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


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