Cecilia AragonCecilia Aragon

Lab Director Cecilia Aragon is a Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering and a Senior Data Science Fellow at the University of Washington’s eScience Institute. She earned a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 2004. Her research focuses on human-centered data science, an emerging field at the intersection of human-computer interaction (HCI) and the statistical and computational techniques of data science and artificial intelligence (AI). Her interests lie in visual analytics and human-centered AI. In 2008, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the US government on scientists in the early stages of their careers, for her work in collaborative data-intensive science. Her latest book, Human-Centered Data Science: An Introduction, was released in 2022 by MIT Press.

Katie Davis

Katie Davis is an Associate Professor at The University of Washington Information School and a founding member of the UW Digital Youth Lab. Her research explores the role of new media technologies in young people’s personal, social, and academic lives, with a particular focus on the intersection between technology and identity development during adolescence and emerging adulthood. Katie is the co-author with Howard Gardner of The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World (2013, Yale University Press). She holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate in Human Development and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Jevin West

Jevin West

Jevin West is an Associate Professor at The University of Washington Information School. He builds models, algorithms and interactive visualizations for understanding the flow of information in large knowledge networks. Two particular areas of interest are scholarly communication and intellectual property. Jevin co-founded ( — a free website and research platform for mapping science and identifying influential papers, journals and scholars. He received his PhD in Biology from the University of Washington in 2010.

Sarah Evans

In 2017, Sarah received her PhD from UW in Learning Sciences, a division of Educational Psychology that explores how people learn within and across formal and informal environments. She is now an assistant professor at the University of North Texas in the School of Library and Information Studies. Her research examines the intersections of learning, literacies, and identities. She is particularly interested in how adolescents use popular culture in their lives. Sarah worked in public and school libraries for ten years. Her dissertation is an ethnographic case study of public library services for adolescents in an immigrant community. Sarah has a BA in Drama and a Master of Library and Information Science degree, both from the University of Washington.

PhD Students

Jenna Frens

Jenna Frens (she/they) is a PhD candidate in Human Centered Design and Engineering. Their research centers on designing inclusive online learning communities, drawing on perspectives including Data Feminism, Connected Learning and Design Justice. She runs the Fanfiction Data Science research group at the Human Centered Data Science Lab. Most recently, Jenna’s dissertation focuses on co-designing a feed and social recommendation algorithm with an online fanfiction community. Jenna is a full-time Data Scientist at Adobe, has a MS in Human Centered Design & Engineering from UW and a BS in Computer Science and Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University.

Andrea PhotoAndrea Figueroa

Andrea is a PhD student in Human Centered Design and Engineering. Her research interests include human-centered data science, data visualization and AI. She obtained her BS and MS in Computer Science Engineering from Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María in Chile.

Sourojit Ghosh

Sourojit is a PhD candidate in Human Centered Design and Engineering. He obtained his BS in Computer Science with a Minor in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Aside from his interests in Human-Centered Data Science, Sourojit is also interested in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning as tools to adopt human-centered approaches to real-world problems.

Kimberly Perkins

Kimberly Perkins

Kimberly is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Individual PhD program offered by the UW Graduate School. She is also a professional pilot with extensive domestic and international experience in airline operations and business aviation. She blends her industry experience with her doctoral research focusing on psychological safety in the flight deck. She is interested in sociotechnical systems and aims to enhance aviation safety with human-centered data informed with cognitive and behavioral science. She holds a BS in Aviation: Flight Operations and a MA in Political Science. She is a Fellow at the Royal Aeronautical Society and serves as an academic advisor on the CAE Human Performance Excellence (hpX) Council.

Murtaza Ali

Murtaza is a PhD Student in Human-Centered Design and Engineering. His research interests center around computing education and data visualization. He is particularly interested in the design and structure of introductory computing and data courses. He has taught introductory courses at various levels, including at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels, as well as for industry learners interested in advancing their careers. Murtaza received his B.A. in Applied Mathematics with a focus in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley.

Ruoxi Shang

Ruoxi is a PhD candidate in Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. She received her BA in Applied Mathematics and BA in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley in May 2020. Her research interest lies in applying Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and other data science methods to explore human-centered problems.

John Fowler

John is a Ph.D. candidate in Human-Centered Design and Engineering. His research interests include online communities (particularly related to the foster care system), communication, and human-centered data science. He received a BA in Mathematics at Pomona College.

Masters Students

Kush Tekriwal

Kush Tekriwal is a MS in Data Science student at University of Washington. He obtained his undergraduate degree also from UW in Human Centered Design & Engineering. His interests include Natural Language Processing (NLP), Computer Vision, and Reinforcement Learning. Kush is passionate about leveraging human centered data science to improve decision making in different domains.

Linda Wu

Linda Xiaolei Wu is a MS student in Human Centered Design and Engineering. She has a BS in Statistics and Psychology with a Certificate in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is interested in studying informal learning happening in online communities using human-centered data science.

Undergraduate Students

Niamh Froelich

Niamh Froelich is an undergraduate student majoring in Human Centered Design & Engineering with a concentration in data science. Her research interests include data visualization, human-centered data science, and learning in online communities.

Visiting Scholars

Netra Pathak

Netra graduated with a Master’s degree from the Information School at University of Washington in 2020. She is currently working as an Associate Data Scientist at Jefferies. With her background in Data Science, blending Analytics and User Experience, her research interests are visual analytics and natural language processing. She loves to leverage information and perform research to create products that contribute to a better community.

Lab Alumni

YeaseulKimVanessa Peña-Araya

Vanessa earned her PhD in the Computer Science Department of the University of Chile in 2018. She earned her BS in Computer Science Engineering from the same university in 2012. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher with the ILDA team at INRIA. Her research interests focus on visual analytics and data mining. She is particularly interested in working on projects that bring together people from different fields. She enjoys teaching, and her experiences include serving as a teaching assistant at the collegiate level and teaching kids the Scratch programming language.

John RobinsonJohn Robinson

John is a PhD candidate in Human Centered Design and Engineering. His interests include data visualization, human-computer interaction, and group dynamics. He has over 15 years of software development experience including the first internet-streaming consumer-electronics devices.

Nan-Chen ChenNan-Chen Chen

Nan-Chen graduated with a Ph.D. in Human Centered Design and Engineering  in 2019 and is currently a Software Engineer at Google AI. She received her BS in Computer Science and Information Engineering with a minor in Psychology from National Taiwan University in 2013. She is particularly excited about building visual analytics tools for domain experts to explore and analyze data. In addition, she is interested in studying how people interact with their data and write code.

Taylor ScottTaylor Scott

Taylor received his Ph.D. in Human Centered Design and Engineering in 2017, studying the role of distributed affect in collaboration. He has now returned to the Department of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego as a faculty member, after earning his B.S. in Cognitive Science with an HCI focus from UCSD in 2011.

Alexis Hiniker

Alexis Hiniker

Alexis Hiniker received her Ph.D. in Human Centered Design and Engineering in 2017, studying the design of technologies for children and families. She is currently an assistant professor in the Information School at the University of Washington. She holds a master’s degree from Stanford University in Learning, Design, and Technology, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in Computer Science. She is CTO and co-founder of Go Go Games Studios, a start-up company and game studio that creates educational games for children with autism.

Meg Drouhard (1)

Mar Drouhard

Mar joined the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering as a PhD student in 2015. Prior to joining HCDE, Mar earned her MS in Computer Science from the University of Tennessee, where she researched applications of visualization in the evaluation of artificial neural networks. Her primary research interest is visual analytics, and she is most interested in opening up data exploration to non-data scientists through visualization.

Kit KuksenokKatie Kuksenok

Kit received a PhD in 2016 from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Current position: Senior R&D Engineer at a chatbot startup in Germany, working at the intersection of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Additional interests include the art of programming, and developing new channels for interaction with text and written language.

Sayamindu Dasgupta

Sayamindu Dasgupta was a Moore/Sloan & WRF Innovation in Data Science Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington. He is now an assistant professor with HCDE at UW. Situated at the intersection of human-centered data science and the learning sciences, Sayamindu’s research focuses on “learning with data,” where he designs and studies toolkits that provide children opportunities to create computer programs that access, analyze, and visualize data. As a data scientist, Sayamindu also conducts large-scale quantitative analyses to understand the conditions that support informal learning in online communities. Sayamindu received his PhD from MIT where he was a part of the team behind Scratch — a programming language and online community used by millions of children worldwide to create, share, and learn.

Anissa Tanweer

Anissa Tanweer

Anissa Tanweer received her PhD from the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. She is interested in the ways people organize with and around data, and how the availability of increasingly large, heterogeneous data sets is transforming the way we construct knowledge and make decisions. She is now a data scientist at the eScience Institute at UW.

 Ray HongRay Hong

Ray received his PhD in Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington in 2018. He is now an assistant professor at George Mason University. He is interested in Human-Computer Interaction focused information visualization and aspired to invent software & user interfaces that give benefits and pleasure to people. His current research interests are cartography, cartograms, visual metaphor, and network visualization. Before he joined HCDE, he worked at Samsung as a user interface researcher.

Brittany Fiore-SilfvastBrittany Fiore-Gartland

Brittany Fiore-Gartland is a data science ethnographer studying the sociocultural implications of data-intensive science and how data-intensive technologies are reshaping how people work and organize. Her research focuses on cross-sector and interdisciplinary data science collaborations; emerging pedagogical models; and bringing a human-centered, sociotechnical perspective to data science practice. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Washington and an M.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University. As an interdisciplinary researcher she is most at home somewhere between Science and Technology Studies (STS), Media Studies, and Organizational Communication.

YeaseulKimYea-Seul Kim

Yea-Seul received her MS in Human Centered Design and Engineering in 2014 and her PhD from the Information School at the University of Washington in 2020. She is now an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on human-computer interaction, information visualization and data science. Before she joined UW, she worked at Samsung as a product research analyst.

Michael BrooksMichael Brooks

Michael received his PhD from the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering in September 2015, where he produced a dissertation titled Human Centered Tools for Analyzing Online Social Data. He now works at Apple (previously at Turi, formerly Dato) as a software engineer and data scientist on tools to help developers build applications powered by machine learning.

Daniel PerryDaniel Perry

Daniel Perry received his PhD in Human Centered Design and Engineering in 2015. He was a data science postdoctoral fellow in the School of Information at UC Berkeley until 2017, and is now a researcher at Thalmic Labs in Ontario. He was a member of the HDS Lab from 2011-2015. He holds a B.A. from Brown University and a Master of Information Management & Systems from UC Berkeley. He was previously a graduate researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. His research is on engagement in collaborative game environments and the integration of scientific data sets in games.