Why did you choose UC Irvine for your graduate studies?
In addition to great year-round weather and an outdoor saltwater pool surrounded by palm trees, UCI has a graduate division invested in student well-being, a union that ensures its graduate students enjoy a decent standard of living, and an Informatics department with diverse, forward-thinking and award-winning interdisciplinary faculty and students. Furthermore, my research interests aligned with the work of Professors Kai Zheng and Yunan Chen, so I had to apply!
What has been your favorite class so far?
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but one class that I especially enjoyed was the Doctoral Seminar (IN4MATX 207S) with Professor Melissa Mazmanian. It was refreshing to pick apart each other’s theses, and I think all students left the class with a clearer idea of what their own theses would be.
Have you had any internships or jobs?
Before coming to Irvine, I had the pleasure of working as an intern at Lakeland Regional Health, where I helped design and develop software for Cerner, their electronic health record system.
Can you tell us about your research?
As an undergraduate working in the Perception Lab at the University of Utah, I wrote code for running perceptual psychology experiments in virtual reality. After that, I earned a master’s degree at Florida Polytechnic University, conducting ethnographic research in a local intensive care unit. Now, for my doctoral degree, I’m working on clinical decision support for health informatics.
What has been the best part of your experience so far?
We have a culture of support in the Health and Information (HAI) Lab — everyone is personally invested in everyone else’s success. We help each other out and celebrate our successes together. It’s a great environment.
What has been the most unexpected part of your experience?
I am constantly surprised by foods that are available within driving distance of UCI, originating from around the globe. There are raw, green almonds and janerik (sour green plums) from Iran. There is cherimoya, a fruit that tastes like bubble gum that comes from Central and South America. There is pão de queijo (cheese bread) from Brazil and pupusas from El Salvador. There are also high-quality, innovative vegan dishes in the area — pho and rich coconut cake come to mind.
What are your aspirations for the future?
My plan is to continue my research, improving patient safety and clinician well-being by advocating for evidence-based design of electronic health records.
Any advice for prospective graduate students interested in the program?
Pick a problem you are genuinely interested in and reach out to a faculty member with similar interests. Look over some core reading materials on the topic and demonstrate that you are self-motivated to advance your knowledge.
“We have a culture of support in the Health and Information (HAI) Lab — everyone is personally invested in everyone else’s success.”