Sylvia Simioni

I’m a PhD student at the University of Michigan School of Information. My research explores migrants’ use of technology for clandestine border crossing in Central America and sociotechnical strategies for supporting their safety, privacy, and human dignity on the migrant trail. I use participant observation, in-depth interviews, and related ethnographic methods to convey the experiences of communities in Latin America and the United States impacted by transnational violence.

See my CV.

Soy estudiante de doctorado en la Facultad de Ciencias de Información en la Universidad de Michigan. Mi investigación explora el uso de tecnología por parte de los migrantes para el cruce clandestino de fronteras en Centroamérica y estrategias sociotécnicas para apoyar su privacidad, dignidad humana y bienestar. Trabajo con comunidades en América Latina y los Estados Unidos afectadas por fuerzas transnacionales para transmitir sus experiencias a través de entrevistas y observación participante.

Drop me a line at ssimioni [at] umich [dot] edu.

Research areas
and context

Areas de investigación

My work is situated within the domains of human-computer interaction; critical ethnography; information communication technologies for social change; science, technology, and society studies; and (im)migration. Contexts include migration corridors in the Western Hemisphere; displacement and family separation sanctioned by U.S. immigration policy; and digital privacy and risk.

Mi trabajo se sitúa dentro de los dominios de la interacción humano-computadora (HCI); etnografía crítica; tecnología para el cambio social; estudios de ciencia, tecnología y sociedad (STS); e (in)migración. Los contextos incluyen migración en el hemisferio occidental; desplazamiento y separación familiar sancionada por las políticas migratorias de los Estados Unidos; y privacidad y riesgo digital.



Spring / Summer 2020
I am conducting remote in-depth interviews and online participant observation with Cuban residents in Havana to explore how the concept of “resolviendo” is manifest on the island as a cultural ideology and economic strategy. Dr. Michaelanne Dye leads the project in efforts to understand sociotechnical innovations borne from widespread constraint. 

March 5-6, 2020
I presented at the University of Michigan-Universidad de Puerto Rico Collaborative Symposium on the UPR Rio Piedras campus. This year’s theme was Integrating the Concept of Vulnerability into the Classroom, which focused on developing research curricula for secondary school classrooms. 

May 21-August 6, 2019
I was in select research sites in Honduras to conduct my pre-candidacy fieldwork. This summer marked a preliminary step towards understanding the usage of technology by Hondurans who have participated and/or failed in the process of clandestine border crossing.

May 4-9, 2019
I was in Glasgow to co-present a Best Paper with Dr. Tawanna Dillahunt at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ‘19). Our work, “Online Grocery Delivery Services: An Opportunity to Address Food Disparities in Transportation-scarce Areas”, assesses the feasibility of technological interventions in enabling access to healthier food selections and engendering health empowerment in low-resource contexts.

Contact me

Ponte en contacto conmigo

Email is the best way to contact me—you can send your inquiries, comments, and/or objections to

Otherwise, you can connect with me on LinkedIn.