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I’m a doctoral researcher graduating with a PhD from the University of Michigan School of Information in 2024. My dissertation studies what compels people to “stay put” in places of extensive migration and social inequalities, investigating how they reframe staying as sustainable, even desirable. An ethnographer by training, I observe, interview, and convene with migrant communities in Honduras to convey how they leverage grassroots practices for survival, dignity, and justice. 

See my CV and resumés, both industry and federal.

Soy investigadora en la Facultad de Información en la Universidad de Michigan en los EEUU. Investigo qué motiva a la gente a "quedarse" en entornos de migración y desigualdad extrema, analizando cómo replantean la permanencia como algo sostenible, incluso deseable. Utilizo etnografía y la observación participante para contar las experiencias de comunidades migrantes en Centroamérica que aprovechan movimientos comunitarios para la supervivencia, la dignidad y la justicia.


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Research areas

Areas de investigación

The generalist (and humanist) in me has led me to produce research that is interdisciplinary by luck and ethnographic by design. Lately, I draw from migration and “immobility” studies, theories of aspiration and capability, critical geography, and the anthropology of ethics as I forge linkages between rootedness, human mobility, and the pursuit of the “good life.”

I also support research that leverages human-computer interaction and information communciation technologies for social change to benefit communities historically underserved by Silicon Valley. To this end, I have studied the impacts of technology on undocumented immigrants in the United States, Detroiters living in food deserts, Honduran migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, Habaneros bridging the digital divide in Cuba, and victims of online harrassment in the Global South. 

The geographic spread is wide, the subject matter is broad, but the moral constant is this: building theories of social change predicated not on damage but on desire, à la Eve Tuck. The U.S. Fulbright Program, the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, the Tinker Foundation, and my home department are all generous sponsors of my work.

Uso métodos de etnografía—es decir, observo la sociedad de una forma participativa—pero mis investigaciones son interdisciplinarias. Me baso en estudios de migración; interacción humano-computadora; antropología cultural; tecnologías de la información y las comunicaciones para el cambio social; y estudios de ciencia, tecnología y sociedad. Temas incluyen aspiraciones y capacidades en materia de migración; política de información transnacional; reintegración; dataficación y activismo ciudadano; adaptación sociotécnica; y diseño culturalmente receptivo. Mis investigaciones son patrocinadas por el Programa Fulbright, la Fundación Tinker, el Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship y mi departamento universitario. 

Updates

Actualizaciones

June to August 2023
I interned as an analyst for the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the “investigative arm of Congress.” With the Forensic Audits and Investigative Service team, I analyzed medical provider fraud risk in the country’s largest healthcare program and gained an understanding of institutional challenges that impact health insurees, dependents, and American taxpayers at large. Plus, I learned about the impartial and painfully meticulous ways in which the agency ‘follows the dollar’ and evaluates federal programs concerning diplomacy, foreign aid, national defense and intelligence, business regulation, natural resources, education, and more. I liked the agency so much, I’ll be joining it for a permanent position in September 2024.

February 2023
I was selected to receive the ‘23-‘24 Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan to support my dissertation on rootedness, migration, and transnational information politics in Honduras. Doctoral students, interested in applying? See my research statement and email me for tips.

I participated in the “Lady Frijoles” panel for Dr. William Lopez’s PUBPOL 633 Qualitative Methods class for Master students at the Ford School of Public Policy. Joined by Dr. Amelia Frank-Vitale and Dr. John Doering-White, we discussed sensory ethnography and shared advice on how to place anthropological observations within an “intelligible frame,” make the “strange familiar,” and apply qualitative data toward policymaking. 

January 2023
I gave a guest talk at Dr. Michaelanne Thomas’ SI 430 Information Technology & Global Society class. In “What You Should Know About Migration, Weapons of ‘Math’ Destruction, and Digital Justice,” undergraduate students got a primer on research tracing immigrants’ tech experiences and ways of breaking cognitive barriers to social change by asking who participates in and is impacted by the tech design process.

Our paper “Online Harassment in Majority Contexts: Examining Harms and Remedies across Countries” was accepted to the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ‘23). Led by Dr. Sarita Schoenebeck, we show how online governance may benefit from transnational bodies of policymakers, NGOs, and academics to address abuse on social media, finding that no singular factor can predict perceptions of harm. Co-authors include Amna Batool, Giang Do, Gabriel Grill, Dr. Daricia Wilkinson, Dr. Mehtab Khan, Dr. Kentaro Toyama, and Louise Ashwell.

September 2022
Our paper “How Recent Migrants Develop Trust Through Community Commerce: The Emergence of Sociotechnical Adaptation” was accepted to the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW ‘23). Dr. Joey Hsiao, Dr. Tawanna Dillahunt, and I share design suggestions to support immigrants’ trust in social media for local commerce and reflections on how adaptation experiences vary across diverse immigrant populations.

See more updates.

Contact me

Ponte en contacto conmigo

Email is the best way to contact me. You can send your inquiries, comments, or objections to ssimioni [at] umich [dot] edu.

Or, you can connect with me on LinkedIn.