Doctoral Dissertation Award



2019 Doctoral Dissertation Award Honorees

2019 Winner

Dr. Maia Jacobs

Maia Jacobs, Ph.D.
Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Computing
“Personalized Mobile Tools to Support the Cancer Trajectory”
Advisor: Elizabeth D. Mynatt

Biography: Dr. Maia Jacobs is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Research on Computation and Society. She completed her Ph.D. in Human Centered Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research contributes to the fields of ubiquitous computing and personal health informatics through the development and assessment of novel approaches for mobile health tools to support chronic disease management. Her research was featured in the 2016 report to the President of the United States from the President’s Cancer Panel. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Maia received a B.S. degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Research Abstract: With the rapid increase in chronic disease diagnoses, technologies for everyday illness management must offer the flexibility and robustness to conform to individuals’ evolving health situations. I examined how new computing approaches for mobile health tools may better consider the diverse and changing support needs of individuals following a cancer diagnosis. This work culminated in the design and evaluation of two novel mobile health systems: MyJourney Compass and MyPath. Longitudinal evaluations of patients’ use of these systems demonstrate the ability for personalized and adaptive health tools to encourage health management behaviors and influence patients’ health beliefs.

Remarks from the Award Committee: “Dr. Jacobs’ thesis Personalized Mobile Tools to Support the Cancer Trajectory contributes MyPath, an adaptive system that provides personalized support to patients throughout their cancer journey, including diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment survivorship. Her research provides insight into the usability of recommender systems within a health context and finds promise in recommendations that stimulate coping behaviors. Dr. Jacobs’ dissertation stands out because of its strong contributions to health informatics, HCI, and innovative methods that can be used across these fields. The thesis was well-written, the research questions well designed, and Dr. Jacobs did an outstanding job of putting her research questions into context making it the clear winner for this year’s competition.”

Click here for more on Dr. Jacobs’ dissertation

2019 Runner Up

J. King

Jennifer King, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley, School of Information
“Privacy, Disclosure, and Social Exchange Theory”
Advisors: Deirdre Mulligan and Coye Cheshire

Biography: Dr. Jennifer King is the Director of Privacy at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. An information scientist and scholar in information privacy, her research has been recognized for its impact on policymaking by the Future of Privacy Forum, and she has been an invited speaker before the Federal Trade Commission at several Commission workshops. She was a member of the California State Advisory Board on Mobile Privacy Policies and the California State RFID Advisory Board. Dr. King completed her doctorate in Information Science at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information. She also received her MISM from the Berkeley School of Information, and her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine.

Research Abstract: My dissertation explores how the structure of relationships between individuals and companies influences individuals’ decisions to disclose personal information. I use social exchange theory (SET) as the theoretical framework as SET provides an empirically tested scaffolding for exploring key features of these relationships and their impact on the normative aspects of exchange that affect disclosure choices: individuals’ perceptions of trust, fairness, power, and privacy. I conducted two mixed-methods studies to examine the applicability of SET to information privacy. My results demonstrate the utility of the relational analytic approach for identifying the social structural factors that affect personal disclosure.

Remarks from the Award Committee: “In the thesis Privacy, Disclosure, and Social Exchange Theory, the Dr. King uses Social Exchange Theory (SET) to explore reasons why individuals decide to disclose personal information to companies. The object of exchange implied by this approach draws on rather strong background assumptions like an objective givenness or unity of information as an object of study. Granted that individuals entertain relationships to companies it may indeed be worthwhile to analyze the impact of such relationships on the disclosure of private information in return for gratifications expected. The assumption about the applicability of SET to privacy issues is tested by empirical methods, i.e. qualitative interviews and three online surveys. The author provides clear descriptions of the methods and reasons for using each approach and also delivers a satisfying discussion of the theory.“

Click here for more on Dr. King’s dissertation.

2019 Doctoral Dissertation Award Call for Nominations


The iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award recognizes outstanding work in the information field. Nominations are solicited from all members of the iSchools organization and judged by a selection committee drawn from leading international schools.

The winner receives a prize of $2,500 U.S., the runner up $1,000 U.S. Both honorees will also be offered a modest travel allowance to help offset the cost of collecting their award in person at the iConference, should they wish to do so. Past iSchools Doctoral Dissertation honorees can be viewed here.

Each member iSchool can nominate only one applicant for the award. The applicant should have successfully completed the final paperwork for their Ph.D. between July 1 2017 to June 30, 2018 (inclusive). The dissertation research can be on any topic in the information field, broadly defined, and use any methodology.


  • Nomination deadline: October 1, 2018
  • Decisions announced: January, 2019

Submission Materials for each Nomination
Submissions must be made by the representative who administratively signs off on Ph.D. matters (i.e., school’s Dissertation Chair or Doctoral Program Director, Postgraduate Research Committee Representative, or equivalent). Individuals cannot self-nominate.

The following three items should be submitted. The summary paper and letter must be submitted in English. The complete dissertation may be submitted in its original language, with the understanding that an English translation may be requested later, as explained under Review Process below.

  1. A summary paper of the dissertation research. The summary paper should be up to 10 double-spaced pages with 12 point Times New Roman font and at least one-inch margins (excluding the title page and the references), and should consist of three sections: Title Page, Body, and References. The Title Page should contain the title of the dissertation, author name, email, phone number, address, current institution, advisor name and contact information, degree granting institution, and dissertation completion date. The Body of the summary paper should provide a comprehensive summary of the dissertation, introducing, for instance, the topic, the research context and questions, the theoretical or contextual framework, the methodology and methods, and the findings. The summary paper should be written for blind review; hence, all identifying information should be removed from the body of the paper and, as necessary, the references. The first page of the Body should include title, an abstract for up to 200 words, and a list of keywords. Tables and figures can be embedded in the text or attached at the end; they count toward the 10-page limit. The References section should include a list of references formatted in any appropriate style.
  2. A letter from the dissertation chair or the Doctoral Program Director of the degree-granting institution. The letter attests that, (a) the summary paper is authored by the applicant only and is based on the applicant’s dissertation; (b) the applicant is eligible for the award (see Eligibility); and (c) the dissertation is regarded by the dissertation committee and the degree granting institution as being representative of the best level of their doctoral work.
  3. The complete dissertation.

The above three documents should each be formatted as a pdf, and then combined into a single zipped file; this file will be submitted to our secure submission website in time for the October 1 deadline.

Review Process
Awards submissions go through a rigorous two-phase review procedure. In the first phase, which is anonymous, each dissertation summary is reviewed and discussed by a team of three reviewers and one of the dissertation award co-chairs. Five dissertations are then chosen for closer scrutiny. In the second phase, a smaller committee reads and discusses the five shortlisted dissertations in great detail in order to make the final decision.

Judging criteria for the Award can be viewed here.

Past iSchools Doctoral Dissertation honorees can be viewed here.

2019 Doctoral Dissertation Award Chairs


Questions about the Doctoral Dissertation Award should be addressed to the chairs listed above.

For general questions about the iConference, please contact iConference Coordinator Clark Heideger.



The University of Maryland College Park in collaboration with Syracuse University and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.


Our thanks to the following for their sponsorship of iConference 2019.
National Science Foundation Logo

Learn how you can become an iConference sponsor.

Papers Publisher

Accepted papers will be published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science


  • For general questions about the iConference, including sponsorships, please contact iSchools Communications Director Clark Heideger.

Keep up to date

By Email

Click here to receive iConference News & Updates via email. These include participation calls, deadline reminders, and program updates. We typically send no more than one message a month, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Sign up now.

By Social Media

Follow the iConference on