Kate's Homepage

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. My research sits at the intersection of computer science and social science and falls within the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). One major focus of my work examines the use of social media during crisis events, specifically looking at how the converging audience (aka, the "crowd") can contribute—and is already contributing—to crisis response efforts.

Using a combination of empirical methods, including qualitative, computational and network analysis, I examine both small group and large scale interaction online within the context of disasters and other mass disruption events, studying how digital volunteers and other members of the crowd work to filter and shape the information space. 

In my lab—the Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation (emCOMP) lab—students are working on several projects in this domain: examining information flow after disaster events with a focus on the role of journalists and crisis communicators; examining how the crowd questions or challenges rumors spreading after crisis events; and developing a collaborative tool digital volunteers to support them in curating social media feeds.

At a higher level, we are examining how digital volunteerism during crisis events informs what we know about crowdwork and collective intelligence.

Please read my recent blogpost if you’re looking for more information about my work on disinformation and political propaganda.


I received my PhD in Technology, Media and Society  in 2012 from the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado, where I worked with Leysia Palen and Project EPIC. I received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for my PhD work.

In 1997, I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford, where I was also on the women's basketball team. My first career, as a professional basketball player, spanned 12 seasons (in 9 years), 10 teams, 5 countries and 3 continents. I played my last season on the island of Ibiza in Spain. I sometimes wonder why I quit, but then my sore back reminds me.



Email: kstarbi at uw dot edu
Twitter: @katestarbird

© Kate Starbird 2017