Why did you choose UC Irvine for your graduate studies?
I chose UC Irvine for access to the notable Informatics faculty. A friend once
told me that you can only be as good as your mentor, which is why it is
worthwhile to have the likes of Judy Olson, Gary Olson, Paul Dourish, Bonnie
Nardi, and Geoffrey Bowker all on the same floor. Aside from that, I chose
UCI for its campus amenities. I wanted to get into “making and fabrication”
spaces, and UCI definitely offered more equipment than my previous
What has been your favorite class so far?
My favorite class has been IN4MTX 241, Introduction to Ubiquitous
Computing, with Josh Tanenbaum. He helped the class think about ubicomp
from different perspectives — social, application and design perspectives. He
also provided some historical grounding and contemporary analysis of the
Have you had any internships or jobs?
My internship was at a company called Blackbox Inc., a shipping company
owned by Cards Against Humanity. I was initially hired as a UX design
intern, but when they saw my research abilities, they switched my position
to UX research. I conducted contextual inquiries, screen recordings,
interviews, and card sorting sessions, and I created several proposals with
Can you tell us about your research?
I have been working with a team of students, researching an interactive
storytelling unit using traditional art form. The work was approved to be part
of the Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP), which has been both nerve-
wracking and exciting! We’re currently in the process of thinking through our
ideas and providing initial sketches.
What has been the best part of your experience so far?
The best part has been working with talented peers who expand my thinking
and challenge my ideas. I’m also enjoying building and creating support
systems for the future.
What has been the most unexpected part of your experience?
The most unexpected part is that the program is theoretically heavy, but
that has definitely been enlightening. There is also a wide range of people
from different backgrounds, which has been nice.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I’ll probably be doing UX research with a corporate company, but as I
progress in this program, I’m becoming a little torn regarding where my
place will be. There are aspects of knowledge production and pedagogy that
interest me within academia. It is definitely an exploratory process, so we’ll
see where I end up.
Any advice for prospective graduate students interested in the program?
Seek out the work of professors who interest you, talk to graduate students
currently in the program and decide what research topics are close to your
heart. In moments of uncertainty, it will help to remind yourself of your
initial purpose in pursuing this research.