I’m a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information. I research 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 do interviews and participant observation to convey the experiences of migrant communities in Central America leveraging grassroots data practices for survival, dignity, and justice.

See my CV.

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 la dataficación para la supervivencia, la dignidad y la justicia.

︎ ︎ ︎

Research areas

Areas de investigación

My research is interdisciplinary by luck and ethnographic by design. I draw from migration studies; human-computer interaction; cultural anthropology; information communication technologies for social change; and science, technology, and society studies. Themes include aspirations and capabilities in migration; transnational information politics; reintegration; grassroots and citizen data activism; sociotechnical adaptation; and culturally responsive design. The Fulbright Program, the Tinker Field Research Grant, the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, 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. 



February 27, 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. Interested in applying? See my research statement

February 20, 2023: I participated in the “Lady Frijoles” panel for Dr. William Lopez’s PUBPOL 633 Qualitative Methods class at the Ford School. Joined by Dr. Amelia Frank-Vitale and Dr. John Doering-White, we discussed sensory ethnography and shared tips on how to place anthropological observations within an “intelligible frame,” make the “strange familiar,” and apply qualitative data toward policymaking. 

January 30, 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,” 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.

January 17, 2023: 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 30, 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.