For the past 6 months, I have led an HCI Research project under the Design, Technology, Research (DTR) program at Northwestern along with my advisor Yongsung Kim. My project lies in the space of volunteer-based peer-to-peer tasking systems. For an example, think of a food-delivery service like Postmates, but run by community volunteers instead.
In volunteer-based systems, volunteers often have social goals of participating. For example, some volunteers might want to only help their friends in order to strengthen their existing social network, while others might prefer to help new people to extend their network. We build systems that help volunteers meet these social goals.
If you'd like to learn more, below is a 15 min video that goes into more detail. Here's also some code, which I particularly enjoyed because it involved reinforcement learning (Markov Decision Processes) and computational geometry (Delaunay Triangulations).
Overall, DTR has been a life-changing experience. I have learned strategies for effective planning, prioritizing, help-seeking, designing, and communicating.