Elsbeth Turcan


email: eturcan [at] cs [dot] columbia [dot] edu
office: cepsr 725
github: [eturcan]


I am a fourth-year PhD candidate in Natural Language Processing at Columbia University. My advisor is Kathleen McKeown. I spend a lot of time thinking about feelings, and how we express feelings in text.

I received my bachelor's degree in computer science from The George Washington University, where I was part of the LeTR project, in 2016, and Columbia has seen fit to give me my master's in computer science in 2018. Before college, I lived in the middle of nowhere (read: northeastern Pennsylvania, near that one city where The Office is set).

I am the current CRF liaison for Kathy's lab.

research interests

Broadly, I am interested in how humans express themselves in text, and what text tells us about the human who wrote it. I am currently investigating how we can detect and understand psychological experiences like stress purely from text (in this case, social media text), but I am interested in all emotions and psychological constructs (personality, health, etc.) that our writing might reflect, as well as the ethical implications of being able to detect them.

I think that interpretable models are incredibly important, especially for sensitive applications like detecting psychological properties of an author, and I try to draw on domain-specific knowledge and interdisciplinary work.

my publications


David Wan, Zhengping Jiang, Chris Kedzie, Elsbeth Turcan, Peter Bell, and Kathleen McKeown. Subtitles to Segmentation: Improving Low-Resource Speech-to-Text Translation Pipelines. Proceedings of the Cross-Language Search and Summarization of Text and Speech Workshop. 2020. [pdf]


Elsbeth Turcan and Kathleen McKeown. Dreaddit: A Reddit Dataset for Stress Analysis in Social Media. Proceedings of the Tenth International Workshop on Health Text Mining and Information Analysis. 2019. [pdf] [data]

slide decks

Slides from my February 2019 candidacy exam on emotion detection, and the fusion of NLP and psychology, can be found here.

fun facts

Please look at the cat-shaped goblin creature who lives in my apartment. His name is Pippin and he is a very, very handsome boy. I must show him off, almost pathologically, to everyone who will look.

Yes, my name is ELSBETH, not ELIZABETH. It's a German/Scottish variant. (I am in fact of both German and Scottish descent, so that works out.)