I was recently accepted to Northwestern University’s InfoSocial 2013 for my work, “Understanding Parents’ and Children’s Relationships to Sentimental Objects to Inform the Design of Record-keeping Systems for Parents.” InfoSoc is a graduate student research conference hosted by Northwestern’s Media, Society, & Technology doctoral program. My proposal described research I conducted with Nikki Lee as a research assistant for Professor Julie Kientz in our department, Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE). An abstract follows:

We are interested in designing technology to help parents of young children track developmental progress and identify early warning signs for developmental delay [2]. To motivate developmental record-keeping and reduce the anxiety surrounding tracking for health purposes, we are framing our technology as a tool for keeping sentimental records and memories. This paper will report on the results of a study carried out to understand the design requirements for such a system. We interviewed 16 parents and 10 children about the mementos they have saved from their baby years, focusing on issues of materiality, reasons for saving, and levels of access and engagement with mementos. We discuss tensions between the desire to save objects and the desire for less clutter, with implications for designing capture and access systems.

(A secret admission, though: I hope I’ll be able to present on my nascent dissertation work, though, which follows 3 mindfulness communities in a year-long ethnography in order to understand the relationship between technology and mindfulness and meditation practices!)

I was also accepted to present at the 2013 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, in Raleigh, NC, for my abstract titled, “A Participatory, Human-Centered Design Approach to Developing a New Course,” for work I am doing with Stephanie White and Kate Mobrand to develop a new 200-level course for our department that will teach, and hopefully excite, new undergrads about human-centered design. It can be difficult to find opportunities to grow my teaching expertise in a top-notch research-focused university, so I look forward to what I’ll learn at ISSOTL ’13.

I’m excited to present my work and meet new friends and colleagues at these fun venues!