C. Estelle Smith, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Colorado Boulder Department of Information Science, working with Brian Keegan and Chenhao Tan. She is working to support an NSF-sponsored grant to study genealogical relationships, behavioral sequences, and spiritual/social support in online communities.

Estelle completed her PhD in Computer Science with a social computing emphasis at GroupLens Research at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She was co-advised by Professors Loren Terveen (Department of Computer Science & Engineering) and Susan O’Conner-Von (Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing). Her dissertation explores spiritual and social support for users of Online Health Communities such as CaringBridge, where patients and caregivers can turn for support as they navigate life-threatening illness. Her interdisciplinary research has also touched on  topics like Human-Centered Machine Learning and Science Communications/Public Engagement in HCI (CV available here).

Estelle’s Story

Estelle draws inspiration and purpose from her eclectic and ever-evolving collection of life experiences. She grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and has also lived in Costa Rica, the UK, and Austria, interspersed with lots of international travel. She holds a BA in English (Creative Writing, 2010), a BS in Neuroscience (2015), and a PhD in Computer Science (2020), along with three years of experience at San Francisco tech start-ups between degrees and freelance side gigs in Science Writing. She has bicycled across the USA, run a marathon, and dreams of someday kayaking the Amazon.

In Estelle’s professional day-to-day, she is a passionate researcher, communicator, and educator. She is deeply grateful and humbled to participate in collaborative engagements with impactful non-profit organizations such as CaringBridge and the Wikimedia Foundation. In her personal day-to-day, she loves to frequent yoga and rock climbing gyms,  go hiking in the Flatirons, and enjoy all the skiing, mountain biking, and camping adventures Colorado has to offer.


Complete CV Available Here.


Charles Chuankai Zhang, Mo Houtti, C. Estelle Smith, and Loren Terveen. Working for the Invisible Machines or Pumping Information into an Empty Void? An Exploration of Wikidata Contributors’ Motivations. Accepted at CSCW 2022.

C. Estelle Smith, Diana Freed, and Susan O’Conner-Von. How Can Technology Better Support Spiritual Care? Guidance and Future Innovations for Spiritual Care in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Accepted Workshop at Spiritual Care Association 2022: Caring for the Human Spirit Conference.


C. Estelle Smith, William Lane, Hannah Hillberg, Daniel Kluver, Loren Terveen, and Svetlana Yarosh. Effective Strategies in Crowd-Powered Cognitive Reappraisal Systems: A Field Deployment of the Flip*Doubt Web Application for Mental Health. CSCW 2021. Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5% of submissions). (Download from ACM | local copy (no paywall)

C. Estelle Smith, Avleen Kaur, Katie Z. Gach, Loren Terveen, Mary Jo Kreitzer, and Susan O’Conner-Von. 2021. What is Spiritual Support and How Might It Impact the Design of Online Health Communities?  CSCW 2021. (Download from ACM | local copy (no paywall))

Avleen Kaur, C. Estelle Smith, and Loren Terveen. Sway Together, Stay Together: Visualizing Spiritual Support Networks Through the SoulGarden Prototype. CSCW 2021 Poster. (Download from ACM | local copy (no paywall))


Ph.D. Dissertation Defense. December 18, 2020. Beyond Social Support: Spiritual Support as a Novel Design Dimension in Sociotechnical Systems. ( Download Dissertation | Watch Recording of Thesis Defense )

C. Estelle Smith, Zachary Levonian, Haiwei Ma, Robert Giaquinto, Gemma Lein-Mcdonough, Zixuan Li, Susan O’Conner-Von, and Svetlana Yarosh. 2020. “I Cannot Do All of this Alone”: Exploring Instrumental and Prayer Support in Online Health Communities. Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (ToCHI). (Download from ACM | local copy (no paywall))

C. Estelle Smith, Bowen Yu, Anjali Srivastava, Aaron Halfaker, Loren Terveen, and Haiyi Zhu. 2020. Keeping Community in the Loop: Understanding Wikipedia Stakeholder Values for Machine Learning-Based Systems. Proc. CHI 2020. (Acceptance Rate: 24.3%)  Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5% of submissions). (Download from ACM | local copy (no paywall))

C. Estelle Smith, Eduardo Nevarez, and Haiyi Zhu. 2020. Disseminating Research News in Human-Computer Interaction: Perceived Hazards, How-To’s, and Opportunities for Innovation. Proc. CHI 2020. (Acceptance Rate: 24.3%) (Download from ACM) | local copy (no paywall))

Sarah A. Gilber, Casey Fiesler, Lindsay Blackwell, Michael Ann DeVito, Michaelanne Dye, Shamika Goddard, Kishonna L. Gray, David Nemer, C. Estelle Smith. 2020. Public Scholarship and CSCW: Trials and Twitterations. CSCW2020 Workshop. (Download from ACM | local copy (no paywall))

Mark Butzer, Zachary Levonian, Yangyang Luo, Kathleen Watson, Ye Yuan, C. Estelle Smith, Svetlana Yarosh. Grandtotem: Supporting International and Intergenerational Relationships. CSCW 2020 Poster. (Download from ACM  | local copy (no paywall))


C. Estelle Smith, Xinyi Wang, Raghav Karumur, and Haiyi Zhu. 2018. [Un]breaking News: Design Opportunities for Enhancing Collaboration in Scientific Media Production. Proc. CHI 2018. (Acceptance Rate: 25.7%) Best Paper Honorable Mention Award (Top 5% of submissions). (Download from ACM | local copy (no paywall))

Niels van Berkel, Julio Vega, Ankit Kariryaa, C. Estelle Smith, and Ye Yuan. CHI 2018 Conference Report. IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 17, no. 03, pp. 58-63, Jul., 2018. (Download from IEEE | local copy (no paywall))


Haiwei Ma, C. Estelle Smith, Lu He, Saumik Narayanan, Robert A. Giaquinto, Roni Evans, Linda Hanson, and Svetlana Yarosh. 2017. Write for Life: Persisting in Online Health Communities with Expressive Writing and Social Support. CSCW 2017. (Download from ACM | local copy (no paywall)) (Acceptance Rate: 27.3%)