Grad School, Part Two!

I still can’t believe it’s already been a full year since I moved back to Atlanta from Pittsburgh. I have met extremely talented undergraduate and graduate students who I’ve befriended. Georgia Tech is very similar to CMU. Both are pioneers in HCI and it’s amazing to see the projects going on here. 

I’m also very lucky to get to work with my advisors Gregory Abowd and Rosa Arriaga. I was nervous at first coming to Tech because I was unsure where my contributions would fit in. Psychologist by training, developer and musician by personal exploration, I’m glad that I’ve been able to use all three of these skills so far in grad school. I look forward to continuing to grow in all three of my talents.

The summer internship was another excellent experience. I improved as a researcher, designer, leader, and team player. It was my first venture outside of industry, and it may not be the last.

This next semester is going to be tough, and that’s saying a lot.

My first year resulted in

  • a working Android app and paper which, even though it did not make it to publication, should still result in a successful submission.
  • an invitation by NASA in Houston to showcase a course project, a wearable device to aid patients undergoing knee rehabilitation
  • a video game available on Kongregate
  • a second Android app. It was a finalist in the Convergence Innovation Competition and almost a top-two finisher (as determined by judge voting)


The plans for this new school year, so far, include:

  • working with the Georgia Women, Infants, and Children organization that provides services to over 300,000 families in underprivileged communities. I’ll be designing a system to effectively communicate information about developmental milestones and disorders
  • continuing user testing and developing of the second Android app and (hopefully!) working with the Startup Semester, hosted by industry mentors affiliated with Georgia Tech
  • further research with the knee device in order to enter the CHI Student Design competition
  • composing music for the Emergent Game Group
  • user testing for an iPad app to accompany the viewing of Game of Thrones


On top of all this, I need to make the final decision on joining industry or getting a PhD after graduation. I’ve leaned towards industry since starting and am pretty sure that is the right option for me, but I may be biased since I just finished my first experience outside of academia (and an awesome one at that). The first decision, of course, is whether or not I am willing to apply to schools at all or if I am committed enough to joining the work force.

Busy, but awesome, year coming up!



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