C. Estelle Smith

Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Professor C. Estelle Smith is a scholar of Computer Science in the discipline of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Social Computing, publishing regularly at top tier ACM venues such as CHI, CSCW, and TOCHI. Her interdisciplinary research lies at the intersection of computing, health, and community science, and has introduced the framework of Computational Spiritual Support as a design lens for serving users’ deepest needs during life-threatening health crises, including physical and mental illness. (See “Sacred Be Thy Tech”  a recent position paper describing this concept.)

Professor Smith employs a Whole-Human Centered Design approach using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods to evaluate stakeholders’ values, needs, and behaviors. Working in collaboration with industry and non-profit partners such as CaringBridge, Reddit, and the Wikimedia Foundation, her work aims to study, design, and evaluate sociotechnical systems and online communities used by millions of people every day. View Professor Smith’s Google Scholar profile or CV for a complete list of publications. Apart from work, Professor Smith is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves rock climbing, yoga, biking, skiing, and hiking with her wonderful Siberian husky, Zosima.


Brown Hall 280G
Personal web page
Mastodon: @estellesmith@hci.social
Twitter: @EstelleSmithPhD


  • Ph.D., M.S., Computer Science, University of Minnesota (GroupLens Research, 2020).
    • Dissertation: Beyond Social Support: Spiritual Support as Novel Design Dimension in Sociotechnical Systems. 
    • Committee: Loren Terveen, Susan O-Conner-Von, Joseph Konstan, Daniel Keefe. 
  • B.S., Neuroscience, University of Minnesota (2015).
  • B.A., English (Creative Writing), University of Minnesota (2010).  

Research Areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction and Social Computing 
  • Whole-Human-Centered Design for UI/UX, AI/ML, and Community Data Science
  • Computational Spiritual Support
  • Mental Health and Social Support 
  • Online Communities 


Honors and Awards

  • Selected Scholar for Human Computer Interaction Consortium (HCIC), 2019, 2022.
  • Best Paper Honorable Mention, ACM CSCW, 2021.
  • Selected Scholar for Consortium for the Science of Sociotechnical Systems (CSST), 2021. 
  • Best Paper Honorable Mention, ACM CHI, 2018, 2020. 


Interested in working together?

Professor Smith is seeking excellent students to join her research lab beginning in January 2023. Positions are available for highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students interested in HCI, participatory design, and health and wellbeing. Prospective researchers should complete the following form (Inquiry: Working with Professor C. Estelle Smith (google.com)) rather than sending an email.