Undergraduate Research Team CHI 2017 Travel Report

Monday, July 10, 2017

HCDE undergraduate team at CHI
Left to right: Aaron Joya [BS, 2017], Leena Choi, and ShinYoung (Lucia) Choi [BS, 2017], and Runyuan (Jason) Chen 

By HCDE senior Runyuan (Jason) Chen 

Going to the 2017 annual ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems as undergraduates was a wonderful experience for myself and my teammates Aaron Joya, Leena Choi, and ShinYoung (Lucia) Choi. Our project was accepted into the Student Research Competition, and thus we had the honor to represent HCDE as one of the five undergraduate teams this year's CHI Conference. 

My team presented our project, “An Exploration of Self-Transcendence In Solo Travel,” at the Student Research Competition session, where we were fortunate to be selected to proceed to the final round (top 4 in the undergraduate category). Although we were not selected as one of the top 3 projects, we were overwhelmed by what we had done, and could not believe we presented at CHI!

Runyuan (Jason) Chen presenting poster at CHI

Throughout the conference, everyone in our team was consistently impressed by the overwhelming curiosity expressed by the scholars, and we had the chance to explore top-notch HCI research from a large variety of topic areas. (This conference definitely made us fall in love with reading papers.)

Apart from learning from all the amazing talks, we also registered for CHI4GOOD, which was a one-day volunteering service for an NGO. We helped “Animal Help Now” to redesign part of their website and created a long-term plan for improving their website user experience. Thanks to this event, we could really see how we could use HCI knowledge to help shape the world into a better place.

Aaron Joya with Ben Shneiderman
Aaron Joya with Ben Shneiderman (center), founding director of the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab.

Aaron Joya with Hiroshi Ishii
Aaron Joya with Hiroshi Ishii (right), Director of Tangible Media Group, MIT Media Lab

One other exciting thing that happened to us was the chance to meet all the scholarly heroes we look up to. Look at how happy Aaron was meeting Ben Shneiderman, Hiroshi ishii, and more!

If you are interested in learning details on our experience submitting for CHI Conference (SRC) as undergrads, please check this medium article.

Our team would like to thank HCDE (especially the HCDE Chair David McDonald) for unwavering support to send us to CHI. Without the funding from the department, it would be really challenging for us to go. We would also like to thank HCDE PhD Mania Orand for her unconditional academic and emotional support throughout our project.