Undergraduate Research Program

Joey Schafer

Major: Computer Science
Mentor:Kate Starbird, Human-Centered Design and Engineering; Emma Spiro, iSchool; Jevin West, iSchool


Current research projects: Impact of Spotlighting on Misinformation Spreaders


Joey Schafer is a senior studying Computer Science and Ethics at the University of Washington. Working with the Center for an Informed Public, he has worked on multiple projects to understand and combat the spread of disinformation, around both the 2020 US elections and the coronavirus vaccine. He hopes to continue studying these issues in graduate school.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
I work on understanding communities built around falsehoods, so that we can have a more informed, accurate society which is better equipped to maintain a functioning democracy as well as deal with political, environmental, and other crises from a perspective grounded in reality.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in research starting in January of 2020, my sophomore year, by reaching out to Dr. Kate Starbird about getting involved in her lab. I felt that this research was essential to our society, and wanted to do my part to help. I started by working in a Directed Research Group that she advised and that was ran by one of her PhD students, Andrew Beers. Since then, I’ve continued working with them, as well as many other CIP members, on a variety of both qualitative and quantitative projects, all of which I have greatly enjoyed.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
I would recommend joining a research group or project that you feel very passionate about. While research is incredibly fun and has been one of the most fulfilling parts of my UW experience, it’s important to find a lab doing work you enjoy and think is important, with people that you can work well with. I would also recommend looking to see what options for compensation (such as funding or course credit) your department or the department of the lab you’re working in offer. There are many options, and these can help to make doing research more of an option for many students.