Dr. Cecilia Aragon joins HCDE as the first faculty hire supported by the UW eScience Institute. Although Aragon was already collaborating with HCDE Professors Charlotte Lee and Mark Zachry, she came to the attention of the HCDE department and the eScience director, Ed Lazowska, when she attended the 2009 On-Ramps into Academia workshop, run by Associate Dean Eve Riskin.
Department Chair Jan Spyridakis stated that Aragon’s research and teaching will benefit "not only HCDE, but also the larger UW community." She noted that Aragon will be able to provide engaging courses and research opportunities tailored to the needs of HCDE students.
Aragon’s career began as a software developer in industry, and includes nine years at NASA Ames Research Center. After earning a PhD in computer science from UC Berkeley, Aragon worked on projects geared towards visualization and collaborative exploration of large-scale scientific datasets at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Aragon's current research interests include understanding how new collaborative technologies and social media are shaping scientific practice, and developing visualization techniques and communication tools to assist large scale, distributed scientific endeavors.
Aragon has received numerous awards, most notably the 2008 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award, the highest honor that the US government bestows on young scientists and engineers. She was one of Hispanic Business Magazine's "Top 25 Women of 2009.";
Aragon is also a professional aerobatic pilot and a certified flight instructor. She holds the record for shortest time between first solo flight and membership on the United States Aerobatic Team, and has won bronze medals in aerobatic championships.
And as the pioneer of "unusual attitude recovery training," a technique for teaching students how to recover from emergency situations in flight, Aragon will be a valuable mentor to HCDE students who hope to fly high themselves one day.
By Jonathan Morgan, HCDE doctoral student