Research by UALR student, professor leads to top paper award

Amit Saha head shot

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor and a Ph.D. candidate recently earned a prestigious honor from an international conference.

Dr. Nitin Agarwal, a leading social media scholar, and one of his Ph.D. students, Amit Saha, garnered a top paper award at the Social Media Technologies, Communication and Informatics Conference.

The conference was held Nov. 15 through 20 in Barcelona, Spain.

Agarwal,  UALR Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy chair in the Information Science Department, was one of the keynote speakers for the event organized by the International Academy, Research, and Industry Association. Judges also invited the UALR researchers to submit their extended work for journal publication consideration.

Saha said the paper, titled Helping Hands of Autism Blogger Community in Social Media Platforms,” features his research that could assist people who are dealing with autism-related issues, enabling them to find better sources of information and ultimately improving their lives.

Nitin Agarwal head shot
Nitin Agarwal

“For the families dealing with autism,” Saha said, “social media sites provide an open and easily accessible platform to share, gather, and exchange information.”

Saha analyzed the social media interaction of members of the autism community. He said his proposed methodology equips researchers to estimate social support in a health community and to evaluate the effectiveness of those communities.

Agarwal has drawn accolades and federal funding for his research of how messages spread and groups form on social media platforms, including the viral nature of “deviant” behaviors by entities such as ISIS.

Saha is a doctoral candidate in information science at UALR and is employed as a senior data analyst at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Photo: Pictured in the upper right is UALR doctoral candidate Amit Saha. 

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