Future Students

MS Ambassadors

The Human Centered Design & Engineering Master's Ambassador program enables prospective students to learn from the experiences of current HCDE Master's students.


The HCDE Graduate Ambassadors are not currently taking appointments until autumn 2021. Check back then to make an appointment.

2021 Graduate Ambassadors

Susan Jung

Hi there! My name is Susan and I am currently a full-time Master's candidate in MS HCDE, anticipating graduation in Spring 2022. I earned my Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech and had a brief stint of designing high-rise buildings as an Architectural Designer in major metropolitan cities. My education and work experience in architecture taught me problem-solving strategies in the physical realm, but I wanted to expand my design spectrum to the digital realm; this led me to pursue my Master's degree in HCDE. Within the HCDE program, my interests include: ethical design, IoT, and project management. Please feel free to reach out with any questions! 

Yi-le Zhang

Hi! My name is Yi-le, pronounced Yee-La. I'm a Master's student in the HCDE program. Before this program, I study psychology also at UW, so although I'm an international student, I've been around the UW campus and Seattle for quite a few years now. My strength is on UX research but I also enjoy the design side of things although I am definitely not the best drawer. I am also a member of some local UX communities and help organize one of these communities, so I would be happy to talk to the prospective students or connect them with this vibrant community. 

EJ Lim

Hi, I’m EJ! I joined HCDE as a full-time MS student in 2020. I earned my bachelor’s degrees in Visual Communication Design and Product Design. Before joining this program, I worked as a UX designer for 1 year and I found myself passionate about finding and solving different problems to improve user experience. As a design-focused UX-er, I really enjoyed taking research classes such as 519 and 517, where I learned to strengthen my skills in user interview and research analysis. I’m particularly interested in accessibility design and gamification design. 

Vijayalaxmi “VJ” Padmanabhan

Hey There, I'm VJ! I am currently a full-time Master's student at HCDE, based in Seattle. Previously, I worked in the Tech Consultancy Industry for 3+ years in Bengaluru, India. I did my undergraduate degree in Information Technology. While working there I discovered my passion for intuitive and pretty dashboard designs that tells the story perfectly. This made my transition into the UX field, to carefully curate delightful user experiences for the human realm. I particularly enjoyed learning User-Centered Design and Qualitative research classes, where I had to do research and design solutions. Always up for deep conversations and love to talk about anything under the sky over a cup of hot cocoa.

Sara Cagle

Hello! My name is Sara and I'm a part time MS HCDE student. For undergrad, I received a BS in computer science and a BS in Chinese from Georgia Tech in Atlanta, but most recently I have been working as a front-end developer at a large tech company in the Redmond, Washington area. ;) I have always been passionate about HCI, concentrating in the area during my undergrad and frequently integrate HCD concepts into my work and with my team in the office. Within the program, I am particularly focused on global and cross-cultural courses and research, often stemming from my previous experience living in Beijing and wanting to better connect the US with China and with technology. Chat with me about what it's like to work in an engineering field full-time while completing the MS HCDE program, or what it's like in the program with a technical background.

Cindy Xu

Hi, I'm Cindy! I'm currently a full time MS HCDE student expected to graduate in Spring 2021. I graduated from NYU with a BA in psychology and course concentrations in law and entertainment/media business. As someone who expected to go to law school, I had no formal design background and all of my professional experience is in the legal industry. After pivoting from being a legal assistant to digital marketing and business development, I discovered I enjoyed the creative aspects of my marketing role which eventually led me to discover the field of ux design. I moved to Seattle from NYC to attend the program in 2019 while maintaining a part time arrangement with the company I worked for before I left (would be willing to talk more and share my experience with this!). My interests include visual design, gamification, and music / music technology. After this program, I intend to continue in the industry as a product/ux designer. I'm particularly interested in building meaningful, immersive products and experiences that facilitate connection and empathy. 

Chris Horng

Hello! My name is Chris from California and I moved to Seattle to join the HCDE Master’s Program. Currently a 2nd year student and interning at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I am anticipating graduation in Spring 2022. Prior to HCDE, I worked in the market research space and earned my bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Film & Media Studies from the University of California, Irvine. My prior experiences have taught me the importance of bridging the gap between technology and design, creating solutions that simplify and improve lives. My interests lie in participatory design, gamification, experiential design, and emerging technologies. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about HCDE or what it’s like to be an HCDE student. 

Anna Moreno

Hi, I’m Anna! I’m a full-time MS student in HCDE and earned my BA in Business Administration at California State University, Fullerton. I worked for several years as a brand strategist at a multicultural advertising agency with expertise in the U.S. Hispanic market. During that time, I attended a design thinking and prototyping workshop that introduced me to the possibilities of design and technology. I’m interested in the responsible design of systems and technologies, all while advocating for humans and beyond. I’ve worked on several interesting projects in the mental health space, and have done a DRG on Race, Gender, Ethics, and Technology. I’m happy to talk about how I bring in my previous education and career experiences to HCDE, pivoting careers, life as a first-generation grad student, plus finding community and support. 

Mark Tas

Hello, I'm Mark. I joined HCDE in 2020 as a part of the UCD certificate program and have since started in the MS program part time. I moved to Seattle from Florida, seeking nature and new experiences! My background is in marketing and communications, and I've always been fascinated with design as it relates to humans and how we relate to technology and the world around us. I think it's exciting to harness the power of technology and use it to empower those around us and make the world a better place. My interests are in ethical, sustainable and inclusive design. Happy to chat HCDE, different courses, being new in town, LGBTQ+ issues and everything in between.

Patriya Wiesmann

Hi, I’m Patriya! In 2019, I traveled cross-country from NYC to Seattle to join the HCDE Master’s Program. Driven by a love of learning, I believe in blending skill sets and enjoy working in multidisciplinary environments. Prior to HCDE, I was leading efforts in voice recognition technologies, language management, and vehicle infotainment systems in industry. Midwestern at heart, I studied at The Ohio State University completing my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with minors in design and German. My interests lie in accessibility, ethical design, and engineering education. Fun Fact - My dog, Zelda, has road-tripped cross-country and along the Pacific Coast Highway with me. I enjoy meeting new people and providing mentorship. Feel free to reach out with any questions - HCDE, GO-MAP, pivoting careers, engineering, and study abroad to name a few!