Elin Björling

MeLab Co-Director & Project EMAR Team Lead

Elin is a Senior Research Scientist in Human-Centered Design and Engineering at UW as well as a Clinical Faculty Researcher in the School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership at UW-Tacoma. Over the past two decades, Elin has studied adolescent health utilizing mixed-methods and new technologies from a participatory design perspective. Her recent research has focused primarily on using an Ecological Momentary Assessment approach to study stress in adolescents. As the project lead for Project EMAR, Elin is leading an interdisciplinary team to build a social robot to capture stress and moods from teens. Elin is a trained program evaluator with experience in educational program evaluation. She has designed and implemented evaluation plans for several large educational grants both state and federally funded.

Emma Rose

MeLab Co-Director & Project EMAR Design Lead

Emma is an Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at UW Tacoma with an adjunct appointment in Human-Centered Design & Engineering at UW Seattle. Her research is motivated by a commitment to social justice and a belief that the way technologies are designed ultimately shapes our world. Her research interests include the practice of user experience, understanding how people use expertise to overcome constraints, and participatory research methods. Previous research has included investigating the emerging use of mobile phones in Kyrgyzstan, investigating how transnational users understand concepts related to health insurance, and investigating how user experience practitioners make rhetorical appeals in their design work. Further, she uses participatory research methods including video reflection as a way to understand users and their needs. Prior to her academic career, she spent over a decade working as a user experience consultant.


Maya Cakmak

Project EMAR, Technical Lead

Maya is a Robotics Researcher specialized in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) and Programming by Demonstration (PbD). She is an Associate Professor at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. Her research goal is to enable end-users of general-purpose personal robots to program new capabilities on their robots. In particular, highly interested in Ph.D. in which users can achieve this by providing demonstrations of what they want. Her work investigates challenges faced by potential users of such programmable robots and develops interaction mechanisms, learning algorithms and interfaces to make PbD more efficient and effective. Her Ph.D. thesis develops mechanisms for guiding users during PbD interactions, such as teaching instructions or questions asked by the robot.

Brock craft

Here and Now Kiosk

Brock Craft joined the UW Department of Human-Centered Design & Engineering from Goldsmiths, University of London, where he was a lecturer in physical computing, and London’s Royal College of Art, where he was a senior tutor for the master’s in information experience Design — a program that he co-created. His areas of expertise include information visualization, human-computer interaction, physical computing and learning design.

Jennifer Sonney


Jennifer primarily teaches pediatric courses in the DNP program, including pediatric assessment and diagnostic reasoning, pediatric diagnosis and management, and pediatric pharmacology.




Post-Doctoral Researchers

 Patrícia Alves-Oliveira

Project EMAR

Patrícia Alves-Oliveira is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the field of Human-Robot Interaction, in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Patrícia is part of the Human-Centered Robotics Lab, where she works with Prof. Maya Cakmak, and works closely with the Human-Centered Design and Engineering Department at the University of Washington, with Elin Bjorling. Her research passion lies in investigating ways to use social robots to empower and extend human abilities. In her work, Patrícia relies on methods from design research, psychology, and engineering to design, develop, and fabricate social robots. During her Ph.D., Patrícia studied how social robots can be used to nurture human creativity.



Industry Collaborators   



Todd little


Todd is a Unity Developer on Project RESeT and Lead UX Design Engineer at Fair Worlds where he works with his team to create immersive experiences for clients. He also graduated from the MS HCDE program in 2017 where he focused on virtual reality, accessibility, and game design.



Student Researchers

Leah Perlmutter

Project EMAR

Leah Perlmutter is a Ph.D. student studying Human-Robot Interaction at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at UW, advised by Maya Cakmak. She is excited about using robots to start conversations about mental health, and to help people gain more awareness of their mental health. She received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2017.

Katelynn Oleson

Project EMAR

Katelynn Oleson is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington, Tacoma campus. She is majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Innovation and Design. Her interests include learning more about human-centered design and how design thinking can impact the technology industry to promote diversity and maximize community benefit.


Sofia Rodriguez


Sofia is a Masters student in Human-Centered Design and Engineering who has a background in psychology and medicine. She joined Project RESeT because she wants to use emerging technologies to improve healthcare worldwide.


Nora Carr 


Nora Carr is a graduate student in Human Centered Design & Engineering at UW and former Critical Care Registered Nurse. She is passionate about using user-centered design to create positive experiences for people at the intersection of technology and healthcare. Her interests are centered around researching, designing, and developing virtual reality interventions for physical and mental health


Jared Canright 


Jared Canright is a PhD student in the Physics Education Research Group at UW and a Unity Developer on Project RESeT. He researches the potential of virtual reality to engage introductory physics students in authentic scientific discovery. More broadly, he is excited to be part of the drive to create virtual reality experiences that educate, empower, and heal.


Yufei Zhang


Yufei is a rising senior student double major in economics and mathematics at UW. She is passionate about human-centered design and using technology innovations to expand the reach of health equity. She wants to pursue a master’s degree in the field of HCI after graduation and become a UX researcher in healthcare. Aside from academic interest, she likes gaming, reading, and recently decided to learn digital drawing. 

Previous Staff and Students

wendy xu

Project EMAR



honson ling

Project EMAR



rachel ren

Project EMAR


RESeT, Project EMAR





Project EMAR




corey seaman