Yasaman Rohanifar

PhD Student
Deparment of Computer Science
University of Toronto
Room BA5166, 40 St. George St. Toronto, ON M5S 2E4

Hello World! I'm Yasaman Rohanifar, a PhD Student in Computer Science at the University of Toronto. I'm also part of the DGP lab and the ThirdSpace research group where I conduct research under supervision of Prof. Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed. My research interests revolve around Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

Recent Highlights

(show all news)
Got a paper accepted at ACM CSCW 2022
May 18, 2022

Our paper, "Kabootar": Towards Informal, Trustworthy, and Community-Based FinTech for Marginalized Immigrants, got accepted to ACM CSCW 2022! This year, the ACM CSCW will be held virtually on Nov 8 - Nov 22, 2022.

Got a paper accepted at ACM COMPASS 2022
May 16, 2022

Our paper on The Role of Intermediaries, Terrorist Assemblage, and Re-skilling in the Adoption of Cashless Transaction Systems in Bangladesh got accepted to ACM COMPASS 2022! This year, the ACM COMPASS conference is co-located with ICTD 2022 and will be held June 29-July 1, 2022, at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.

Won the 2nd prize in the Blue Sky Ideas Track at HCOMP 2021
Nov 19, 2021

My wonderful co-authors and I won the 2nd prize in the Blue Sky Ideas Track at the HCOMP 2021 Conference.


Interests

Academic Interests

My research is interdisciplinary and lies within the intersections of computers and humanity. Inspired by the theories of science and technology, HCI, CSCW, and development studies, I try to understand the socio-technical practices of marginalized communities and come up with practical technical solutions. I’m mostly interested in Financial Technologies (FinTech) and Empathetic Technologies.

Personal Interests

Apart from being a full-time student, graduate research assistant, and teaching assistant, I enjoy most of my time hanging out with my loved ones, being outdoors, biking, and exploring. When forced indoors, I tend to listen to music, follow a number of shows, cook, and read. I'm an aviation and space enthusiast and I aspire to become a private pilot (soon)!

Education

University of Toronto

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Computer Science
Research: Human-Computer Interaction

GPA: N/A

May 2020 - Present

University of Toronto

Master of Science (MSc) in Computer Science
Research: Human-Computer Interaction

GPA: 4.0/4.0

Sept 2018 - May 2020

Shahid Beheshti University

Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Computer Engineering
Major: Software Engineering

GPA: 18.23/20

Sept 2013 - June 2018

Publications

The Role of Intermediaries, Terrorist Assemblage, and Re-skilling in the Adoption of Cashless Transaction Systems in Bangladesh

Yasaman Rohanifar, Sharifa Sultana, Swapnil Nandy, Pratyasha Saha, Md. Jonayed Hossain Chowdhury, Mahdi Nasrullah Al-Ameen, and Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed

Human Computation and Crowdsourcing for Earth

Yasaman Rohanifar, Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, Sharifa Sultana, Prateek Chanda, Malay Bhattacharyya

Money Whispers: Informality, International Politics, and Immigration in Transnational Finance

Yasaman Rohanifar, Priyank Chandra, Ataur Rahman, Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed

Ambivalence: Simultaneous Tactile Experiences of Using and Recycling Smartphones

Yasaman Rohanifar, Mohammad Rashidujjaman Rifat, Nusrat Jahan Mim, Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed

Exile Within Borders: Understanding the Limits of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Iraq

Dina Sabie, Samar Sabie, Cansu Ekmekcioglu, Yasaman Rohanifar, Fatma Hashim, Steve Easterbrook, Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed

Honors and Awards

2nd Prize in the Blue Sky Ideas Track at HCOMP 2021

2021-2022 Academic Year - $750

Awarded by the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) to the top papers submitted to the ”Blue Sky Ideas” track in HCOMP 2021.

University of Toronto, Canada

May 2021

University of Toronto SGS Conference Grant

2020-2021 Academic Year - $330

Awarded to eligible students who are actively presenting their research – either virtually or in-person – at an academic conference.

University of Toronto, Canada

May 2021

Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship-Doctoral (CGS D)

2021-2024 Academic Years - $105,000

The NSERC offers this federal scholarship to the top-ranked PGS D applicants with the aim of rewarding and retaining high-calibre doctoral students at Canadian institutions.

University of Toronto, Canada

April 2021

Shortlisted For The University of Toronto TATP TA Excellence Awards

2020-2021 Academic Year

Presented annually by the Teaching Assistants’ Training Program (TATP) at UofT, this award seeks to value the work of TAs who regularly inspire and challenge undergraduate students.

University of Toronto, Canada

March 2021

University of Toronto PhD Travel Conference Grant

2020-2021 Academic Year - $318.85

Awarded to full-time PhD students in good standing presenting a paper as a speaker relevant to their academic program.

University of Toronto, Canada

February 2021

Beatrice “Trixie” Worsley Graduate Scholarship in Computer Science

2020-2021 Academic Year - $4,000

Awarded on the basis of academic merit to one or more students enrolled in the PhD program who have taken an active role in helping to promote women in the field of computer science.

University of Toronto, Canada

December 2020

Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)

2020-2021 Academic Year - $15,000

Jointly funded by the Province of Ontario and the University of Toronto, awarded to graduate students in all disciplines on the basis of academic merit.

University of Toronto, Canada

September 2020

University of Toronto SGS Conference Grant (not availed)

2019-2020 Academic Year - $1,160

The SGS Conference Grant provides financial support to encourage eligible students to actively present their research at academic conferences during their early stages of graduate studies.

University of Toronto, Canada

December 2019

Impact Center Innovation Fellowship

Impact Center 2020 - $1,000

University of Toronto, Canada

February 2020

Pueblo Science Hackathon and People’s Choice Award Winner

Hackathon for Science Education 2019 - $700

University of Toronto, Canada

September 2019

Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) - Master’s (not availed)

2018-2019 Academic Year - $17,500

Jointly administered by Canada’s three granting agencies: CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, the CGS-M provides support to high-calibre scholars in eligible master’s or PhD programs in Canada.

Ryerson University, Canada

April 2018

Ranked 2nd among Software Engineering students class of 2018

Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

September 2018

Honorable Mention in Asia Regional ACM-ICPC, Asia Tehran site

Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.

December 2015

1st Place in Qualification Contest ACM-ICPC

Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

November 2015

14th Place in Asia Regional ACM-ICPC, Asia Tehran site

Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

December 2014

Ranked top 0.5% in nationwide university entrance examination

Among more than 300,000 participants, Iran

September 2013

Silver Medalist at the 7th International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO)

Abuja, Nigeria

December 2010

Ongoing Projects

Project Kabootar

This project explores a community-based money transferring platform inspired by informal remittance practices of close-knit communities and compares it with the state of the art money transferring technologies such as Blockchain-based applications.

Leveraging Virtual Reality to Promote Empathy

This Project aims to demonstrate the concept of "Intersectionality" through gamification in virtual reality (VR) with the ultimate goal of promoting empathy.

Fatih-based Discrimination in Financial Technologies

This project explores the various biases and discriminations against certain religious communities in financial technologies. Drawing upon various use cases, we study how Muslim people are often treated as "terrorists" and are often denied services due to their beliefs.

Designing Culturally Situated Financial Management Applications for Low-Literate People

The objective of this project is to design appropriate digital technologies to reduce the ‘digital divide’ and resulting inequalities between high-literate and low-literate (‘oral’) communities, especially in their conduct of daily economic and financial activities. This project is in collaboration with MyOralVillage, a not-for-profit social enterprise incorporated in Canada whose aim is to build trusted, usable financial solutions for the world's billion functionally illiterate and innumerate adults to support their transition into financial inclusion.

COVID-19 Related Stigma on Social Media

This project studies the stigma, fear, and misinformation related to COVID-19 and maps the social dynamics of communication on social media, using Twitter as a platform for network analysis.


Academic Services

Mentorship

I have had the privilage of having amazing mentors such as Dr. Mona Ghassemian in my academic life. As part of my giveback to the community of women in computing, I have been mentoring and supporting the following to the best of my knowledge and ability:

July 2019 - Present

Student Volunteering

I have served as a student volunteer in the following conferences in HCI:

July 2019 - Present

Peer Review

I have served as a peer reviewer in the following conferences in HCI:

October 2020 - Present

Organization

Critical Computing Seminar Co-Organizer

I am part of the organizing team for the Critical Computing Seminar, an initiative of the ThirdSpace research lab, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto. This seminar series is an online virtual monthly event during which we read a new book on computing and discuss it with their author(s). The objective of the seminar is to create a broader understanding of computing from different critical perspectives, including feminism, postcolonialism, postmodernism, intersectionality, etc.

October 2020 - Present

HCI4D @ Thirdspace Co-Organizer

I was part of the organizing team for the HCI4D @ ThirdSpace, a Virtual-CHI event to bring together papers on international development and critical computing from CHI 2020.

July 2020

HerCodeCamp Co-Organizer

I was part of the organizing team for the Her Code Camp, a free computer science camp for senior high school students in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who identify as a woman, non-binary, or transgender with the goal of hacking the gender gap and helping minority groups grow to their full potential.

Spring 2019

Leadership and Service

Departmental Graduate Student Representative

I serve as the departmental graduate student representative for the department of Computer Science Graduate Affairs Committee at the University of Toronto.

November 2021 - Present

Grad MetaSkills Seminars Departmental Committee Representative and Leader

I organized and led the Graduate MetaSkills Seminars hosted by the department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. These seminars are meant to provide pointers and guidance about crucial skills as a graduate student. During the seminars, we discussed important topics regarding life in graduate school, research, etc. and shared tips, solutions, and prompts through presentations, discussions, and sharing resources.

January 2019 - January 2021

CSGSBS Treasurer

I serve as the treasurer for the The Computer Science Graduate Student Benevolent Society (CSGSBS), the official body representing computer science graduate students at the University of Toronto.

August 2019 - Present

News

Got a paper accepted at ACM CSCW 2022

Our paper, "Kabootar": Towards Informal, Trustworthy, and Community-Based FinTech for Marginalized Immigrants, got accepted to ACM CSCW 2022! This year, the ACM CSCW will be held virtually on Nov 8 - Nov 22, 2022.

May 18, 2022

Got a paper accepted at ACM COMPASS 2022

Our paper on The Role of Intermediaries, Terrorist Assemblage, and Re-skilling in the Adoption of Cashless Transaction Systems in Bangladesh got accepted to ACM COMPASS 2022! This year, the ACM COMPASS conference is co-located with ICTD 2022 and will be held June 29-July 1, 2022, at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.

May 16, 2022

Won the 2nd prize in the Blue Sky Ideas Track at HCOMP 2021

My wonderful co-authors and I won the 2nd prize in the Blue Sky Ideas Track at the HCOMP 2021 Conference.

Nov 19, 2021

Was Selected As A Student Volunteer (SV) for CSCW 2021

I was selected as a CSCW 2021 Student Volunteer. CSCW SVs are HCI researchers who help run the ACM CSCW conference on computer-supported cooperative work and social computing.

Aug 31, 2021

Was Awarded the UofT SGS Conference Grant

I was awarded the University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Conference Grant for the Winter 2021 cycle. This grant aims to provide added financial support to eligible students who are actively presenting their research – either virtually or in-person – at an academic conference.

May 26, 2021

Was Invited to Join the First Social Computing Systems Camp

I am pleased to have received an invitation to the first Social Computing Systems Summer Camp. The aim of this 3-day camp is to build a community of social computing systems researchers and it features speculative talks, feedback sessions for in-progress work, debates, unconference sessions, and virtual smores.

May 21, 2021

Was Awarded the Canada Graduate Scholarship-Doctoral (CGS D) Scholarship

I was awarded the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship-Doctoral (CGS D) for the duration of 3 years (total value = $105,000). The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) offers this federal scholarship through a national competition to the top-ranked Postgraduate Scholarships-Doctoral (PGS D) applicants. The prestigious CGS D program is aimed at rewarding and retaining high-calibre doctoral students at Canadian institutions.

April 26, 2021

Was Shortlisted for the UofT TATP TA Excellence Awards

I was shortlisted for the University of Toronto Teaching Assistants’ Training Program (TATP) TA Awards for the 2021 period among 70 nominations from students and faculty. This award is presented annually by TATP at the University of Toronto and seeks to value the work of TAs who regularly inspire and challenge undergraduate students.

March 19, 2021

Was Selected as a Student Volunteer (SV) for CHI 2021

I was selected as a CHI 2021 Student Volunteer (SV). CHI SVs are HCI researchers who help run the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

March 11, 2021

Was Awarded the UofT DCS PhD Travel Conference Grant

I was awarded the 2021 University of Toronto Department of Computer Science PhD Travel Conference Grant! This grant is awarded to full-time PhD students in good standing presenting a paper as a speaker relevant to their academic program.

February 10, 2021

Was selected to participate in the 2021 CRA-WP Grad Cohort for Women

I was selected to participate in the 2021 CRA-WP Grad Cohort for Women on April 23-24, 2021 that is happening virtually this year.

January 27, 2021

Was Awarded the Beatrice “Trixie” Worsley Scholarship

I was awarded the Beatrice “Trixie” Worsley Graduate Scholarship in Computer Science for the 2020-2021 Academic Year! This scholarship (valued $4,000), is awarded on the basis of academic merit to one or more students enrolled in the PhD program who have taken an active role in helping to promote women in the field of computer science.

December 20, 2020

Participated at UofT CompSci SLC Graduate Student Panel

I was a guest at the graduate student panel of the UofT Computer Science Second-Year Learning Community (SLC)!

December 1, 2020

Delivered the Gender and Computing lecture for CSC300

I was the guest lecturer for the Gender and Computing module of CSC300 in Fall 2020. This was my 4th time delivering this lecture!

November 24, 2020

Started Co-organizing the Critical Computing Seminar

I started as part of the organizing team for the Critical Computing Seminar, an initiative of the ThirdSpace research lab, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto. This seminar series is an online virtual monthly event during which we read a new book on computing and discuss it with their author(s). The objective of the seminar is to create a broader understanding of computing from different critical perspectives, including feminism, postcolonialism, postmodernism, intersectionality, etc.

October 2, 2020

Was Awarded the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)!

I was awarded the OGS scholarship for three consecutive semesters (valued $15,000), starting from September 2020!

September 2020

Co-organized HCI4D @ ThirdSpace

I was one of the organizers of HCI4D @ Third Space, a Virtual-CHI event to bring together papers on international development and critical computing from CHI 2020.

July 1 -2, 2020

Defended Master's and Transitioned to PhD!

I successfully defended my master's thesis and transitioned to the PhD program in Computer Science at UofT!

May 2020

Accepted to Techno 2019 Program

After pitching our project on financial inclusion to the Techno team, our group was selected to be part of this year's Techno Program at UofT!

November 2019

Attended CAN-CWIC 2019

I attended CAN-CWIC 2019 where I also presented a poster on "Informality and Transnational Finance".

November 2019

Pueblo Science Hackathon and People's Choice Award Winner

My teammates and I designed a 3-day course material as part of the computer science and robotics curriculum for high schools in Guyana. Starting with basic programming concepts such as loops and conditions for the first session (using Scratch), students are gradually prepared to build their own robot and program it using Arduino. The second session is dedicated to learning about the different components of a basic robot, their functionalities, and assembling individual parts into a fully functioning robot. At this stage, the students are able to control their robot using a joystick. The robot is called an artist robot (or "Robart"), with the capability of creating unlimited artworks using different utensils. The students can either pre-program the Robart to draw the shapes they want or draw as they go. They can have fun challenges such writing their names or drawing a complicated shape using various utensils (chalk, marker, ink, ...) on the ground. In the third session, students are able to expand their programming knowledge by adding more functionalities or modifying the existing ones to customize their Robart.

September 2019

Received Honerable Mention at FinteQC'19

I presented my work on "Designing Technologies for Financial Transactions Across Borders" at FinteQC'19 conference and received an honerable mention for my abstract and presentation.

June 2019