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Laura South is a PhD candidate studying Data Visualization at the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University, advised by Professor Michelle Borkin. Her research interests involve computer science and data science’s effects on how humans interact and share information, as well as data science and AI’s effects on society, especially marginalized communities, and developing accessible technology. Before joining Northeastern, Laura got a BS in Computer Science and Statistics from Colorado State University.


  • BS in Computer Science, Colorado State University
  • BS in Statistics, Colorado State University

About Me

  • Hometown: Fort Collins, CO
  • Field of Study: Data Visualization
  • PhD Advisors: Michelle Borkin

What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?

I’m just beginning my graduate education, so I don’t have much in the way of specifics to share, but I’m so excited to get started this fall!

What are your research interests?

I’m interested in researching how computer science and data science affect how humans interact and share information. I think that as data science and AI become more deeply ingrained in our society, it will become more important to understand their effects on all parts of our society, but specifically on marginalized communities. I’m interested in using data science and data visualization to minimize the divide between technology and the people who are affected by technology. I also have a strong interest in developing accessible technology.

My academic path has definitely evolved — I entered college as a political science major and I graduated four years later with degrees in computer science and statistics! I still love the liberal arts and the humanities, and I hope that I get the chance to work on research that involves both in the future.

What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?

I would love to produce original research that helps people better understand the technology that they rely on and its associated risks.

What aspect of what you do is most interesting?

I love presenting my research to others. I think it’s so cool to spend a long time focusing in on a problem that very people in the world have ever considered and then get the chance to share what you’ve learned to real people who are probably affected by what you’re talking about in some way.

Much of the research that I conducted as an undergraduate involved assessing privacy- or accessibility-related risks in personal technology, like mobile phones or online media, so I think others were surprised to learn about risks in things they see every day and think of as innocuous conveniences.

What are your research or career goals, going forward?

My main research/career goals right now are to learn about as many areas of research as possible, meet lots of other researchers, and get lots of ideas for future work. After I get my PhD, I hope to go into academia. I love interacting with students, so my ideal position would balance research and teaching responsibilities.

Where did you grow up or spend your most defining years?

I grew up in a northern suburb of Denver, CO called Arvada. It’s a very boring town in the absolute best way.

Where did you study for your undergraduate degree?

I studied at Colorado State University in Fort Collins for my undergraduate degrees. I chose CSU because I love the city of Fort Collins, I wanted to be reasonably close to family, and it made the most economic sense out of my options. It was a good decision!