Ph.D. graduate, Tara Zimmerman selected for the Computing Innovation Fellows Program

The Department of Information Science congratulates Tara Zimmerman, a recent Information Science Ph.D. graduate who was selected for the Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) Program for 2020. Funded by the National Science Foundation and offered in partnership with the Computing Research Association (CRA) and the Computing Community Consortium (CCC), the program offers 2-year postdoctoral opportunities in computing, with activities to support and facilitate career development and community building for the Fellows.

The program acknowledges the major impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the academic job search and serves as a means of providing a bridge for recent and soon-to-be graduates by providing a career enhancing opportunity.

Tara Zimmerman
                         Tara Zimmerman

Tara, who graduated from the Information Science Ph.D. program this summer has seen the impact of COVID-19 on her job search. She says she applied for the fellowship “because most of the academic positions I had applied for were either closed or frozen after COVID-19 hit hard in March”.

“I am so thankful for this opportunity to continue publishing research and enhancing my CV so I will be well-positioned to apply for assistant professor positions at the end of the fellowship," said Tara.

The goal of the CIFellows Program according to its website, is to "create career growth opportunities that support maintaining the computing research pipelines." The program is open to all researchers whose work falls under the umbrella of the NSF Computing and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate. Applicants to the program were evaluated on various criteria such as track record of research accomplishments and the merit of their Fellowship Plan.

Zimmerman's research interests include information behavior, information theory, social media, and misinformation. Her dissertation was titled "Examining Human Information Behavior on Social Media: Introducing the Concept of Social Noise." Her mentor during the Fellows Program will be Dr. Kenneth Fleischmann, at the UT-Austin iSchool, who Tara says she hopes to work with on the university’s Good Systems initiative as well as other research projects.

For more about the Computing Innovation Fellows Program, visit their website.