About Me


This is what I do.

Hi, I'm Leesha! I use human-centered design to build innovative technology that will enhance and extend the natural ways in which humans reflect, learn, grow, and provide support for one another.

Right now, I'm a first year Ph.D. student in the Technology and Social Behavior program at Northwestern, where I work with Dr. Haoqi Zhang in Delta Lab. I'm currently working on a crowdsourcing system called CrowdCheer, where I explore how I might afford crowds the ability to monitor a user's experience and provide continuous/real-time support when users need it. I'm looking at marathons as a use case and thinking about how a crowd of spectators might provide distributed motivational support for runners.

I've also been exploring Agile Research Studios, a model for research training in which students collaborate to learn and conduct research and develop their abilities to be more self-directed learners. Over the next few years, I hope to study how technology might facilitate self-reflection and helpseeking within research communities of practice, and further explore possible learning and growth outcomes for students.

In my free time, I work with Brave Initiatives, a weeklong camp that empowers high school girls to be agents of change in the world through design thinking, coding skills, and leadership training. I develop the curriculum, teach coding modules, and build up self-efficacy and growth mindsets among the girls.


papers | notes:

Agile Research Studios: Orchestrating Communities of Practice to Advance Research Training.
Haoqi Zhang, Matthew Easterday, Elizabeth Gerber, Daniel Rees Lewis, Leesha Maliakal.
CSCW 2017     [Paper]  

posters | abstracts | wips:

CrowdCheer: Situational Crowdsourcing of Motivation for Runners.
Leesha Maliakal.
Grace Hopper ACM Student Research Competition 2015     [Abstract]   [Poster]   [Slides]

awards | fellowships:

Northwestern University Post-Baccalaureate Research Fellowship, March 2015 - September 2016
Grace Hopper ACM Student Research Competition 2nd Place Finalist, October 2015
Northwestern Undergraduate Research Grant, February 2015

news:

10 EECS Undergraduate Students in Haoqi Zhang's DTR Course Receive Undergraduate Research Grant Funding , McCormick School of Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

BraveCamp: A Coding Camp for Girls that Teaches More than HTML , Hunny Magazine

Graduate Wins Second Place in ACM Student Research Competition , McCormick School of Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Sisters in STEM , Regina Dominican Veritas Magazine 2015