Headshot of Kristen Bowen

I am a PhD Candidate and Rodney Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science working with Dr. Amelia Gibson.

My primary research interests are the ways that social media & technology support or act as barriers to marginalized populations’ health and well-being. I employ an interdisciplinary approach to exploring how individuals search for, process, and use information (particularly in connection to socially stigmatized topics or invisible disabilities) in online spaces. I place emphasis on user research to create and adapt technologies for these populations.

Kristen’s dissertation research examines Black emerging adults’ information exchange experiences (18-25) related to their mental well-being regarding sexual violence they have experienced. I am utilizing participatory design to envision what this population needs from a space created to support their mental health.

I am a member of the Community Equity, Data, and Information Lab, an affiliate with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life, and an affiliate with the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies. She obtained a BS in Information Science & English and an MS in Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science. Nevertheless, she draws from various disciplines in her approach to research (e.g. communication, sociology, health behavior, rhetoric).

Recent News:

  • (04/21) I have begun my internship with Microsoft Research Social Media Collective under the mentorship of Nancy Baym. I will be conducting research with Black adults who have become remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic to determine their thoughts on the benefits and/or drawbacks of remote work. This will also include conducting research with Black adult remote workers, who are disabled, to gain their insights on a move to remote work and with the goal of developing suggested policies continuing the integration of remote work as a norm for the workplace.
  • (04/21) I completed my 3-week pilot study and gained helpful feedback that has been used to refine the focus group questions for my dissertation study.
  • (02/21) I was offered and accepted an internship with the Microsoft Research Social Media Collective this summer and will be working with Nancy Baym.
  • (02/21) My pilot study to assess my focus group research questions and whether participants are comfortable using FocusGroupIt for research, related to this topic, was approved by IRB.
  • (02/21) I received two dissertation research grants from my department.
  • (01/21) I survived new paper collaborations and the CSCW deadline in this time of isolation.
  • (01/21) My roundtable submission, a collaboration with other Critical Race and Digital Studies scholars, “Media-Based Community and Self Care Practices as Activism,” was accepted to the 2021 International Communication Association conference.