Sterling Williams-Ceci

PhD Student, Department of Information Science, Cornell University


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Hello! My name is Sterling, and I am pursuing a PhD in Information Science at Cornell University. I am working with Professor Michael Macy and Professor Mor Naaman to study algorithmic and social influences on human behaviors that occur in online environments, particularly those that have importance for psychological wellbeing (such as trust). I spend time working with Professor Macy's Social Dynamics Lab and Professor Naaman's Social Technologies Lab. I am also passionate about intervention science to encourage healthier online behaviors: for example, my colleagues and I recently had a Sharenting intervention experiment come out in Computers in Human Behavior (see here). I have been fascinated by online behavior ever since I first started using a computer at age 4.

In May 2021, I graduated as a Merrill Presidential Scholar (the top 1% of seniors) from Cornell University with a double BA in Psychology (with a concentration in Social/Personality Psychology) and College Scholar (an interdisciplinary research program). I also completed formal minors in Information Science (Ethics, Law, and Policy Concentration) and Communication. My College Scholar Honors Thesis was a set of two controlled cognitive experiments exploring the impacts of college students' online behavioral data on others' impressions of their employability, for which I was awarded Summa Cum Laude honors. My thesis committee was Professor Michael Macy (Sociology & Information Science), Professor Michael Goldstein (Developmental Psychobiology), and Professor Natalie Bazarova (Communication & Information Science).

When I am not spending my time doing research or working as a Teaching Assistant, I enjoy outdoor running, baking, traveling, and spending time with friends. Some of my favorite places I've been are NYC and Boston. I also enjoy doing family history research using online methods, restoring outdated educational software on modern operating systems, and helping people monitor their online presence (see this guide I compiled on sites that collect and publicize your personal data). While many would not consider this a hobby, I am particularly fond of programming in R and enjoy learning how to use diverse packages.

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Photo: Copyright 2019, Cornell University