Rising Stars 2020:

Mai ElSherief, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Georgia Institute of Technology

PhD '19 University of California, Santa Barbara

Areas of Interest

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computational Social Science
  • Natural Language Processing


Computational Methods for Next Generation Online Media Ecosystems


The ubiquitous social media landscape has created an ecosystem populated by a cacophony of opinion, true and false information, and an unprecedented quantity of data on many topics. While online information ecosystems provide freedom of expression and give voice to individuals, they have also suffered a wave of disorder due to the prevalence of malevolent online misuse, manifested as online harassment, cyberbullying, and hate speech; and online misinformation, such as fake news. These problems present unprecedented challenges because they “cannot be solved in a traditional linear fashion, since the problem definition evolves as new possible solutions are considered and/or implemented”

As a researcher in Social Computing, the computational methods I develop augment the human knowledge for understanding benevolent online social movements and mitigating harmful online social content through the unique lens of social media. I curate socially impactful datasets, analyze them for deepened understanding of behavior and linguistic patterns, and build Natural Language Processing (NLP) models that improve the classification and prediction of online misuse.


Mai ElSherief is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech within the Social Dynamics and Wellbeing Lab advised by Munmun De Choudhury. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Computer Science department at UC, Santa Barbara within the Mobility Management and Networking (MOMENT) Lab, advised by Elizabeth Belding and William Wang in 2019. Her research interests lie in the intersection of Social Computing, Natural Language Processing, and Online Social Networks, specifically causes of social good. Her Ph.D. thesis focuses on developing computational methods for improving the detection and characterization of online hate speech and communities of hate in addition to characterizing offline street harassment and online anti-gender-based violence social movements. She has been a summer research intern at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University understanding anti-immigration sentiment and the discursive practices of online hate groups. She was awarded the 2017 Fiona and Michael Goodchild Graduate mentoring award for her distinguished research mentoring of undergraduate students.

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