I am a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and an incoming Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. I completed my Ph.D. in Computer Science at Cornell University, where I was advised by Jon Kleinberg. I also hold an M.S. in applied mathematics from Harvard University, an M.A. in mathematics from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. in mathematics from Harvard University.
My research broadly falls in the fields of algorithms and AI, with a focus on equity and justice concerns. My work has provided new mathematical and computational frameworks for problems related to poverty and inequality. Specifically, I design and analyze algorithmic, optimization, and network-based techniques to improve access to opportunity for historically under-served and disadvantaged communities. I also work on human-centered approaches to mechanism design.
As part of this research mission, I co-founded and co-organize Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG), an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research initiative. My dissertation received the 2020 SIGKDD Dissertation Award and an honorable mention for the 2020 SIGecom Dissertation Award for offering foundations of this emerging area.
My work is informed by collaborations with researchers in disciplines including economics, sociology, and social work and domain experts from various government and non-government organizations. Throughout 2019, I served on the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group on AI. Our recommendations were approved by the ACD to be enacted by the NIH. I am currently working on matching problems with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education.
Spring/Summer News and Presentations
I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -- a country known for being home to Dinkinesh (Lucy), a more sensible time convention, its own alphabet, the birthplace of coffee, and 13 months of sunshine. I am a proud graduate of the Ethiopian National Curriculum.
I co-founded and serve on the Board of Directors for Black in AI, a transcontinental network of Black researchers and practitioners the field. Read this Forbes piece I wrote on representation, inclusion, and belonging issues on AI.