By Ben Hosking, Contributing Writer
Khoury College alumnus, Dr. Glen Coppersmith (BS of Computer Science and Cognitive Psychology ‘04) received the Outstanding Alumni Award at Khoury College’s 2019 End of Year Celebration for his work at Qntfy to improve mental health outcomes using data science and machine learning. In addition to his BS, Coppersmith also earned a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Northeastern University’s College of Science. As Khoury College Dean Carla Brodley conferred the award upon Coppersmith, she remarked, “Glen founded Qntfy to integrate technology solutions with human behavior in order to promote public health and overall well-being.”
Coppersmith says, “I am honored and humbled by this recognition of the work my colleagues and I have been dedicated to at Qntfy. I see this recognition as validation of the importance of empowering mental health and wellbeing to today’s society, and the high value placed on designing technology for these challenges with ethics, compassion, and scientific validation.” A noteworthy achievement was his building of Qntfy’s OurDataHelps project, a database of volunteer-donated social media data to better understand the signs of a potential suicide attempt.
Dr. April Foreman, a mental health expert and member of the executive board of the American Association on Suicidology, notes that “Dr. Coppersmith was one of the first people to take widely available public data to turn it into knowledge about suicide risk across the world.” She continues, “He greatly accelerated the research on suicide – when no one was writing about the use of social media data in suicide prevention, he did.”
Kacie Kelly, director of Health & Wellbeing at the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative, says, “Glen’s work is uniquely positioned at the intersection of data science and mental healthcare. His groundbreaking work and leadership has led to innovative early detection tools that have the potential to change the landscape of mental healthcare and suicide risk detection globally.”
Coppersmith holds Northeastern’s learning model in high regard. He remarks, “Northeastern’s experiential education and co-op program instilled and reinforced a strong sense of pragmatism in me that has been a powerful edge in my life – focusing on applications and outcomes instead of just theory.” He praises the interdisciplinary nature of Northeastern’s combined majors: “Northeastern was prescient in creating the computer science and cognitive psychology dual-major.”
Coppersmith gives back to the community that inspired his work. Brodley declares, “We are incredibly grateful for Glen’s continued engagement with our students and philanthropy. He is a leader in the Khoury College community.”
Coppersmith was previously featured on the Today Show and in Khoury News.