Megan Torkildson speaks at HCDE’s Corporate Affiliates Day

Posted by Daniel Perry on October 31, 2013
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Undergraduate lab member Megan Torkildson gave a well received talk at HCDE’s Corporate Affiliates Day (CAP Day) yesterday morning. CAP Day is a time for faculty and students to share research projects and connect with industry partners including Microsoft, Mosaic, Boeing and others. Megan spoke about the department’s emphasis on community involvement in research and shared her recent work on text and social media analysis, discussing the development of the ALOE (Affect Labeler of Expressions) tool and research on social media Twitter posts around an oil spill.

SCC Lab Inaugural Healthy Meal a Huge Success

Posted by Daniel Perry on October 15, 2013
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labinauguralhealthymeal“Let’s share food and flavors we care about, and learn new recipes,” so began the entreaty by lab member and CSE PhD student Katie Kuksenok to start a lab tradition of sharing healthier homemade foods. Out with the pizzas and sodas and in with the fresh soups, salads, breads, and grains. The SCCL’s inaugural lab meal was a huge success, featuring delicious dishes fresh from Katie’s kitchen, including a savory pumpkin curry soup with lentils, a sweet potato cranberry arugula salad, and a chai spices mango bread pudding. Lab member Michael Brooks contributed warm corn bread, the perfect addition to this fall meal. SCCL director Cecilia Aragon commented, “judging from everybody’s delighted commentary and lip-smacking, it was a tremendous success.” Looking around at the empty dishes and big smiles after the meeting, we couldn’t agree more.

On next week’s menu: Korean style rice balls with vegetables, meats, and fish, and a mapo tofu side contributed from the kitchen of lab member and PhD student Ray Hong. Yum!

Megan Torkildson Receives Engineering Scholarships

Posted by Daniel Perry on October 12, 2013
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SCC lab member Megan Torkildson has received the College of Engineering’s Emerging Leaders in Engineering Scholarship and HCDE’s Boeing Scholarship. The Emerging Leaders Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students in the Emerging Leaders in Engineering program who demonstrate leadership potential.

Megan is currently an undergraduate in Human Centered Design & Engineering and was previously a National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholar. Her main academic interests are interaction design, information visualization, crowdsourcing, and social media research. She placed second in the CHI 2013 Student Research Competition for her work on visualizing machine learning errors. Megan also works as a PEERs (Promoting Equity in Engineering Relationships) leader, educating the engineering community about the importance of diversity in engineering.

John Robinson Receives Sakson Diversity Scholarship

Posted by Daniel Perry on October 10, 2013
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SCC lab member John Robinson received the Sakson Diversity Undergraduate Scholarship in the Human Centered Design & Engineering Department. The scholarship was established to award undergraduate students in HCDE that are expanding diversity in the educational and professional setting.

Katie Kuksenok and Cecilia Aragon contribute to the first paper in the Journal of Surgical Research to investigate the use of crowdsourcing for surgical skills assessment

Posted by Daniel Perry on September 23, 2013
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SCC Lab member and CSE PhD student Katie Kuksenok and SCC Lab director Cecilia Aragon were co-authors on a recent article accepted to the Journal of Surgical Research. The article titled “Crowd-Sourced Assessment of Technical Skills (C-SATS): A Novel Method to Evaluate Surgical Performance” marks the first use of crowdsourcing for surgical skills assessment. The article was co-authored by Carolyn Chen, Lee White, Timothy Kowalewski, Rajesh Aggarwal, Chris Lintott, Bryan Comstock, Katie Kuksenok, Cecilia Aragon, Daniel Holst, and Thomas Lendvay.

The article explores the effectiveness of large crowds sampled from two on-line crowdsourcing venues,’s Mechanical Turk and Facebook, testing the hypothesis that crowdsourcing of technical skills using validated surgical assessment tools is equivalent to assessment by experienced surgeon educators. Their results show that not only could crowds, presumably unfamiliar with surgical education, rate a common robotic surgery suturing task equivalent to experienced surgeons’ ratings, but that the crowds could also be honed to identify crowd workers who demonstrated markers of critical thinking making the workers more accurate. While this research finding does not presume that such a rating can assess surgical judgement, they note that this observation is not unlike being able to identify good from bad athletic performances in a sport one may have no ability to play.

This research represents a departure from conventional wisdom and practice in the area of procedural skills education. CSATS may provide a potential opportunity to disseminate basic technical skills assessment rapidly and globally while preserving educator resources ‘on the ground’ for refined, tailored advanced technical skills curricula to accelerate individual learning curves.

Daniel Perry receives two best paper awards at XSEDE 2013

Posted by Daniel Perry on July 26, 2013
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SCC lab member and HCDE PhD student Daniel Perry has received two best paper awards at the Extreme Science and Engineering (XSEDE) 2013 Conference in San Diego. Perry received Best Student Paper and Best Training, Education, & Outreach Paper Awards for the paper, “Human Centered Game Design for Bioinformatics and Cyberinfrastructure Learning,” which he presented at XSEDE on July 24.

The paper was co-authored by HCDE Professor and SCC lab director Cecilia Aragon, Stephanie Cruz (PhD student in Medical Anthropology), Mette Peters (Sage Bionetworks), and Jeanne Chowning (Northwest Association for Biomedical Research). It provides a human centered game design methodology for science educators and science game designers, as well as design implications for integrating collaborative learning experiences into the usage of large-scale shared computing resources and services. In the talk, Perry detailed their ongoing design process with high school students, undergraduate and graduate students, scientists, and educators in the development of the bioinformatics and cyberinfrastructure learning game Max5.

Megan Torkildson Places Second in CHI Student Research

Posted by Daniel Perry on May 15, 2013
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During the 2013 CHI conference, SCCL lab member and HCDE undergraduate Megan Torkildson competed in the student research competition. Semi-finalists delivered a poster presentation, and finalists were chosen to present a short talk about their research during a conference session. Out of the six selected finalists, Megan was the only undergraduate. She placed second in her category on her work developing a visualization for machine learning errors.

Katie Kuksenok Presents Two Papers at CHI

Posted by Daniel Perry on May 10, 2013
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Early this month, SCCL lab member and CSE PhD student Katie Kuksenok attended CHI 2013 in Paris, France. She presented two papers co-authored with lab member Michael Brooks on, “Challenges and Opportunities for Technology in Foreign Language Classrooms” and “Accessible Online Content Creation by End Users”. This year’s conference was the largest in CHI’s history with approximately 3,400 attendees.

Lab Members Collaborate as Visiting Scholars at the University of Chile

Posted by Daniel Perry on April 04, 2013
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In March, SCCL PhD student Michael Brooks and Professor Cecilia Aragon were invited for two weeks as visiting scholars to the Computer Science Department of the University of Chile, to collaborate on research with Professor Barbara Poblete and her students. Thanks to the University of Chile Department of Computer Science for their generous sponsorship of this visit. Professors Poblete and Aragon discovered their overlapping research interests in social media data mining and visualization through their involvement with Latinas in Computing.

Research to be Presented at International Conference on Biometrics

Posted by Daniel Perry on March 21, 2013
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A paper titled “Perceptions of Interfaces for Eye Movement Biometrics” by lab member Michael Brooks, lab director Cecilia Aragon, and Oleg Komogortsev (Texas State University San Marcos) has been accepted for publication at the 2013 International Conference on Biometrics. The conference will take place June 4-7 in Madrid, Spain. Through user studies of emerging technology for biometric identification via eye movement patterns, the paper argues for the increased use of human centered design practices in biometric systems research and development.