Research Experiences for Undergraduates

MDI and the Computer Science Department are co-hosting an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site. This REU Site aims not only to teach students about computer science research but also to help them understand how researchers in other disciplines use computer science algorithms and analytic tools to generate evidence for developing public policy.

Summer 2024 REU Cohort

As communication patterns are changing rapidly, citizens have more sources of information from which to choose. Recent research shows that amid this multiplicity of sources, citizens are increasingly using those that tend to confirm their prior or existing attitudes and beliefs, rather than engaging with a range of alternative views (Iyengar & Hahn, 2009; Stroud, 2010). This is one reason social media has become a natural place to obtain and share news. As people increasingly consume the news through social media this results in widespread diffusion of misinformation (Silverman & Singer-Vine, 2016; Budak et al., 2011). This summer’s cohort will focus on emerging misinformation detection using a combination of candidate conversation, survey responses, newspaper articles, social media posts, and search trends in the summer leading up to the 2024 Presidential elections. Students will develop and compare different learning models, starting with models used in previous elections. Finally, they will consider misinformation sources in the dark web and measure their influence on misinformation spread.

REU Students

Jahir Bakari (He/Him)

University of Maryland Baltimore County ’25

Pleasant Ballenger (He/Him)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ’25

Claire Chou (She/Her)

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign ’25

Diego DiMattina (He/Him)

University of Virginia Main Campus ’25

Kenedy Ducheine (She/Her)

University of South Florida Main Campus ’25

Aiden Ehrenreich (He/Him)

Georgetown University ’26

Caroline Field (She/Her)

High Point University ’25

Kylie Griffiths (She/Her)

University of Oregon ’25

Lucy Olander (She/Her)

Georgetown University ’26

Katie Wilson (She/Her)

Smith College ’26

REU Faculty Mentors

Sarah Adel Bargal (She/Her)

Computer Science, Assistant Professor

Michael Bailey (He/Him)

Department of Government and McCourt School of Public Policy, Colonel William J. Walsh Professor

Leticia Bode (She/Her)

Department of Communication Culture and Technology, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor

Micah Sherr (He/Him)

Department of Computer Science, Callahan Family Professor

Lisa Singh (She/Her)

Director, Massive Data Institute
Sonneborn Chair | Chair and Professor, Department of Computer Science | Professor, McCourt School of Public Policy

Tiago Ventura (He/Him)

McCourt School of Public Policy, Assistant Professor