About

I’m Jana (pronounced /dʒænə/), a PhD student in Information Science at the University of Illinois. I study natural language processing (NLP) and social computing from a user-centered, humanistic perspective, working at the intersections of fields like cultural analytics, human-computer interaction, and data-driven policy design. Before turning to a career in data science, I spent several years pursuing cross-disciplinary projects in the worlds of advertising, public relations, and literary scholarship. An alumna of the M.A. in English program at McGill University, I have had my research federally funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) since 2019.

After taking a few years away from publicly sharing my writing, I’m now in the process of returning to those spaces. Soon, I’ll be launching Season 2 of my long-standing newsletter, The Sunday Letters, which I founded in 2016.


What readers are saying about one of my longest-running projects, The Sunday Letters:

The Sunday Letters are always a thoughtful and welcome stop during my week. You get a moment to pause, to consider and to reflect … and Jana often leaves you with a question to keep you thinking long after you’ve finished reading. I love these letters and find myself forwarding them regularly to friends and family.” – Scott Burau

“I always look forward to reading Jana’s emails; it’s a breath of fresh air, … a timely reminder to take things slow and live in the moment.” – Andi Lanuza

“Reading a Sunday Letter is like briefly talking philosophy with a trusted friend. Short and simple but deep and fulfilling.” – Megan Snider

“A welcome respite from my usual Monday morning chaos.” – Carla

“Jana keeps on finding surprisingly simple yet touching ways to remind us that the most effective actions in the world are those within the reach of everyone.” – Jenan

“Although I know I should be expecting them, these letters always come as a surprise. I feel like Jana is a friend — the smart one who reads books that intimidate you — that shows up every two weeks to share something that’s on her mind. … Each letter feels like a quiet affirmation that we are all moving through a life filled with curious people, perspectives, and ideas.” – Audrey

“In a world where internet gurus tell us how to make our life better, Jana does the opposite — she gently provides food for thought.” – Lauren Attard

“Jana’s newsletter literally puts peace in my inbox every two weeks (and now weekly!). As soon as I see it, it pulls me in with every word.” – Kalee Ball

“While I have a habit of trashing some newsletters when my inbox is crowded, The Sunday Letters is always a must read. Jana explores a lot of small-yet-big topics that play through my mind while I’m painting. When they show up I sometimes feel like I’m having a delayed conversation with her!” – Melanie Biehle

“Elegant, thoughtful ponderings for anyone. I love how each letter commands you to slow down, absorb, and let it move you.” – Lauren Stephenson


News and updates:

  • May 2022: Research featured in an article published by the University of Illinois
  • Feb. 2022: Awarded a Lucile Huntington Wilkinson Memorial Scholarship from the University of Illinois
  • Jan. 2022: Published “Reading Through the Pandemic: A Year (and a Bit) in Review”
  • Dec. 2021: Awarded research funding from the University of Illinois iSchool Travel Scholarship
  • Nov. 2021: Invited to give a guest lecture (“Sentiment Analysis: What Is It, and How Can It Be Used?”) at the University of Illinois’ School of Information Sciences
  • Sep. 2021: Awarded a Lucile Huntington Wilkinson Memorial Scholarship from the University of Illinois
  • Sep. 2021: Featured on the ‘Research Radar’ series with an interview by Gabrielle Machnik-Kekesi
  • Sep. 2021: Completed the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate program
  • Aug. 2021: Awarded sponsorship to attend the 2021 Grace Hopper Celebration Conference
  • Apr. 2021: Co-presented a paper with Miranda Hickman at the American Comparative Literature Association‘s annual conference