Sky CH Wang selected for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Through his work in NLP and computational social science, Sky hopes to understand complex social interactions and contribute towards the democratization of technology.

Sky CH Wang Enlarge
Sky CH Wang

Computer science undergraduate Sky CH Wang has been awarded a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support his upcoming graduate studies in Fall 2021.

The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.

Sky’s research interests lie in natural language processing and computational social science. He is broadly interested in leveraging computational methods to understand social aspects of language – how what people say, and the way they say it, are reflective of beliefs, attitudes, and personal identities – and how, when studied longitudinally at large scale through platforms such as social media, we can reveal broader trends about society and the nuances of social relations. 

Additionally, Sky is interested in using these insights to make more accessible, more personalizable, and more equitable language technologies. The language technologies of today have been shown to perpetuate ingrained structural biases – be it linguicism, in their lack of support for non-prestige dialects, or racism, when they are uncritically trained on historical corpora and deployed. As these technologies become increasingly used in intelligent assistant, criminal justice, and personal well-being applications, Sky sees the tackling of these sociohistorical issues through the lens of natural language processing to not only further democratize technology towards marginalized groups, but also be one of the many steps we need to take, one among multiple fields of study, to work towards better understanding and dismantling these hegemonic structures of marginalization. He views this line of research to not only be incredibly exciting and technically challenging, but also one of significant social impact. 

During his undergraduate studies, Sky worked with and was mentored by Profs. David Jurgens and Joyce Chai. He is also grateful to Prof. Savithry Namboodiripad in the Linguistics department whose graduate research seminar further shaped his understanding of social issues in linguistics. 

“I have absolutely loved the people I met and worked with during my time at Michigan,” says Sky, “and especially appreciate the sheer number of resources available to support students at both the university and department levels. In addition to the invaluable feedback David and Joyce gave me throughout my NSF GRFP drafts, the peer review sessions organized by Prof. David Fouhey were extremely beneficial as well.”  

Sky is a 2021 recipient of the EECS Undergraduate Outstanding Research Award and also received an honorable mention for the Computing Research Association Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award in 2021. He received a Best Poster award from the U-M AI Symposium in 2018 and was recognized as a finalist in the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Intern Research Fair in 2018. Sky was a student volunteer at the 2020 Association for Computational Linguistics conference and assisted with the AI Lab’s Friday Night AI events in 2019-2020.

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