Dr. Sophia B Liu is an interdisciplinary Innovation Specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) working with the Science and Decisions Center (SDC); the Mineral Resources Program (MRP); the Energy and Minerals, and Environmental Health (EM-EH) Mission Areas; and the Office of Enterprise Information (OEI). She worked at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), the St. Petersburg Coastal Marine Science Center, and the Energy, Minerals, and Environmental Health programs at the USGS National Center as a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow conducting research on crowdsourcing, citizen science, and civic hacking.
Dr. Liu applies human-computer interaction (HCI) and computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) techniques to the fields of crisis informatics and earth science. She investigates the social and behavioral uses of information and communication technology (ICT) around disasters to inform the design of future crowdsourcing projects, citizen science, and civic hacking efforts that improve government services. She also explores the opportunities and challenges with integrating data from the general public and how data science is enabling the communication of information and science online in more interactive ways. Dr. Liu was also awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship in 2006.
Her doctorate research at the University of Colorado at Boulder focused on the use of social media pertaining to historically significant crises and the emergence of socially distributed curation as a way of managing crisis information in the social media landscape. She has given numerous invited talks on the emerging use of social technology for emergency management and the rise of open innovation through crowdsourcing and citizen science. As an innovation specialist and user experience researcher, Dr. Liu investigates the Socio-cultural, Technological, Organizational, and Policy (STOP) interfaces that need to be redesigned to improve government services.