PROFESSIONAL RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

10+ years experience leading generative, usability, and iterative end-to-end UX and educational research projects that produce findings with human value.

RESEARCH ASSISTANT PROFESSOR/POSTDOC
SEGAL DESIGN INSTITUTE & HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERACTION CENTER
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

Nov 2018 - Present

Leading and managing applied UX research on innovative software. Communicated research findings to leadership in K-12 administration and hospital primary care.

  • Leading end-to-end research to understand patient needs, user testing, and design of healthcare software to teach diabetes self-care skills to under-insured patients—increased successful patient self-care from 25% to 90%. Medical Endocrinology Department will implement in 120 patient trial 06/2022

  • Conducting contextual inquiry in equity-focused teacher training to inform design of coaching tools to support K-12 teachers—tools increased the rate of lesson improvements by 50%. Enabling leadership in K-12 teacher training organization to improve coaching for 200+ teachers

  • Managing UX research and collaborating with engineers and activists on end-to-end UX research project on political canvassing technology that supports environmental activists to increase political engagement—technology increases political engagement from canvassing by 30%

  • Oversee 3-7 and run 2-3 UX Research projects at any one time

CHIEF RESEARCH OFFICER/CO-FOUNDER 
FORGEWORKS

Sept 2015 - Jan 2020

Managed UX research projects in education technology startup. Collaborated with engineers, designers, and business team to develop impactful learning software.

  • Conducted 150+ foundational interviews, which informed ed tech product and business model, resulting in £1,500,000+ in funding from NSF business and research programs

  • Led UX research and created software to support creating and spreading equity-focused training material used by hundreds of K-12 teachers

  • Led user testing and co-designed peer-feedback technology for higher education students which doubled the quality of feedback

GRADUATE RESEARCHER
DELTA LAB
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY 

Sep 2013 - Oct 2018

Led UX research on developing educational technology for design and innovation education. Managed teams of 5+ designers, researchers and engineers.

  • Developed and researched planning tools for higher ed student design teams—resulting 100% increase in product improvements from user research compared to control group

  • Developed and researched communication technology that increased frequency of online coaching 21 times between professionals and students

  • Oversaw 2-5 and ran 1-3 UX Research projects at any one time

LEARNING CONSULTANT
DESIGN FOR AMERICA  

Jun 2011 - Sep 2013

Conducted research to inform DFA’s learning initiatives across 42 US universities. 

  • Conducted field testing and co-created DFA Process guide—guide awarded: Core 77 Design Awards: Runner Up in Best Education Initiative, 2014

UX RESEARCHER
GARIBAY GROUP

Dec 2011 - Jun 2012

Conducted user testing and assessment of museum technology for STEM learning.

  • Qualitative analysis of video data—communicated findings to lead researcher and exhibit designers

EDUCATION

PHD — LEARNING SCIENCES* — 2013 - 2018
Delta Lab; School of Education & Social Policy 
Northwestern University
Advisors: Matthew Easterday; Elizabeth Gerber
Committee: Chris Riesbeck; Bruce Sherin

MA — LEARNING SCIENCES* — 2010 - 2011
Delta Lab; School of Education & Social Policy 
Northwestern University
Advisors: Jim Spillane

* combines UX Research, Cognitive Science, Sociology, & Education

BA — ENGLISH & PHILOSOPHY JT. HONS — 2001 - 2004
School of Cultural and Community Studies
The University of Sussex

AWARDS & GRANTS

AWARDS​​

  • Pepper Scholar Fellowship. 2022.  “Leveraging Human-Computer Interaction and Learning Sciences to Support Older Adults’ Use of Telehealth Software for Chronic Disease Self-care”. National award for innovative research in healthcare ($100,000).

  • National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. 2020-22. Project: “Providing High-Quality Online Feedback to Support K-12 Teachers Instructional Improvement Through Principled Adaptation”. Global award for the top 30 high potential early career education researchers—awarded for my UX education research ($70,000).

  • Northwestern Segal Design Cluster Fellow. 2016. Award for top interdisciplinary Ph.D. researchers in design at Northwestern ($18,000).

  • Northwestern University Advanced Cognitive Science Fellow. 2014-15. Award for most promising  Ph.D. student research in cognitive science ($36,000).

  • Northwestern University Cognitive Science Fellow. 2013-14. Award for promising first-year Ph.D. student research in cognitive science ($36,000).

  • Core 77 Design Awards: Runner Up: Best Education Initiative, 2014. (with collaborators).

AWARDS​​

  • Nguyen, M. (PI), Rees Lewis, D.G. (Co-PI), Easterday, M.W., (Co-PI), Gerber, E.M. (Co-PI). “The Loft: A Platform for Innovation Education”. NSF SBIR Phase I ($224,864). 2019.

  • Gerber, E.M. (PI), Rees Lewis, D.G. (Co-PI*), Lesser, J. (Co-PI), Shyrokova, A. (Co-PI), Nerenberg, S. (Co-PI), Easterday, M.W., (Co-PI).  “Design for America: A badge community for innovation” Digital Media Learning Competition Grant supported by the MacArthur and Mozilla Foundations ($175,000). 2012-14. *Led writing and delivered pitch.

  • Easterday, M.W., (PI), Gerber, E.M. (Co-PI), Rees Lewis, D.G. (Co-PI & Entrepreneurial Lead). “The Loft: A digital studio for training networks of novice innovators”. National Science Foundation (US) I-Corps ($50,000, 2015.

  • Wallia A. (PI), Ackermann, R.T. (co-I), Ankenman B. (co-I), Cooper, S.B., Gatchell D. (co-I), Rees Lewis, D.G. (co-I), & Welty, L (co-I). “Adaptation Implementation and Testing of a Telehealth Diabetes Discharge Intervention to Improve Transitions of Care.” NIH ($331,746). 2021. National Institute of Health R01 ($331,746). 2021

TEACHING & MENTORSHIP

TEACHING

  • Human-centered Service Design

  • Design of Learning Environments

  • Qualitative Research Methods

MENTORING​​

  • 25 university students and early career researchers in UX methods and project management who now have UX positions at top tech companies including IBM, Doximity, Meta, and Google.