Human-Centered Computing

As a technologist, my primary interest is in closing the gap between the user and their information. Often, the steep learning curve of technology can be a barrier that keeps people from using tools that can make their lives easier and more productive. To help connect people with the information they need to improve their lives, I have focused my time as a student on studying human-centered computing, in addition to the technical and programming skills of a computer science degree.

Studying the User 

  • At the UM3D Lab, I develop for a system that translates natural hand movements into controls to navigate a 3D environment. This project has required an understanding of how people perceive their relationship with visualizations, e.g. do they gesture to interact with an image on a screen as they would interact with a physical object? What if the screen is 3D, or part of a larger immersive environment?
  • In Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation, my team and I did a full usability evaluation of Google Maps with focus on accessibility for handicapped individuals. We created an interaction map for the product, conducted user research, developed personas, and finally made a collection of accessibility recommendations at the end of the project. 

Human-Centered Product Design

  • As a Program Management intern at Microsoft, I worked on the Word team evaluating problem areas in list-making tools and image insertion on mobile. In these problem spaces where users have a set of expectations for a long-standing product like Word, it was critical to have an understanding the user's mental model of the software.
  • In Software Engineering, I proposed, designed, and later developed, with a team of fellow students, an application that allowed a local girl with cerebral palsy to compose music using a sequencer program on a tablet. Because of her limited motor control, this application had to be carefully designed to be operable with just one gesture. 

Visual and Interface Design

  • I learned a great deal about interaction design from the Office Design team as a Program Management intern. Together, we proposed new interaction designs that better aligned the internal structure of documents with their visual representation. Unfortunately, I cannot showcase these designs publicly for confidentiality reasons.
  • Although I do not have formal training in visual design, I work to present information as effectively as I can. These efforts can be seen in my research posters, which have received awards for visual and verbal presentation; and in the advertisements I have created for the Girls in EECS club.
  • As of December 2015 I am currently learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript independently to expand my skillset in interface development. Sample work will be posted here before 2016. 

Portfolio

A collection of some of my recent projects, including technical work, design, and outreach.

Technology Skills

Languages
  • C++ (fluent)
  • C (fluent)
  • SQL (fluent)
  • C# (familiar)
  • MATLAB (familiar)
  • Java (familiar)
  • Ruby (familiar)
Software
  • Visual Studio
  • Eclipse
  • PostgreSQL
  • Git
  • SourceTree
  • BitBucket
  • Perforce
  • Android SDK
  • Kinect SDK
  • OpenGL & GLUT

Education

Education

University of Michigan

Sep 2011 - May 2016

Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science

Courses:

  • Data Science for Medicine
  • Usability Evaluation
  • Models of Social Networks
  • Interactive Graphics
  • Software Engineering
  • User Interfaces
  • Foundations of Computer Science
  • Computer Architecture
  • Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Human-Centered Computing
  • Discrete Math
  • Programming and Data Structures
  • Music Signal Processing

Experience

Work History

University of Michigan 3D Lab

Aug 2012 - Present

Student Consultant

I provide support in 3D technologies for students, staff, and faculty at the university, with a specialization in human-centered computing and Microsoft Kinect development. When I'm not consulting, I work on various 3D input systems projects for clients and 3D Lab research.

  • Consulting on 3D technologies for lab visitors and clients
  • Developed a 3D, gesture-controlled input system for examining volumetric medical data in virtual reality
    • Input system presented at various conferences and events, including CyberInfrastructure Days 2014, MICWIC 2013, and as a demo representing the University of Michigan at the 2014 Supercomputing conference
  • Integrated real-time 3D body mesh from the Microsoft Kinect with existing in-house rendering engine

Microsoft

May 2015 - Aug 2015

Program Management Intern

I worked with the Microsoft Word team to improve the reading and authoring experience for Word users on mobile phones.

  • Designed and presented improvements to Word's mobile authoring tools
  • Conducted user studies to identify customer needs
  • Analyzed telemetry data to extract usage patterns

Microsoft

May 2014 - Aug 2014

Program Management Intern

I worked with the Microsoft Word team to improve tools for Bullets & Numbering in Word.

  • Conducted user research and analyzed telemetry data to identify issues with existing Bullets & Numbering system in Microsoft Word, identified gaps in existing telemetry
  • Designed and pitched updates to Bullets & Numbering, considering usability, system architectural limitations, and future expansion potential
  • Authored and presented feature specification and updated telemetry specification

Microsoft

May 2013 - Aug 2013

Explorer Intern

I worked with the Internet Explorer for Xbox team on the browser for Xbox One.

  • Planned and presented feature specification in Program Manager phase, integrating usage data and feedback to meet user needs while working with design, engineering, and management teams
  • Built feature with intern team while learning to use agile development practices, source control, and industry coding conventions in Software Developer phase
  • Created unit and functional tests for feature while learning about automation tools in Software Developer in Test phase

University of Michigan 3D Lab

Aug 2011 - Aug 2012

HCI Research Assistant

I worked with the UM3D Lab as a research assistant developing a new input system for our virtual reality space. I later transitioned to become an employee of the lab as a consultant.

  • Interfaced Microsoft Kinect and existing 3D rendering engine to represent users in virtual space without marker-based tracking
  • Built system to enable real-time collision with 3D objects using PhysX, allowing users to interact physically with virtual environments

Leadership

Girls in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Initiatives Committee Lead May 2015 - Present

President May 2014 - May 2015

Vice President Jan 2014 - May 2014

Outreach Officer Sept 2013 - Jan 2014

I lead the gEECS Initiatives committee and am organizing our trip to the 2015 Grace Hopper Conference.

Previously, I managed the gEECS officer team and administration as president and am currently assisting with the transition to our new leadership team as my graduation date approaches.

In 2014, gEECS:

  • Arranged to send 12 members to the Grace Hopper Conference
  • Continued our high school outreach with an Arduino workshop for local girls
  • Hosted numerous professional events to give our members networking opportunities
  • Encouraged connections between our members through social and academic events, study groups, and our mentorship program

Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach

Peer Mentor Sept 2013 - May 2014

I mentored two female underclassmen in Computer Science Engineering on a weekly basis during their first year at the university.  

Electronic Lunch

Coordinator Sept 2012 - Jan 2013

Electronic Lunch is a weekly think-tank for the makers of the UM community. A fellow student and I helped revamp it after a hiatus when the previous leader left. I helped organize events and speakers, and contributed to the blog. I was also in charge of advertising, including poster design. I also led a workshop on getting started with Kinect programming, which included an online tutorial that has since received 12K hits. It continues to average 500 hits/month today. https://electroniclunch.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/kinect- tutorial-c/https://electroniclunch.wordpress.com/author/mrachael

Contact Info.