I study targeted advertising from the perspective of consumers and advertisers.

  • Professional Experience

    User Experience Researcher, Facebook

    Ads Delivery team, Menlo Park CA

    January 2017 - Present

    I have recently joined the Ads Delivery team at Facebook. This team works on making sure that Facebook ads are delivered to the right audiences (as intended by the advertisers). I'm going to be doing UX research on the ads targeting interfaces that advertisers interact with.

    User Experience Research Intern, Google

    Privacy Research & Design team, Zurich

    June 2015 - August 2015

    I conducted surveys and semi-structured interviews to understand which situations people find intrusive in their online experiences. In my study, I identified different aspects of online situations that users find intrusive, as well as the reasons why they find them intrusive. Based on the results of my studies, I made recommendations to several product teams for how they can reduce perceived intrusiveness of their products through policy and design changes.

    PhD Student, Carnegie Mellon University

    Heinz College, Pittsburgh PA

    August 2011 - December 2016

    My research interests include behavioral economics, judgment and decision making, privacy, social networks and behavioral advertising. In my PhD research, I studied:

    1) Behavioral factors that can impact individuals' likelihood to disclose personal information online

    2) Subliminal ways in which personal information can be used in targeted advertisements

    3) The impact of in-the-moment awareness of targeting on individuals' attitudes towards the ad

    Teaching Assistant, Carnegie Mellon University

    Heinz College, Pittsburgh PA

    August 2012 - October 2014

    I was a teaching assistant for the following courses:
    1. Economic Analysis (received the Best Teaching Assistant award)
    2. Data Analysis for Managers
    3. Economic Principles of Policy Analysis
    I have been a guest lecturer for the following courses:
    1. Economic Analysis
    2. Program Evaluation

    Co-Founder, Parivartan Foundation

    Andhra Pradesh, India

    March 2009 - January 2011

    Parivartan Foundation for Socio Economic Development is a youth led non-profit organization registered under the Indian Societies Act, supported by programs such as the Goldman Sachs Global Leadership Program. Our projects include:
    1) Training youth and adults in the use of information and communication technologies
    2) Testing agricultural soil to provide feedback to farmers on how they can improve the quality of their produce
    3) Providing access to affordable storage spaces where farmers can store their crop safely
    4) Connecting donors with recipients who require monetary support for medical or educational purposes

    Research Intern, NCAER

    New Delhi, India

    July 2010 - December 2010

    At the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), I performed secondary data analysis for 'Mobile India Revisited: understanding the role of new communication technologies as instruments in shaping the lives of the Indian populace'. I also led a team of 15 enumerators for primary data collection in Hyderabad city for 'Assessing the Effectiveness of Small Borrowings in India'.

  • Skills

    Experimental Design and Analysis

    Statistical Analysis of Behavioral Data

    Qualitative Research

    Project Management

    Face Morphing

    Teaching Graduate Level Economics and Statistics

  • Education

    Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

    Public Policy & Management

    Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

    December 2016

    Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.)

    Public Policy & Management

    Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

    May 2014

    Master of Science (M.Sc.)


    Birla Institute of Technology and Science

    June 2011

    Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.)

    Mechanical Engineering

    Birla Institute of Technology and Science

    June 2011

  • Contact Me

    The best way to reach me is by email at sonamsamat@gmail.com