I'm a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at Cornell, where I'm very fortunate to be advised by Jon Kleinberg. My research focuses on algorithms, artificial intelligence, and applications to social good. I'm specifically interested in using techniques from these areas to better understand and implement interventions for problems related to socioeconomic inequality. My work has generously been supported by fellowships and scholarships through Facebook (2017-2019), Google (2016-2017), and the Cornell Graduate School (2015-2016). I am also a 2013-2014 Harvard Cambridge Scholar.
I co-founded and co-organize an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research group on Mechanism Design for Social Good with Kira Goldner and co-chair the accompanying workshop at EC (2017, 2018). I also co-founded the Black in AI group and co-organized the accompanying workshop at NIPS '17.
At Cornell, my primary affiliation is with the Theory of Computing group. In addition, I'm a member of the Center for the Study of Inequality and the Social Dynamics Laboratory in the Department of Sociology.
I'm thrilled to have Michael Macy (Cornell Sociology), David Parkes (Harvard CS), and Kilian Weinberger (Cornell CS) on my dissertation committee. I've also had the privilege of working with Shawndra Hill, Andy Schwartz, and Jenn Wortman Vaughan as a research intern in the Microsoft Research, New York computational social science group (summer, 2017) and Nicole Immorlica and Brendan Lucier as a research intern in the Microsoft Research, New England theory group (summer, 2016).
I hold an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University, where I was advised by David Parkes, and an M.A. in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge (Pembroke College), where I was supervised by Felix Fischer and Imre Leader. I studied mathematics at Harvard College, advised by Michael Hopkins and Richard Stanely. I spent summers doing research in combinatorics at University of Chicago and University of Minnesota with Peter May and Victor Reiner, respectively. My interest in computer science took root during a summer at the University of Chicago with László Babai.
I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia known as the birthplace of coffee, world-class runners, Lucy, a more sensible time convention, and its own alphabet. I've been interested in education, housing, and poverty related issues since high school and volunteer for various related programs.
I'm also passionate about undergraduate teaching and mentoring. I currently live in the lovely Hans Bethe House on Cornell's Undergraduate West Campus House System. I was previously a Graduate Resident Fellow at Alice Cook House at Cornell and prior to that a non-resident tutor at Cabot House in the undergraduate house system at Harvard.
Curriculum Vitae: [PDF]