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About me

I'm a doctoral candidate in Computer Science at the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. I work in the Social Dynamics and Wellbeing lab and am advised by Munmun De Choudhury. Previously, I was at International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad, India where I completed my undergraduate and graduate studies in Computer Science with a research specialization in Humanities.

I am broadly interested in Computational Social Science, applying methods from machine learning, statistical modeling, and natural language processing to digital trace data, to understand how social technologies affect and improve people's health and well-being. My dissertation research examines how social media supports clinical and social pathways to care for mental health. Along this exploration, I care deeply about the validity (or invalidity) of online measurements of behavior and the implications of research to all stakeholders involved.



  1. Ernala, S. K., Yang, S., Wu, Y., Chen, R., Wells, K., Das, S. (2021). Exploring the Utility Versus Intrusiveness of Dynamic Audience Selection on Facebook. In PACM HCI (CSCW2 2021).
  2. Yoo, D. W., Ernala, S. K., Saket, B., Weir, D., Arenare, E., Ali, A., Van Meter, A., Birnbaum, M., L., Abowd, G., and De Choudhury, M. (2021). Clinician Perspectives on Utilizing Computational Mental Health Insights from Patient Social Media: Design and Qualitative Evaluation of a Prototype. In Journal of Medical Internet Research - Mental Health, to appear. JMIR MH.
  3. Ernala, S. K., Kashiparekh, K., Bolous, A., Ali, A., Kane, J., Birnbaum, M.L., De Choudhury, M. A Social Media Study on Mental Health Status Transitions Surrounding Psychiatric Hospitalizations. In PACM HCI (CSCW 2021). PDF


  1. Birnbaum, M.L., Wen, H., Van Meter, A., Ernala, S.K., Rizvi, A.F., Arenare, E., Estrin, D., De Choudhury, M. and Kane, J.M. (2020). Identifying Emerging Mental Illness Utilizing Search Engine Activity: A Feasibility Study. In PLOS ONE . PDF
  2. Ernala, S. K., Burke, M., Leavitt, A., and Ellison, N. (2020). How Well Do People Report Time Spent on Facebook? An Evaluation of Established Survey Questions with Recommendations. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI 2020. PDF
  3. Saha, K., Ernala, S. K., Dutta, S., Sharma, E., and De Choudhury, M. (2020) Understanding Moderation in Online Mental Health Communities. To Appear In 22nd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. HCII 2020. PDF


  1. Birnbaum, M. L.*, Ernala, S. K.*, Rizvi, A., Arenare, E., Van Meter, A., De Choudhury, M.** and Kane, J. M.** (2019). Detecting Relapse in Youth with Psychotic Disorders Utilizing Patient-Generated and Patient-Contributed Digital Data from Facebook. In Nature Partner Journals - Schizophrenia. npj Schizophrenia. * Co-first authors; ** Co-supervising authors link
  2. Saha, K., Torous, J., Ernala, S.K. , Rizuto, C., Stafford, A., and De Choudhury, M. (2019). A Computational Study of Mental Health Awareness Campaigns on Social Media. In Translational Behavioral Medicine (TBM). link
  3. Ernala, S. K., Birnbaum, M., Candan, K., Rizvi, A., Sterling, W., Kane, J., and De Choudhury, M. (2018). Methodological Gaps in Predicting Mental Health States from Social Media: Triangulating Diagnostic Signals. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI 2019. PDF


  1. Birnbaum, M., Rizvi, A., De Choudhury, M., Ernala, S. K., Cecchi, G., and Kane, J. (2018). Identifying Psychotic Symptoms and Predicting Relapse Through Social Media. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 44 (Suppl 1), S100. link
  2. Ernala, S. K., Labetoulle, T., Bane, F., Birnbaum, M., Rizvi, A., Kane, J., and De Choudhury, M. (2018). Characterizing Audience Engagement and Assessing its Impact on Social Media Disclosures of Mental Illnesses. International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media ICWSM 2018. PDF Additional Materials
  3. Ernala, S. K., Rizvi, A., Birnbaum, M., Kane, J., and De Choudhury, M. (2018). Linguistic Markers Indicating Therapeutic Outcomes of Social Media Disclosures of Schizophrenia. ACM Conference on Computer-Supported CooperativeWork and Social Computing (New York, NY November 3-7, 2018). CSCW 2018 Online First. PDF


  1. Birnbaum, M., Ernala, S. K., Rizvi, A., De Choudhury, M. and Kane, J. (2017). A Collaborative Approach to Identifying Social Media Markers of Schizophrenia by Employing Machine Learning and Clinical Appraisals. In Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR). link
  2. Ernala, S. K.*, Sharma, E.*, Saha, K.*, Ghoshal, S.*, and De Choudhury, M. (2017). Analyzing Ideological Discourse on Social Media: A Case Study of the Abortion Debate. CSSA's Annual Conference on Computational Social Science. CSS 2017. PDF


  1. Banerjee, J., Raravi, G., Gupta, M., Ernala, S. K., Kunde, S., and Dasgupta, K. (2016). "CAPReS: Context Aware Persona Based Recommendation for Shoppers". In AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, North America. AAAI 2016. PDF
  2. Ernala, S. K., Poddar, S., and Singh, N. (2016) PACMAN: Psycho and Computational Framework of an Individual (Man). In Proceedings of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference Workshop on Emotion and Sentiment Analysis. LREC 2016.PDF
  3. Ernala, S. K., Poddar, S., Singh, N., and Samvara, A. (2016). Towards a Ubiquitous Model of an Individual in Social Machines. In Proceedings of the 25th International Conference Companion on World Wide Web. WWW 2016.PDF


  1. Asooja, K., Ernala, S. K., and Buitelaar, P. UNLP at the MediaEval 2015 C@merata Task. In MediaEval 2015 Workshop, Wurzen, Germany.PDF


  1. Asooja, K., Ernala, S. K., and Buitelaar, P. UNLP at the MediaEval 2014 C@merata Task. In MediaEval 2014 Workshop, Barcelona, Spain.PDF

Download my CV here. (Updated Jan 2021)

756 West Peachtree St NW,
Atlanta, GA 30308
United States
sernala3 [at] gatech [dot] edu