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Julie Kientz

Summer 2024

Participatory Design with Children and Researchers

We are looking for students for the Summer 2024 to help with running KidsTeam UW, an intergenerational co-design team of children (ages 6 – 12) and design researchers. There is rich work around how to interact with adults and children together in the co-design space, the role of design techniques in co-design, and the different stages and phases of co-design. You have the opportunity to help us understand this space.
Activities of this research group will include interacting as an adult design partner with children in co-design, working with researchers on multiple projects involving children and design, and running overall logistics to support the intergenerational design team. 
This DRG will require you to participate in KidsTeam UW in the summer 2024 for the following dates:
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 60 minutes reading seminar (online): June 25, 29, and July 2, 9, 11, 16, 28 (times TBA).
Week of July 22 – 26, 2024: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm in-person co-design sessions with children.
Students who have completed INFO 300/360, HCDE 318/418/518 and/or HCDE 417/517 or have relevant experience will be given priority.  Alternatively, students who have experience with youth mentorship, learning sciences, education, and child development will also be considered. 
Prior experience working with children (ages 0 – 17) is a requirement (e.g., tutoring/teaching/coaching, child-care, summer camps, etc.)

This research group will be led by Associate Professor Jason Yip (iSchool), with support from Dr. Julie Kientz (Professor, HCDE), Dr. Jin Ha Lee (Professor, iSchool), Dr. Caroline Pitt (Postdoctoral Fellow, iSchool) and Dr. Alexis Hiniker (Associate Professor, iSchool).
To apply for this DRG, please fill out this Google Form by April 26, 2024.
We will schedule meetings to confirm your availability and experience by early May 2024, and make final decisions by mid May 2024.
For any questions, please email Dr. Jason Yip at

Spring 2024

Executive Function and Sociotechnical Systems DRG


How do we learn executive function skills? And how might that process differ (or not!) for neurodiverse children and their families? How can technologies be used to scaffold and strengthen these executive function skills over time? 

How can we draw on strengths instead of focusing on deficits, use intrinsic instead of extrinsic motivation, and generally make things like improving organization and time management a more positive experience for everyone? Can we implement sociotechnical systems within families and communities to support this approach?

In this DRG, we will start by examining the values inherent in existing apps that are designed to support executive function. In addition to providing valuable information about the current state of the field, the work from this DRG will situate future participatory design work with youth and families, and some exploratory sessions with KidsTeam (Dr. Jason Yip’s youth co-design group) have already been conducted.

Student Researcher Participation

The DRG will meet once a week for an hour to discuss progress and findings. Students will engage with current and foundational literature, write research memos, and evaluate existing technologies. 

Students will be expected to spend 1-2 hours per week outside of meetings on assigned research tasks such as documenting application features, coding data, and developing annotated bibliographies. We are looking for 3-5 students (of any degree program) who are interested in learning more about literature reviews and systematic app evaluation, as well as those interested in the intersection of neurodivergence (ADHD, autism, etc.), families, and technology. Once accepted, students should register for 1-2 DRG credits depending on their bandwidth for this project. Depending on interests and skillsets, we may not be able to accept all applicants, but there may be opportunities for further work on this project in future quarters.

Recommended (not required!) skills and qualifications:

  • Familiarity with academic writing, including citations 
  • Attention to detail, particularly in reading
  • Familiarity with literature search and documentation
  • Experience with application review and analysis
  • Commitment to synchronous and asynchronous teamwork
  • Coursework in areas such as educational technology, education, psychology, and/or design, or at least an interest in some of these areas
  • Patient, thoughtful, and reflective approach to research

This research group will be led by postdoctoral scholar Dr. Caroline Pitt (iSchool/HCDE) with oversight from Dr. Julie Kientz (Professor, HCDE).

Interested students, please apply using this Google Form.

Spring 2024

Facilitating Long-Distance Connection through Gaming

Led by: Nisha Devasia, PhD student
Advised by: Julie Kientz, HCDE Professor

Note this DRG is full for Spring 2024 and no longer accepting applications.

Long distance relationships are becoming increasingly common, typically because one partner is pursuing educational or employment opportunities. Anywhere from 25-50% of college students report being in a LDR. People in LDRs often play video games together as a way to stay connected, and the facilitators have been running a study that investigates the features of digital games that promote emotional connection. This DRG broadly seeks to analyze the data from said study to create a digital or physical prototype for a technology that enhances feelings of long-distance connectedness while gaming. The goal is to submit this prototype to the CHI 2025 conference deadline in September. Co-authorship may be possible for interested and motivated students. 

What students should expect:

  • Engaging with and analyzing qualitative data from a diary study. Connecting theoretical framework with user needs.
  • Weekly 2 hour meetings with the team to discuss observations from data and brainstorm (meeting time TBD)
  • Independently and collaboratively come up with design ideas.

This DRG is designed to be 2 credits. We are seeking 3-5 students to work on this project. Prior design experience (digital or physical) is required. Interest in gaming or UX research is not required but preferred. 

This DRG is full for Spring 2024 and no longer accepting applications. For questions, please contact: Nisha Devasia at

Winter - Spring 2024

Assisting or Resisting Black Birth: Reproductive Technologies That Stick

Note this DRG is full for Spring 2024 and no longer accepting applications.

Artificial wombs. Forced sterilization. Cloning. Low-cost surrogacy. Black infertility. The renewed fight for abortion rights is the tip of an iceberg. What can UW students contribute to debates about reproductive oppression and assisted reproductive technologies (ART)?

We will apply HCDE-related approaches to relevant academic literature and recent journalism that investigate how a wide range of insidious techniques have been used to resist black birthing people’s freedom. Rather than stopping there, we will also consider black public participation in successful examples of technologically-mediated childbirth against the odds.

Interactions between black women and ART can teach us lessons about how the current limits of design and engineering (that centers affluent, white humans) are already being surpassed beyond the walls of the university. Reading and discussing literature on these timely topics will provide a foundation for designing, printing, and sharing stickers that showcase our collective knowledge — spreading the word about lessons we have learned through creative communications that “stick.”

Facilitators: Nat Mengist and Leslie Coney
Meeting time: TBD
Location: Virtual (zoom link will be sent to confirmed participants)
Credits: 2

This DRG is full for Spring 2024 and no longer accepting applications. 

Dr. Kientz's Research Group archive