Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction, 2011Thesis: Sensemaking with Shared Visualizations: Investigating the Effects of Visualizations in Remote Collaborative Analysis
Carnegie Mellon University
Advisors: Sara Kiesler & Susan Fussell
M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction, 2009Carnegie Mellon University
B.A. in Engineering, Cum Laude with Honors in Field, 2003Harvard University
Selected Research Projects
Collaborative Problem Solving with Visualizations 2006 – presentDo visualizations improve collaborative problem solving? My research goals are (1) to understand information exchange in distributed collaborations, and (2) to study the impact of different visualizations on information sharing.
Collaborators: Sara Kiesler, Susan Fussel, Aniket Kittur & Ruogu Kang
Understanding productive climates for virtual research collaborations 2009 – presentWhat makes some collaborations more successful than others? Through in-depth interviews and surveys, this research seeks to identify institutional environment factors that influence successful research collaborations which span multiple institutions and disciplines.
Collaborators: Sara Kiesler, Jonathon Cummings & Reza Zadeh
Understanding the Role of Technology for Business Analysts 2008 – presentWith the proliferation of web 2.0 tools, how do real workers decide which tool to use and for which purpose? I conducted a series of interviews and observations of business analysts at a large, global company to understand the roles of technology and information sharing.
Collaborators: Tara Matthews, Jeffrey Pierce, Eser Kandogan, Eben Haber & Tom Moran
Imagery and Risk Perceptions 2007 – 2009Can realistic imagery of natural disasters compel individuals at risk to take proper precautions? I conducted a national survey to explore how photographic images of disasters affect risk perceptions of those who live in areas likely to be hit by those disasters.
Collaborators: Sara Kiesler & Susan Fussell
Persuasive Technology for Environmental Sustainability 2006 – 2007With the impact of unsustainable practices on the planet becoming increasingly apparent, can user interface design encourage sustainable decisions? Through a recipe website, we examined design factors that help people make environmental sustainable choices.
Collaborators: Turadg Aleahmad & Jeff Wong
IBM Research - AlmadenResearch Intern | Summer 2009
Conducted an ethnographic study of business analysts that included in-depth interviews and observations on everyday work practices at a large, global company to understand how technology is currently used and to discover potential technology innovations.
Research Intern | Summer 2008
Designed and conducted a field study that included a survey and in-depth interviews on an activity-centric computing system used by nearly 32,000 workers at a large, global company to understand how the system supplemented or replaced other collaborative tools.
RAND Corporation, Infrastructure, Safety and Environment Unit 2004 – 2006Research Assistant. Performed statistical analysis on large datasets to assess quality of patient healthcare. Built a searchable database of resources on cyber security events. Maintained an online-collaborative work space for a multi-organization team.
Harvard University School of Public Health, Environmental Health DepartmentLab Manager, Occupational Biomechanics Laboratory | 2003 – 2004
Assisted in budget planning, grant proposal writing, and IRB submissions.
Research Assistant, Occupational Biomechanics Laboratory | 2002 – 2003
Designed and conducted human subject experiments to develop a mathematical model of finger joint mechanics during tapping on a computer keyswitch.
Methods | interviews, grounded theory, survey design, contextual inquiry, think-aloud user studies, cognitive walkthrough, heuristic evaluation, directed storytelling, personas & scenarios, storyboarding, speed-dating, prototyping
Software | SAS, JMP, SPSS, Dreamweaver, Stata, Weka, Access
Programming | C, HTML, Java, Flash Action Script
Language | English (native), French (intermediate), Spanish (intermediate), Tamil (spoken)
Honors & Awards
ACM CHI 2010 Best Note Nominee
IBM Frances Allen Fellowship 2009
IBM PhD Fellowship 2009
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Honorable Mention 2007, 2008
National Science Foundation TESS Grant 2007
California Byrd Scholarship 1999 – 2002
What's in a move? Normal disruption and a design challenge. Reza Zadeh, Aruna D. Balakrishnan, Sara Kiesler, Jonathon N. Cummings. To appear in ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), May 2011. [Download]
Research Team Integration: What it is and why it matters. Aruna D. Balakrishnan, Sara Kiesler, Jonathon N. Cummings, Reza Zadeh. To appear in ACM Computer Supported Collaborative Work, Mar 2011. [Download]
Fitting an Activity-Centric System into an Ecology of Workplace Tools. Aruna D. Balakrishnan, Tara Matthews, Thomas P. Moran. In Proc ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), Apr 2010. [Best Note Nominee] [Download] [Link]
Pitfalls of Information Access with Visualizations in Remote Collaborative Analysis. Aruna D. Balakrishnan, Susan R. Fussell, Sara Kiesler, Aniket Kittur. In Proc ACM Computer Supported Collaborative Work, Feb 2010. [Download] [Link]
Fishing for Sustainability: The Effects of Indirect and Direct Persuasion. Turadg Aleahmad, Aruna D. Balakrishnan, Jeffrey Wong, Susan R. Fussell, Sara Kiesler. In Proc ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) Extended Abstracts, Apr 2008. [Download] [Link]
A Review of Methods to Measure Health-related Productivity Loss. Soeren Mattke, Aruna Balakrishnan, Giacomo Bergamo, Sydne J. Newberry, (2007). American Journal of Managed Care, 13(4): 211–217. [Download] [Link]
Freedom and Information: Assessing Publicly Available Data Regarding U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Securty. Eric Landree, Christopher Paul, Beth Grill, Aruna Balakrishnan, Bradley Wilson, Martin C. Libicki, (2007). Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, TR-360-DHS. [Link]
Investing in cyber security: The path to good practice. Shari L. Pfleeger, Rachel Rue, Jay Horwitz, Aruna D. Balakrishnan, (2006). Cutter IT Journal, 19(1): 11–18. [Link]
Horizontal force components can reduce finger joint torques during tapping on a computer keyswitch. Aruna D. Balakrishnan, Devin Jindrich, Jack T. Dennerlein, (2006). Human Factors, 48(1): 121–129. [Download] [Link]
Measuring and Reporting the Performance of Disease Management Programs. Soeren Mattke, Giacomo Bergamo, Aruna Balakrishnan, Steven Martino, Nicholas V. Vakkur, (2006). Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, WR-400. [Link]
Revisiting US-VISIT: U.S. Immigration Processes, Concerns, and Consequences. David S. Ortiz, Shari L. Pfleeger, Aruna D. Balakrishnan, Merril Miceli, (2006). Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, OP-140-RC. [Link]
Science and Technology Research and Development Capacity in Japan: Observations from Leading U.S. Researchers and Scientists. Anny Wong, Aruna D. Balakrishnan,James Garluski, Thor Hogan, Eric Landree, Maureen McArthur, (2004). Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, TR-211-MRI. [Link]
Effects of keyswitch design and finger posture on finger joint kinematics and dynamics during tapping on computer key-switches. Devin Jindrich, Aruna D. Balakrishnan, Jack T. Dennerlein, (2004). Journal of Clinical Biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 19(6): 600–8. [Download] [Link]
Human Factors, Graduate Teaching Assistant | Fall 2011Carnegie Mellon University, HCI Institute | Professor Sara Kiesler
Human-Computer Interaction Methods Graduate Teaching Assistant | Fall 2008Carnegie Mellon University, HCI Institute | Professors Bonnie John and John Zimmerman
Qualitative research methods in Applied Research Methods, Guest Lecturer | Fall 2007Carnegie Mellon University, HCI Institute | Professor Sara Kiesler
Professional Service & Activities
ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) Doctoral Consortium 2011
OurCS 2011 Conference Papers and Posters Submission Committee
ACM CHI Conference Student Volunteer 2007, 2009
ACM CHI Conference Reviewer 2009, 2010, 2011
ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) Reviewer 2010, 2011
Student Member, Association of Computing Machinery
Carnegie Mellon Women in Computer ScienceGraduate Mentor Program Coordinator | 2007 – present
Undergraduate Mentor | 2006 – present
Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania 2007 – presentOutreach Volunteer. Educate underprivileged women and youth about reproductive health.
Carnegie Mellon Human-Computer Interaction InstitutePhD Student Seminar Coordinator | 2007 – 2009
Graduate Student Association Representative | 2008 – 2009