Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good

Serena Schaefer

My passion for computer science was born in my freshmen year of high school when I helped lead a rookie robotics team. I’ve picked up other hobbies such as mineral collecting and cartooning, but my main focus has always been on computer science. I hope to use computer science to solve societal problems such as cyberbullying, which I have been researching during the FUTURE program alongside Prof. April Kontostathis and FUTURE mentor Bryan Bradley. Among other goals, I would like to create or work at a start-up that aims to show the far-reaching and beneficial power of computer science. 

Class Year

2019

Major

Computer Science and Mathematics

Minor

Creative Writing

Activities

Women in Science and Technology President, Active Minds Executive Board, Lantern

Research

My FUTURE program research with Dr. Kontostathis and Bryan focused on the automatic detection of cyberbullying, an unfortunate effect of social media and computer science. Using the Twitter API, I created a training set by streaming tweets and labelling whether or not they contained cyberbullying. Using frequency cutoff parameters, the program I wrote automatically compiled a dictionary of words found in the bullying tweets that are less common in regular tweets. Since the algorithm performed well on the training set, I streamed and labelled a second set of tweets and used the same dictionary to detect cyberbullying. I also tested the algorithm on a dataset of text messages to see if cyberbullying patterns and words are similar across different domains. Now, I am tweaking the algorithm to incorporate features such as tweet length and parts of speech. We are also examining the nature of cyberbullying, such as whether retweeting a cyberbullying posts is also bullying. 

Life After Ursinus

I hope to use computer science to solve societal problems such as cyberbullying, which I researched during the FUTURE program. I want to show the far-reaching and beneficial power of the field.