HCDE 2021 Student Awards of Excellence

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering announces the recipients of our 2021 Student Awards of Excellence.

The HCDE faculty annually recognize outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate excellence in the areas of academics, leadership, and innovation. 

Julie Kientz, Professor and Chair of HCDE, presented the 2021 awards at the departmental graduation ceremony on June 9. Awardees joined Professor Kientz in the virtual ceremony and gave a few remarks. The award presentation begins at minute 36 in the 2021 Graduation Ceremony video

The below statements about the awardees were submitted by HCDE faculty.

Academic Excellence

KariKari Bergstedt 
Undergraduate award for Academic Excellence

Kari is standing out as the student graduating with the highest GPA in the department. Beyond her academic work, she has made many contributions to other department initiatives such as our K-12 Outreach Program. 

Kay WallerKay Waller
Undergraduate award for Academic Excellence

Kay is graduating with a stellar GPA and has demonstrated a great commitment to the HCDE community. To HCDE faculty, Kay has stood out as an excellent student who pushes her peers in the best of ways. 

JazzJazz Ang
Graduate award for Academic Excellence

Jazz is graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA, and on top of that she has been a real student innovator in the department, evidenced by her published work on accessibility research and her capstone project focused on teaching quantum computing. 

Leadership and Engagement

LexiLexi Rohrer 
Undergraduate Award for Leadership and Engagement

Lexi stands out as a leader in HCDE, demonstrated through her commitment to department service. Lexi has been a student peer advisor, a student member of the bachelor's program committee, and a participant in our K-12 outreach program and our accreditation committee. Lexi brings great  thoughtfulness and energy to engaging with material and brings other students into the class activities. 

VishakaVishaka Nirmal
Undergraduate Award for Leadership and Engagement

Vishaka is an HCDE student leader who has served the student body as president of the Student Association, successfully engaging HCDE students during the challenging remote year. Vishaka has also served as a course assistant and a team leader on HCDE's Dance + STEM outreach program, and she has inspired her peers to excel in various capacities.

ArpitaDr. Arpita
Graduate Award for Leadership and Engagement

Dr. Arpita has been a highly engaged student leader in the department, evidenced through her teaching, research, and service to the community. Arpita is responsible for launching and growing a peer mentorship program among HCDE’s doctoral students, which has created more avenues for support and better-connected PhD students beyond individual labs. Arpita also stands out to HCDE faculty as a strong advocate for mental health.

GSA headshots2020-2021 Graduate Student Association Officer Team:
Honson Ling, Ethel Xu, Patriya Wiesmann, Xuan Song, Shelby Zink, Taylor Honda, Jay Cunningham, Susanne Kirchner, and Neilly Herrera Tan
Graduate Award for Leadership and Engagement

The HCDE faculty are recognizing the Graduate Student Association officers for their work supporting the HCDE community during the remote year. The GSA responded to the remote challenges in innovative ways. This team initiated a Passion Project Series for students who lost internships last spring. They formed student resource groups to provide peer support around identity affiliations. They started two speaker series - one featuring industry leaders, and another featuring AMA conversations with HCDE faculty. In short, they took the role of leadership to heart and sought to fill in gaps created by the pandemic. 


JordanJordan Yoon-Buck
HCDE Undergraduate Award for Innovation 

The HCDE faculty agreed that Jordan was a consistently engaged, intellectually curious, and all around outstanding student in HCDE courses. In addition to maintaining a high GPA, Jordan demonstrated creativity and technical expertise in several team projects. Jordan also supported the department as a Teaching Assistant, providing significant effort designing effective learning experiences. 

LucasDr. Lucas Colusso
HCDE Graduate Award for Innovation 

Dr. Colusso is an innovator who has made many contributions to our field that better enable the use of scientific theories in design processes. Lucas's dissertation developed a model for translational science in HCI, an understanding of how research products like academic papers support and fail to support translation to practice, and classroom activities that can prepare graduates who are more ready for translational work. 

ShelbyShelby Zink
​HCDE Graduate Award for Innovation 

The HCDE faculty are pleased to recognize Shelby for her innovative work during her MS degree. Shelby brings a focus on social impact to the UX field. In addition to her work on the GSA, her innovative capstone project, Shelby has also been working on a framework for addressing diversity and equity in design processes.

View previous recipients of the HCDE Awards of Excellence here.