master’s in Cultural Anthropology, Dye uses qualitative methods to investigate socio-technical issues surrounding internet and social media use and non-use among low-resource communities during times of political, economic, and social transitions.
Her current research is in Cuba, where, up until recently, internet access was limited to 5 percent of the population. Through fieldwork, observation, and interviews with Cubans, Dye is developing a holistic understanding of how new internet infrastructures interact with cultural values and local constraints.
Using Cuba as a case study, her work explores how future internet access initiatives might successfully map onto local information infrastructures to provide meaningful, sustainable engagements among under-connected communities in resource constrained parts of the world.