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UX Speaker Series: Jaleesa Trapp

Recorded February 18, 2022, as part of the UX Speaker Series in the University of Washington's Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering.

Co-Designing Equitable STEM Learning Experiences with and for Youth who are Marginalized

When young people are recognized as experts in STEM education, and not just end users, researchers gain a deeper understanding of how to design meaningful learning experiences. Additionally, giving young people the tools and opportunities to design experiences for their peers allows them to deepen their own understanding while empowering them to pursue higher education and careers in STEM.

I’ll share my experiences from the past 4 years co-designing with different groups of youth, educators, and youth development specialists to create meaningful STEM learning experiences. In particular, I’ll highlight three case studies: the South Boston Boys and Girls Club, the 2018 International Clubhouse Teen Summit, and the Propel STEM Program with high school students in Tacoma, WA. I’ll share my design methods, successes, and challenges, as well as what it meant to move to a virtual space during the pandemic. I will also share how I leveraged my positionality as a member of each of these communities to be able to conduct this research.

Jaleesa Trapp is a third year PhD student and graduate research assistant at the MIT Media Lab in the Lifelong Kindergarten research group. Her research explores the different ways youth from marginalized backgrounds interact with technology, in an effort to design playful technologies with and for them. Prior to graduate school Jaleesa was the Coordinator at the Computer Clubhouse in Tacoma, WA and a high school computer science teacher at SAMI and IDEA. She is also an organizer with the Tacoma Action Collective where she's helped bring awareness to issues such as health disparities, gun violence, housing inequalities, inequity in education and other issues that impact marginalized people in the community. Jaleesa received her bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in HCDE with a concentration in HCI.