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ABOUT

I'm an undergraduate in Computer Science looking to change the way that we think about computers. The potential for good software to facilitate amazing advancements in the human experience is what drives me to keep improving on our interaction systems. I want to improve our user interfaces and input systems so we can gain information and understanding faster- how many times has a great textbook or diagram helped you understand an idea? How often do you wave your hands and make gestures in an attempt to convey your own thoughts? These connections can come easier and more thoroughly with collaboration and visualization tools that fit perfectly into our natural interactions.

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

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

University of Michigan

Sep 2011May 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

University of Michigan 3D Lab

Aug 2012Present

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 2015Aug 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 2014Aug 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 2013Aug 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

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