International Spouses Project

Based on my own research interest, I decided to initiate this project with my advisor support. This project is called: “Understanding Information Needs and Challenges faced by International Spouses during Adjustment”.

The project examines ways in which technology can be designed to provide support and services to international spouses during their adjustment to a new host environment. In particular, we would like to investigate the needs of spouse’s communities, the challenges faced by this population during adjustment, and propose design implications for developing systems and services to improve their access to social services and to promote community development and civic engagement.

The continued growth of international students coming to U.S. for higher education had significantly impacted institutions and the communities that host those students. According to Penn State News report, there are more than 7,728 international students across campus (Penn State News, 2016). Many of these students are accompanied by dependents (spouses and/or children) when they move to the U.S. However, as newcomers in a host country, international students face various challenges. Specifically, spouses who come holding an F-2 dependent status face the challenge imposed by their immigration status. F-2 dependents-spouse cannot work under any circumstances (Dependents, 2013). Therefore, spouses may face challenges such as language and communication problems, isolation and loneliness, and problems with daily tasks and living management in the new environment (Oh & Butler, 2007; Brown, Ayo & Grinter, 2014). In this project, we will investigate the needs and challenges faced by international spouses during adjustment in their new host environment. We also want deepen our understanding about spouses’ current living experience in the new host environment, and examine ways to help spouses community overcome current barriers and improve their inclusion in their local context. Using an iterative, human-centered design approach, we will conduct interviews and promote focus group discussion sessions to investigate mechanisms that will allow spouses to improve their adaptation process and support their social inclusion in the local community.

Our goal is to propose a system design that will help international spouses to increase their community orientation and improve their access to local social services. The design requirements built upon these themes will be used to design technical systems that can support international spouses to engage in social activities and help them to connect with local community members.

This project is ongoing. We are still investigating opportunities for research!

Data Collection

  • International Spouses Event
    • Location: New Leaf Initiative
    • A total of 11 participants joined our event
  • Interviews
    • Location: Starbucks and Schlow Library
    • 4 interviews
  • Total: 15 participants

Preliminary Results

  • Most important challenges/needs as a spouse of an international student since they arrived in State College:
    • Language Barrier
    • Adjusting to a new life – Get Information
    • Making Friends
  • Ideas to improve spouses experience in the local community:
    • Group to share studying material, books, activities to study (study partners)
    • Share information by Google drive, Webpage, Gmail group
    • Mentor programs – share professional services (Skillshare model)
  • Suggestions to improve the ways of engagement within the local community:
    • Increase the cultural awareness for professors and staff (Office of Affirmative Action – offer training)
    • Spouse projects – what do we want to get out of our time here? How do we collaborate to create items to leave behind to better our community.

Stay tuned for more information!

Jomara Bindá

Brown, D., Ayo, V., & Grinter, R. E. (2014, April). Reflection through design: immigrant women’s self-reflection on managing health and wellness. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1605-1614). ACM.

Dependents. (2013). Retrieved May 18, 2017, from

Oh, C. Y., & Butler, B. S. (2016). Newcomers from the other side of the globe: International students’ local information seeking during adjustment. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 53(1), 1-6.

Penn State News (2016, December 8). Penn State ranked 13th in the U.S. for international students enrolled. Retrieved May 18, 2017, from

HCIC 2017 Workshop – Designing Futures

Hello there!

This Summer, I had the amazing opportunity to join HCIC 2017.

The HCIC Annual Conference brings together researchers from academia, industry, and government at Pajaro Dunes Resort in Watsonville, California. The conference format and shared meals provide opportunities for interaction and learning in a fun and relaxed environment. The theme of this year’s conference is Design Futures.

I presented a boaster poster. A “boaster-poster” is a poster that describes your most current research endeavor and/or interest. The idea is to foster dialogue about your topic of interest/research so you can meet like-minded HCIC 2017 attendees.

I presented the poster with the following title: Intergenerational Sharing of Health Data among Family Members


An explosion of affordable commercial wearable sensing devices and mobile health applications has opened up new possibilities to practice self-tracking and enjoy its benefits. However, elders often do not engage with health tracking technologies because they do not see much benefits. Leveraging the inherent reciprocal relationship among family members is one potential approach to promote the practice of health tracking. My research aims to understand and support intergenerational sharing of health data as a collective and collaborative family project of mutual support. Based on interviews and scenario-based focus group discussions, I examined on family members’ understanding of one another’s health and well-being, their current health related practices, and issues around health management as a means to facilitate intergenerational health collaboration.

Author Keywords

Health; family; intergenerational; collaboration; self-tracking; data sharing.

Jomara Bindá

Intergenerational Sharing of Health Data among Family Members Project

During my 2nd year Ph.D. program, I collaborated as Research Assistant at Design Square Lab. My supervisor was assistant professor Dr. Eun Kyoung Choe:

The project was called Intergenerational Sharing of Health Data among Family members. This project will inform the design of technology that will support tracking and sharing of health and well-being information between elderly parents and their adult children. I collaborated in the project design and prototyping, I recruited participants and conducted interviews, and I lead focus group sessions with participants. Currently, I am performing a qualitative data analysis by creating a code scheme and investigating design implications.

Poster publication:

Intergenerational Sharing of Health Data among Family Members 
Jomara Bindá, Natalie Cope, Hyehyun Park, Chien Wen (Tina) Yuan, John M. Carroll and Eun Kyoung Choe. 2017. 
In Proceedings of the 11th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, ACM.

Here are more details about the project:


An explosion of affordable commercial wearable sensing devices and mobile health applications has opened up new possibilities to practice self-tracking and enjoy its benefits. However, elders often do not engage with health tracking technologies because they do not see much benefits.

  • Leveraging the inherent reciprocal relationship among family members is one potential approach to promote the practice of health tracking.


  • We apply a proactive framing of family health as a collective and collaborative family project of mutual support: each member is helping one another to be more active and engaged for health.
  • Specifically, we want to utilize the inherent reciprocity of aiding among family members to shift what appears to be a burden into caring for one another.
  • Goal: examine how an intergenerational sharing of health data among family members mediated by technology could help family members be more aware of one anothers’ and their own health, and create a culture of health within family.

Study Materials

➔Two studies: Interviews and Focus Group

  • Semi-structured Interview
    • Participants:
      • Adult Children: 14 participants; 23- 68 years old
      • Elderly Parent: 10 participants; 68 – 85 years old
    • Questions:
      • Health-related Practices
      • Level of Awareness
  • Scenarios
    • Participants:
      • Adult Children: 18 participants; 21- 60 years old
      • Sandwich Generation: 7 participants; 51- 60 years old
      • Elderly Parent: 12 participants; 61 – 91 years old
    • Topics:
      • Family Relationship
      • Distance
      • Health Conditions
      • Different technology: photo frame, Fitbit

Preliminary Results

  • Information Awareness
    • Routinely talked about health and well-being
    • Previous illness increases awareness
    • Geographic Distance
  • Tensions around Sharing
    • Changing of family roles
    • Need to probe information
    • Parents’ behavior (i.e. “stubborn”)
  • Concerns on Sharing Personal Health Data
    • Intruding family members’ lives
    • Burdening family members with their problems
    • “News worthy”

Jomara Bindá

CRA-Women Grad Cohort Workshop 2017

In April 2017, I had the opportunity to participate at CRA-Women Grad Cohort Workshop together with a group of other females students from IST.

The CRA-W Grad Cohort program, initiated in 2004, is generously funded by sponsors from industry, ACM, CRA, academia, the National Science Foundation, and the computing community. Grad Cohort aims to increase the ranks of senior women in computing-related studies and research by building and mentoring nationwide communities of women through their graduate studies.

Here for more information:

I decided to attend because I think it is important to connect with other women in computing, and learn from each other experiences and research achievement.

The workshop presented me different perspectives of research methodologies and we heard great advice from senior women in computing on how to succeed and overcome barriers in our career path.  This workshop was super helpful because I could relate with many of the stories shared and I realized I am not the only one facing these difficulties. So, I found support and understanding among those women. We are all in this together!

My experience is similar to many women who caved the way to find space and fight to be heard and valued. Recently, I was award to go to a conference and all the women from my lab congratulated me except the men. They just ignored my achievement and did not even mentioned that. This is just one example of the fight I face every day.

I have the plan to pursue Academia Career. This conference helped me because they offered lectures to help you find jobs, to create your professional persona, to understand the difference between academia and industry. All those lectures helped me to understand better the research reality and to prepare me for the job market.

I met a girl from Irvine University and she is at her 1st year PhD program. I presented a poster about my research, and she is interested in working in a similar project. Her excitement about my work really encouraged me to continue doing a good job. She said she is really interested to work together with me in the future.

I would highly encourage other women from our department to go to this conference. It is a great opportunity to learn and grow from senior women in computing.

Jomara Bindá