Tanushree Mitra has been appointed assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. She is one of 27 new faculty members hired by the college for the 2017-18 academic year.

Mitra's research combines computer science and sociology, more popularly known as computational social science. Blending concepts from both these fields, she uncovers insights about social life and  human behavior online using large datasets.

"What excites me most about computer science is the interaction between computer systems and their human users and the plethora of new applications and opportunities that this can enable," said Mitra. 

At the university level, Mitra is one of 34 new faculty who will work collaboratively across multiple areas of study to address global challenges and provocative societal issues by leveraging Virginia Tech's interdisciplinary strengths in merging humanities and science, technology, engineering, and math research.

Her research areas of specialization speak to current popular online polemics, such as examining conspiratorial thinking among Twitter anti-vaxxers, as well as assessing credibility in social media and the powerful effect of gossip in organizational emails. Mitra has also delved into research strategies for obtaining high-quality crowd annotations and examined language in crowdfunding campaigns.

"The interdisciplinary nature of my work is a good fit for the emphasis on research, teaching, and service at Virginia Tech," she said. "Having been a strong contributor to an interdisciplinary community of scientists in my previous research group, I collaborated successfully with psychologists and computational linguists. I anticipate numerous opportunities for successful cross-disciplinary initiatives at Virginia Tech also."

Mitra received her bachelor's in computer engineering from the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology in Sikkim, India; her master's from Texas A&M; and her doctoral degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, both in computer science. She was a 2016 recipient of the IBM Ph.D. fellowship and a 2015 GVU-Foley Scholar.

"My background and life experiences have always driven my commitment to promote diversity, equality, and inclusion as an academic," said Mitra. "I am excited at the prospect of contributing to such a rich intellectual environment in Blacksburg, and beyond, where I'll be given the opportunity to teach and mentor the next generation of researchers."

Written by Amy Loeffler





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