About Me

I'm a Fulbright scholar pursuing PhD in Computer Science (Human Computer Interaction) @ Virginia Tech, where I am advised by Dr. Scott McCrickard, and co-advised by Dr. Aisling Kelliher.

In my doctoral research, I use and adapt a variety of qualitative research methods to investigate parents' use of technology as a caregiving tool to design interactive media for young children based on parents' context of use and sought gratifications. I also explore the potential of using screen and voice based interfaces to facilitate young children's secondary language learning. Prior to my PhD trajectory, I investigated how disorientation occurs in various tech-centered activities in online and outdoor environments, and developed means to identify and resolve it to facilitate learning in different educational contexts.

Research Interests

    Research Areas: Parent-child Computer Interaction; technologies for families and children; participatory and ethnographic methods; distractions/disorientation; digital childcare assistants.

    Methods: Surveys, interviews, probes, auto-ethnography, personas.

    I am currently looking for (preferably remote) post doc positions.

    Email me at neelma@vt.edu.


11.04.2021           Our workshop proposal has been accepted to be included in the ACM GROUP 2023 Program! .
10.26.2021           I presented my paper in the "Parenting and family" session at the online ACM CSCW 2021 conference.
10.23.2021           This year, I participated in the "CUI@CSCW: Inclusive and Collaborative Child-facing Voice Technologies" and "The Future of Care Work: Towards a Radical Politics of Care in CSCW Research and Practice" workshops (workshop paper here:).
10.15.2021           I wrote a blog post summarizing our CSCW2021 paper with our key findings and potential avenues for future research in this area. The prerecorded presentation of the paper can be seen here .
09.24.2021           Presented my research on "Designing Mobile Applications to Minimize Disorientation in Informal Learning Environments" in the CHCI social informatics meeting .
06.29.2021           Our paper about designing mobile applications to minimize disorientation in informal learning environments got a best paper honorable mention award at ACM Interaction Design and Children (IDC) conference 2021!.
06.29.2021           Attended ACM Interaction Design and Children (IDC) conference 2021 , where I presented my work on designing mobile applications to minimize disorientation in informal learning environments .
06.28.2021           Full paper accepted at The 24th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2021)!.
06.23.2021           Participated in Connect with Google: UX Research Roundtables along with Erin Buehler and five other talented female PhD candidates from across the world!
06.22.2021           Presented my work-in-progress paper titled "Conversational User Interfaces As Assistive Interlocutors For Young Children's Bilingual Language Acquisition" at ACM International Conference On Interactive Media Experiences (IMX 2021)
05.21.2021           Served as a session co-Chair at the "International Virtual Conference Of Emerging Trends In Computing And Software Engineering-2021" organized by Faculty of Science & Technology, ILMA University, Karachi, Pakistan
05.08.2021           Attended ACM CHI 2021, where I presented my position paper titled "Conversational User Interfaces As Assistive interlocutors For Young Children's Bilingual Language Acquisition" at the CUI 2021 workshop.
04.30.2021           Work in progress paper accepted at 2021 ACM Conference on International Media Experiences (IMX).
04.22.2021           Participated in the 2021 CRA-WP Grad Cohort for Women , where I presented a tech talk on my research.
04.07.2021           Passed my preliminary PhD proposal examination, officially a PhD candidate now!
03.29.2021           Short paper accepted at 2021 ACM Interaction Design and Children (IDC).
03.29.2021           Our workshop paper has been accepted at at the 2021 ACM CHI Conference workshop titled "Let's Talk About CUIs: Putting Conversational User Interface Design Into Practice".
03.29.2021           I presented my poster paper at the 8th International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction (HAI2021)
08.18.2020           I presented my full paper titled "Revealing And Resolving Disorientation In An Online Course Module Of Java Programming" at the 2020 15th International Conference on Computer Science & Education (ICCSE)
06.21.2020           I attended ACM Interaction Design and Children (IDC) conference 2020 as a student volunteer and design competition participant. I also presented my preliminary PhD research plan titled "Digital childcare: need of the hour for international student mothers" .

Mailing Address

1122 Knowledgeworks II Department of Computer Science
Blacksburg, VA 24060


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