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Class of 2015

Meet the MHCI+D class of 2015

Avery Bell

I am driven by curiosity and an urge to find out what makes people tick. I have an undergrad degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago, and spent several fellowships developing exhibits on mammoths and play-based learning at Chicago’s Field and Children’s Museums.My last 2.5 years were spent at the strategy & design consultancy Intentional Futures, where I worked in a strategic and PM role on ed-tech and consumer mobile projects for the Gates Foundation and bgC3. I joined MHCI+D to build a skillset in UX design, as well as to better understand the development process. My playground is the intersection of inspiring & ambitious concepts with beneficial & effective user experiences.

Aaron Brako

A thinker, designer and builder, I bring an engineering perspective and creative problem solving approach to create products and experiences people love to use. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology Engineering from the University of Mumbai. I spent the last year and a half running my own digital design agency, specializing in responsive web interfaces. I joined the MHCI+D program to better understand the UX design process.

Persistence, curiosity and an obsessive attention to detail define me. I am passionate about the latest trends in technology particularly those related to interaction design, augmented reality and the internet of things.

Sara Buyers

I have a background in Instructional Design and hold degrees in Diplomacy and World Affairs and Spanish Literary Studies from Occidental College. Since completing my undergraduate studies, my ambitions led me to pursue international work and study experiences in Europe and West Africa, diverse environments in which I flourished. I developed the strong communication and interpersonal skills which I brought back with me to Seattle where I most recently worked as a Curriculum Designer for an educational technology startup. I’m motivated by the need to be fully expressed and to help others express themselves and I’m most interested in how technology and design intersect to create social change. In pursuing a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction + Design, I hope to gain strong ideation and prototyping skills. I’m also seeking an opportunity to put my critical design thinking and ideas into practice.

Junying Chang

I am now a student of MHCI+D at University of Washington and expect to graduate in August 2015. Previously, I received a Master’s degree in Architectural Design from University of Michigan. I also have experience working as a designer in different offices around the world, including Chinese state-owned firms and private firms as well as German and US firms. I know how to work efficiently and cooperatively. Now I have changed my direction from architectural design to user-centered design. I am interested in the whole design process from user research to design and implementation and get excited when my designs can help people have a better or more convenient life. I am skilled at user interface and interaction design, especially in ideation and prototyping. I value the different viewpoints from my team members because of our diverse backgrounds, which open my mind and allow us to create very special projects.

Jackie Chui

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media from the City University of Hong Kong. Coming from a creative arts background, I hope to bring both my critical mindset and my technical skills into the world of UX design. I am experienced and fluent in building a broad range of prototypes – from interactive mockups to electronics, and am passionate about the latest trends in technology. I am interested in interaction design, virtual reality and the Internet of Things.

Acacio Domar

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Washington. My experience ranges from leading teams in Europe in retail design, industrial and interior design, to starting my own company to design corporate identities, artwork and websites. I feel it is essential to think about the human element in every design and how we act and interact with everything and everyone around us. I am skilled in project management and physical and digital prototyping. I enjoy problem solving since, to me, that is when the fun starts. My interests include automation and the internet of things, particularly in the home, vehicle systems and product design.

Taysser Gherfal

With a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering, a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) and soon the MHCID degree, I bring an integrated engineering, business and design prospective to all projects. I persevere, work hard and take challenges, a self-motivated professional who likes to keep learning and a creative who comes up with wild ideas during brainstorming sessions.

Stuart Giles

I have a Bachelor of Art degree in Music and Psychology from Kenyon College, and a strong background in user research methodologies. I have worked as a freelance designer, and have a wide body of skills, including the Adobe Creative Suite, HTML/CSS, and project management and presentation. I aim to not only hone my strengths at UW, but also to develop areas I have less background in. I am thrilled to be learning about the UX process.

Rick Huang

I hold a Master of Science degree in Electronic Engineering from Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan. Previously, I have worked as a senior software developer at IBM Taiwan where I led several web and mobile development projects across healthcare, social networking, and telematics domains. I am skilled in Java, Android, and web development and have a great passion for designing user-centered applications that are enjoyable and easy-to-use. I am developing skills in ideation, prototyping, and UX design.

Tony Ip

Prior to entering the MHCI+D program, I had 10 years of work experience in the creative industry. A graphic designer and art director by trade, I enjoy creating usable and delightful visual experiences. A curious problem solver at heart, I get excited when faced with even the most mundane user problems and never give up easily. I work well within cross-functional teams by fostering effective communications and shared understanding as an advocate and practitioner of collaboration. My goal is to help ship beautiful, easy-to-use products.

Chris Jung

I have a degree in Psychology and Human-Centered Design from Dartmouth College. As a Seattle native, I enjoy spending time outdoors (mountain biking, skiing, hiking, etc.). I am a user-interface designer with strong design skills, and am constantly working to learn and grow as a designer. Most recently, I have complemented my existing UI/visual design ability with proficient front-end web design and data visualization skills. Moving forward with my interest in ubiquitous computing and mobile design, I hope to help build the next generation of meaningful user interactions with technology.

Rohan K

An entrepreneur with a penchant for startups, I love designing new products and solving problems. I am a strong supporter of improving lives through technology and make it a point to stay up to date with the latest trends in technology.

I am computer science engineer by education and a designer by passion. I started my career as a graphic designer and graduated to web and finally on to interaction design. In 2009, I started my own digital agency specializing in UI design, eLearning, web design and motion graphics. After running my own business successfully for five years, I joined the Masters in Human Computer Interaction + Design program at the University of Washington to dive further into the field of user experience and usability.

I am skilled at designing and prototyping new ideas and driven by the excitement that accompanies the process of creating something new (whether be it a product, service). I am guided by a strong sense of design and aesthetics and enjoy working in cross functional teams with multi-disciplinary talents. I look forward to applying the skills and knowledge that I have gained as part of the program in my areas of interest, such as Internet of Things, Smart Cars, Wearables and all things mobile.

Garrick Li

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Washington with master’s level coursework in Music Technology from New York University. I have worked in multiple industries which include media production and internet technologies. This insight into multiple real-world industries gives me a unique perspective of the user experience. I am interested in seamlessly blending creative ideologies with technical prowess and skills, especially in the field of audio, which are manifested in developing physical prototypes, interface design, and research design. I have working knowledge of visual development tools and programming languages and frameworks.

Zhenxi Mi

One-half designer, one-quarter prototyper, and one-quarter artist, with 3 years of working experience as a project manager for innovative design projects. I’m a team player, thriving on collaborative and creative jobs, work well with cross-functional teams by effective communication and shared understanding. With the User-Centered Design skills I developed from getting my Master of Human-Computer Interaction + Design at UW, as well as my passions in technology, art, and people, I’m competent to design delightful user experience.

Christopher Olsen

I am a cross-media communicator. I graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture. I have worked for several companies in different design capacities including Technical Illustrator & Graphic Designer for Hewlett-Packard; Computer-Based Training Designer, Product Designer, and Audio Designer/Composer for Microsoft; and Video Documentarian, Music Composer, and Web Designer for my own company, Chris Olsen Design (aka CODe). My interests have always crossed the bridge between the technical and the artistic. I am developing my user research, UX Design, and HCI skills.

Kristen Olson

I am an educator at heart passionate about empowering users to learn new technologies. My professional experience stretches the globe from teaching in the Republic of Georgia to market research in Central Asia. User research, sketching, and prototyping are my favorite parts of the user centered design process. Fun fact: My first contextual inquiry was done in Uttarakhand, India while researching carbon forestry.

Ranjini Radhakrishnan

I have a business degree and extensive experience in the banking and financial services industry. I am interested in the UX process from research to design to implementation .My skills include project management and strategic program development. Trying to understand projects from the users’ perspective is the driving force in my life and I am developing skills in interaction design and the design process itself. I enjoy the intricate complexities of the UX design process especially in the areas of emerging technologies, healthcare, education, banking and ubiquitous computing.

Lauren Rakusin

Hey! I’m Lauren (often called Lo) originally from Los Angeles. I hold a Cognitive Science degree from the University of Southern California, and spent a few years researching the neuroscience of emotion at the Brain and Creativity Institute before studying briefly at ITP and earning my Master's in Human-Computer Interaction and Design from the University of Washington.

I currently work as a Product Designer for IBM Design in San Francisco; ask me about my story and how it all began with the Backstreet Boys!

Kosuke Shiraishi

I hold a Master of Engineering in Computer Science from University of Tsukuba in Japan. I also completed a graduate level certificate program in User-Centered Design. Before coming to MHCID, I worked for Fujitsu in Japan for a couple of years as a software engineer. My work included programming of divergent utility applications which are preinstalled into their personal computing products such as laptops, desktops and tables. I am now more interested in how current and emerging technologies can enhance our lives from the perspective of design, namely Interaction Design and User Experience Design.

Donglu Song

I hold a Bachelor of Art degree in Art and Design from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. Previously I worked as a Research Assistant in Digital Media Research Center of Sun Yat-sen University, and interned as an interaction designer in Global Market Group in China. I am interested in interaction design and sensing technology. I am skilled in Adobe Creative Suite, UI design, graphic design, and UX design. I also have experience in the journalism industry. I’m developing my programming and web development skills, as well as user research skills.

Brian Studwell

With experience spanning hospitality, finance, medicine, television, and design, I bring a broad palette and deep sense of purpose to my work. Through the MHCI+D program I’ve developed new talents for research, ideation, visualization and prototyping that I’m excited to exercise in a rapidly evolving, increasingly connected world.

Tobin Valenstein

My background is in computer science and art. I hold a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from the University of Maryland College Park, and am a lifelong photographer and recent print-maker. Since leaving my home state, I have worked as a developer at Microsoft, built technical documentation infrastructure at the Grameen Foundation, and volunteered as the co-lead for technical curriculum development at Out for Undergrad. I have also gotten involved in the Burning Man community as a participant and leader, helped build an art car, learned to weld, and put up my first photography show. I am passionate about building robust, natural, and pleasing designs. I march the line between technical details and visual aesthetic. I am team oriented, and motivate others to share their unique perspectives through collaboration and expression. I am a big picture thinker, and consider the whole life cycle and ecosystem of a problem space. I am always hungry for more knowledge and new discoveries, I love to learn and share stories!

Cheryl Wang

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Centered Design & Engineering from the University of Washington. As someone who explores all avenues for opportunities to learn and grow, I’ve had experiences in all areas of programming, user research, and interaction design. However, I’ve discovered my true passion is in UX design, not to mention swing dancing, longboarding, and book binding. I buffet through life with a down-for-anything mentality, seeking to understand every nook and cranny of the world around me. My first aspiration is to stitch the nostalgic romance of paper products back into today’s digital organizational tools. I yearn to breathe life into our zombified culture of texters and web junkies and use beautiful UX design to help us rediscover the wonders of the world in this overly-digitized era.

Liusu Wang

I hold a B.S. in Computer Science and Software Engineering from the University of Washington. Before joining this program, my experience includes software engineering and user research. I am interested in human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer graphics and visualization. My skills include software development, mobile computing, game development, and qualitative research. I am developing skills in design methods and process, prototyping, visual design, and interaction design.

Fen Xie (Joy)

I consider myself as a true explorer. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering from China and a Master of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Italy. I also worked as a software engineer in India, a sale assistant in Italy, and a product manager in an Opera Software company in China. Now my natural curiosity again drives me to pursue the MHCID program here in the United States. With strong empathy, I am devoted to design technology to enlighten people.

Meishen Yin

Equipped with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, I continually gain insights into human cognition, behavior, decision-making processes, and needs. During an internship as a user researcher in a pioneering design consulting company in China, I successfully utilized various user research tools in the commercial world and the product has been successful online. As an innovative and ambitious person, I have decided to become an activist in the technology world. I intend to help design user experiences based on a solid understanding of users’ demands, as the result of comprehensive user research. My interests lay in user experience design, user research, data visualization and social media data analysis.

Irene Ye Yuan

I have a Bachelor’s of Arts from St. Olaf College where I majored in Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics. My interests shifted to front-end development and user experience design during my junior year and I worked as a front-end researcher at the college to help with department-run web applications. I am also interested in user experience design and data visualization. I am skilled in web development, Android development, quantitative data analysis, and problem solving and am developing skills in design and user research.

Xianglian Zhang

I call myself an “Artistic Designer.” I love painting and sketching so much and try to combine them into actual life with modern technology. I have a great interest in what we can do with technologies to change what the life looks like, especially for the next several decades. I have focused on Interaction Design by first getting my Bachelor degree in Fine Art from the China Central Academy of Fine Art and now by studying HCI at the UW as a master’s level student. What I focus on is not only user experience design, user interface, prototyping and the design process, but I am also interested in start-ups, business and marketing.