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HCDE PhD student Prelim Presentations

November 9, 2021

Join the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering for a series of virtual presentations from HCDE PhD students in their second year in the program.

Students will describe their research project, including methods and any results thus far, and how this research contributes to the field. Individual presentations will be about 15 minutes with time for a brief Q&A after each talk.

2021 HCDE Prelim Presentations
November 19, 2021
10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Allen Auditorium, Allen Library

10:30 - 10:55 a.m.
Alainna Brown
Autoethnography of an Emergency Medical Technician
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As an emergency medical technician, medical student, and HCDE PhD student studying design work in everyday clinical practice, I am both a researcher studying a community and a member of the community I study. This presents unique opportunities and challenges in undertaking design research and design work. I aim to evaluate how autoethnography may be useful in my research for capturing and communicating explicit knowledge and implicit ideas/biases, surfacing new questions, and establishing statements of reflexivity and positionality. This led me to ask “how might I use autoethnography about clinical practice to inform future study designs as well as inform my statements of positionality and reflexivity?” I collected two datasets spanning a study period of June through October of 2021. I retrospectively collected digital traces relating to my emergency medical services work and associated topics, as well as observational, interview, photo, and written reflection data. I used ethnographic methods to surface emergent themes from my data. I then analyzed one of these themes through multiple theoretical lenses and then developed initial design recommendations for future studies as well as initial contributions to my positionality and reflexivity statements. Preliminary findings centered around using various instances of humor as seam detection. Humor is additionally used as a means of detecting and analyzing power structures involving patients and medical providers. Humor is a useful mechanism for detecting invisible tensions and for generating spaces in which power structures may be discussed and potentially dismantled. Assessing my use of humor proved helpful for writing my initial statement of reflexivity, though not positionality with the current data available.

11 - 11:25 a.m. 
Blair Subbaraman
“Just give me the primitives!”: Direct Control of Digital Fabrication Machines from a Creative Coding Environment
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Beyond model geometry, machine settings and tuning are critical for digital fabrication outcomes. However, experimenting with toolpath attributes such as acceleration or position in the work envelope requires several roundabout user steps in various software environments. We seek to enable more direct and programmatic control of digital fabrication machines. First, to understand desirable machine control parameters, we studied 3D printer maintenance practices. We found that people develop ad-hoc strategies with existing tools, building up experience with interdependent settings. To facilitate this exploration, we identified system design goals that promote practitioner agency, physical interaction, and cohesive design-to-fabrication loops. We present p5.fab, a system for controlling digital fabrication machines from the creative coding environment p5.js. We evaluated our system with creative code artists and found that it opens opportunities for material exploration and tuning. Finally, we discuss implications for future systems with direct machine control that foreground practitioner agency.

11:30 - 11:55 a.m. 
Meg Moldestad
Contact Zones in the VA's Electronic Health Records Transition
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Widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) in the United States (US) was stimulated just over a decade ago by the Health Information Technology for Economic Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 (Adler-Milstein & Jha, 2017). Since its introduction, most US healthcare systems have been through a “first generation” implementation from paper to electronic systems; now, increasingly more healthcare systems are going through a “second generation” implementation from one EHR to another (Hanauer et al., 2017). In late 2020, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the largest integrated healthcare system in the US, commenced a multi-year second generation transition. Given the participation of multiple, diverse, complex stakeholder groups in the VHA’s EHR transition, we explored the interaction between hierarchical relationships and expertise in the months preceding and following go-live by asking the following question: How can a public conversation between stakeholders with varying levels of institutional power reveal complexities of large-scale, second generation EHR transitions that ultimately impact healthcare provision? We hope this work will help to inform the complexities of second-generation EHR transitions and the role of government in ensuring successful transitions, especially given the uniquely public context in which it is taking place.

1 - 1:25 p.m.
Sourojit “G” Ghosh
“I love this, I missed you”: An Analysis of Emotion-based Connections in an Online Fanfiction Community
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As people continue to develop connections over the Internet in greater numbers than in-person, the complex factors behind them become important to study. One such factor is emotional expression, and we are motivated to better understand how it plays a role in both continuing existing friendships and building new relationships. In this study, we examined the role of emotions on, an online community where users post fanfiction and receive reviews from readers. We developed an emotional taxonomy and used it to qualitatively code 11,292 reviews from We introduce a novel metric of counting characters in reviews, an adjusted character count (ACC). We found that both positive and negative reviews have implications on relationship building, such as through in-depth mentorship and co-creation. Comparison of reviews from one-time and repeat reviewers found that repeat reviews are longer and express stronger emotions. We also qualitatively examined the reviews to explore how both positive and negative reviews led to the formation of relationships between authors and readers. We demonstrate relationship formation through established definitions of online friendships.

1:30 - 1:55 p.m.
Lubna Razaq
"We Even Borrowed Money From Our Neighbor": Understanding Mobile-based Fraud Through Victims’ Experiences
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Mobile-based scams are on the rise in emerging markets. However, the awareness about these scams and ways to avoid them remains limited among mobile users. We present a qualitative analysis of the dynamics of mobile-based fraud (specifically, SMS and call-based fraud) in Pakistan. We interviewed 96 participants, including different stakeholders in the mobile financial ecosystem: 71 victims of mobile-based scams, seven non-victims, 15 mobile money agents, and three officials from regulatory agencies that investigate mobile based fraud. Leveraging the perspectives from these stakeholders and analyzing mobile-based fraud with a four-step social-engineering attack framework, we make four concrete contributions: First, we identify the nuances as well as specific tactics, methods, and resources that fraudsters use to scam mobile users. Second, we look at other actors, beyond the victim and the adversary, involved or affected by fraud and their roles at each step of the fraud process. Third, we discuss victims’ understanding of mobile fraud, their behavior post-realization, and their attitudes toward reporting fraud. Finally, we discuss possible points of intervention and offer design recommendations to thwart mobile fraud, including addressing the vulnerabilities discovered in the ecosystem, utilizing existing actors to mitigate the consequences of these attacks, and realigning the design of fraud reporting mechanisms with the sociocultural practices.

2:00 - 2:25 p.m.
Yulianna Flores
“I appreciated it but I’m not so sure that I enjoyed it”: Exploring Engineering Student Experience Through Exam Wrappers
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As an early educator I am often thinking about how I might design assignments that engage students in awareness (critical consciousness) — how the class material connects to the world around them. But as I think about what I want students to gain from assignments I also wonder about their experience — will they enjoy the assignment or find it a nuisance? This paper sought to address the following questions: (1) How might we notice the students’ experience?; (2) What could we, as educators, learn with information about our students’ experiences? How could our teaching be impacted from information about students’ experiences? How might we transform the education experience of our students?; (3) What does having specific insights about student experiences suggest about how we as a community might move forward in thinking about justice? As part of a larger project, we created a reaction protocol to understand students’ experience with exam wrappers. We were able to conduct eight interviews with students using the reaction protocol. Based on the students’ engagement with the reaction protocol we learned about the complexity of an experience — students can both appreciate and be frustrated by an exam wrapper. The reaction protocol itself helped most students make sense of their experience with an exam wrapper. Overall, the reaction protocol showed to be a promising tool for educators to notice students’ experiences and gain insight to how they can redesign their class activities to alleviate stressors in their control.


Access Information
These presentations will be in-person in the Allen Auditorium in Allen Library and in a Zoom meeting. To request an accommodation related to a disability, please email Leah Pistorius at as soon as possible.