Jane Im earns 2023 Meta Research PhD Fellowship

PhD candidate Jane Im hopes to use the fellowship to advance research into how social media companies can better implement usable privacy controls.
Jane Im
Jane Im

University of Michigan School of Information and Computer Science and Engineering PhD candidate Jane Im is the recipient of a 2023 Meta PhD Research Fellowship. The fellowship recognizes PhD candidates conducting cutting-edge research across a number of computing fields. 

Im’s work is centered around finding ways to protect users’ privacy and safety on the internet. She is interested in issues of human-computer interaction, social media, digital safety, privacy and data ownership.

Through the Meta Research PhD Fellowship, Im will be studying both the needs of users and tech companies and researching how to best design and develop usable privacy settings for users that can be adopted by companies. 

“Broadly speaking, my research aims to design safe social computing systems, such as social media and workplace software, by centering users’ consent boundaries,” she says. “I focus on the ways in which problems on social computing systems—from interpersonal harm like online harassment, to institutional privacy issues—arise because software is designed without considering users’ consent boundaries and power dynamics, in both user-to-user and user-to-company contexts.” 

Im joined the University of Michigan in 2018. Because of her passion for both computer science and human-computer interaction, she is pursuing a joint PhD through the Student Initiated Doctoral Program, which allows students to combine studies from two PhD programs. 

Im says she applied to the Meta Research PhD Fellowship four times before receiving the award. 

“It’s an achievement that I will cherish for a long time,” she says. “My parents have always emphasized the importance of grit, so I decided to give it one final shot. I am also lucky that my advisors, Nikola Banovic and Florian Schaub, gave me very solid advice that writing fellowship research statements is very similar to grant writing.

“This award is a good reminder to me that perseverance is very important.” 


Apply to UMSI’s PhD in Information and CSE’s PhD in CSE.  

Learn more about Jane Im’s research by visiting her website and UMSI profile.