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Class of 2021

Meet the MHCI+D class of 2021

Illustration by Shysta Pandey

Alara Hakki

I’m originally from Cyprus and I’m currently living in my third zip code, Seattle. I’m interested in product design and the relationship between interactions, spaces and improving quality of life. I hope to grow as a designer while learning more about product strategy, information design, and advocating for social good. My design work is fueled by my eagerness to learn, empathy and creative problem solving. Exploration, travel and adventure feed my curiosity for understanding diverse experiences. Although, I also deeply value experiences more on the personal and individual level, and creating equitable interactions or simply joyous moments. Some of my favorite things include but are not limited to: concerts, photography, crystals, cold brew, swimming. Oh, and apple pie.

Ann Lei

Hi, I am Ann. I am a user experience designer who is determined to use technology to give people a better experience in life. I received my bachelor’s degree in Information Systems and a master’s degree in Visual Communication Design. My current intended designs create something that is more than just using data to improve business efficiency but also lay people’s experience; something that can connect to people and change their behavior involves having an understanding of the reasons behind human actions towards finding vital problems in the real world. I believe that technology should be a tool that helps the world to reach real equality and I am passionate about making people’s lives easier and better.

Someone once said to me, “How can we possibly expect to change the world if we don’t have the confidence to share our ideas?” and I believe, the MHCI+D program will bring me to a higher degree of becoming the best version of myself.

Alexis Nicholson

Hi, my name is Alexis. I have an interdisciplinary background in neuroscience and psychology from UNR, where I learned about the importance of empathy, visual perception, running experiments, and research. I am excited to make the transition into UX Design and learn all that I can through human-computer interaction. Things I enjoy: my cat, Stormie, collecting vinyl, listening to music, attending concerts, watching movies, laughing at memes, drinking coffee, photography, and creating short films.

Angela Xu

Hello, I’m Angela! I graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. The digital product design courses I took on a whim during my undergraduate studies introduced me to the field of design and led me to switch career paths and pursue a Master’s degree in design. I hope to become a UX designer who builds ethically responsible, user-centered solutions and am eager to develop my skills through the MHCI+D program!

Alice Zheng

Hello, I’m Alice. My interest in storytelling and visual communication has led me to start my career as a graphic designer. I became multifaceted as I had designed for different industries, including retail, education, and renewable energy. I decided to join the MHCID program as I am striving for social impact and innovative experience. As a naturally curious person, I devoted myself to bringing inspiration to life through design and incorporates simplicity, playfulness, and inclusiveness into this rapidly-changing world.

Chloe Liang

I’m a multidisciplinary designer interested in envisioning future digital products. I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BArch in Architecture. My work has been around creating human-space and human-human interactions through transdisciplinary design methods. I’m excited to continue to explore the next-generation interactive experience that helps facilitate real-world social connectivity. When I'm not designing, I spend my time shooting film photography, traveling to new countries, and finding good music.

Dani Tuchman

Hi there! I’m a writer, photographer, and designer passionate about the intersection of altruism and visual arts. I’m very interested in creating systems that deter people from using screens, placing an emphasis on in-person interactions and meaningful relationships (although this poses challenges now). This year, I’m excited to expand my ethical design knowledge and learn more about equitable innovation practices. In my free time you’ll find me DJing, cooking elaborate meals, and thrifting.

Duanhao Zhang

Before coming to UW, I graduated from UCLA with a degree in Applied Math and Asian Humanities. I found my passion in creative and effective problem solving, so I dived deep into UX design. After working as a UX designer for 2 years, I attended the MHCI+D program to bolster my skills with the experience I had in the industry. I'm at my best working with people with cross-disciplinary backgrounds so that we can bring different perspectives to the table. My current interest is to design futuristic solutions that address problems in education, sustainability, and mental health. Outside schoolwork, I also love cooking, singing, photography, and writing poems.

Fontayne Wong

Hi, I’m Fontayne! I come to MHCI+D with psychology background and many years in clinical research and healthcare quality improvement work. There, I cultivated a keen interest in user research, service design and implementation, and data-driven decision-making. I love to think about complex issues in complex systems, and find creative solutions that can be integrated into their larger context. I also believe that design should be used to give a voice to those we design for. In my down time, you can find me cooking up a storm, getting outdoors, or watching offbeat films with dark humour.

Isaiah Morales

Coming from a background in Computer Science and Media, I've always been interested in the interaction between individuals and tech. After working on a few research projects in academia for Michigan State University and The University of Central Florida, I wanted to take my skills and refine them here in the HCI+D program. It's always been a goal of mine to learn from the faculty here at UW and exploring tech design from a human centered lens. My design interests align with utilizing new media tools like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in emerging spaces (such as education), and researching better methods for accessibility in rural spaces. Outside of the studio, I enjoy video production in either editing or recording, broadcasting, video games, and finding new dives and cheap food/ drinks I can regret eating the next day...

Jamaal Baki

Hey, I'm Jamaal! Before this program, I graduated from undergrad in the class of 2020 from DePaul University in Chicago concentrating in User Experience. Over the previous two summers, I've interned at Google and IBM as a UX Researcher. Outside of tech, I love playing sports with my friends and participate in volunteering activities at my local mosque. If you have any questions about my experience in UX, feel free to connect on LinkedIn!

Juan Carlos Santos

Hi there! My name is Juan Carlos, I come from a background in design and the arts. I originally graduated from Parsons with a BFA in Design and Technology and later obtained an MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University. I decided to join the MHCI+D program after previous thesis research into technology in museums renewed my interest in the area of UX/UI. I am fascinated by how technology can work towards the betterment or detriment of the human experience.

Jenny Chu

Heyo, my name is Jenny. I’m a multidisciplinary designer with a BFA degree in Visual Communication at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, interested in package design, identity system, illustration, and anything that’s related to visual design. I believe the most valuable part of design is the process from brainstorming to the execution of the final piece and that’s why design is such a fascinating work process that you don’t always get a beautiful result but it engages people in its own way. Anyways, done with the boring stuff. The most important thing you need to know about me is that, I love bubble tea aka boba, so if you love bubble tea as well, hmu 🙂 I also own a mango tree, a Norfolk island pine, dumb canes (Dieffenbachia) and lucky bamboos, so yes, I’m also a plant lover.

Jason Valdez

Hello, My name is Jason and I come from a background in Applied Behavioral Analysis and Public Health Education. While working in these spaces, I paired various types of research and technology to improve learning outcomes and behavioral objectives for students and clients alike. More recently I combined the fields in authoring two service designs for SRH education for people who have special needs. I am interested in design processes, access to tools via technology, and broadening the scope and quality of education resources through technology.

Joan Williams

Hi, I'm Joan, and I'm passionate about creating positive change through thoughtful design, community building, and understanding people. I came to MHCI+D with a background in marketing and communications as a visual designer. I created and managed deliverables for product launch campaigns which included print and web design, front-end development, product and lifestyle photography, social media, e-newsletters, and more. After MHCI+D, I hope to do more than just design and code to market things. I want to elevate how people live. As technology continues to evolve and weave itself deeper into the fabric of our societies, there is nowhere I'd rather be than on the front lines to help guide technology's benevolence, and make the world a better place. In my free time, I enjoy indoor and outdoor gardening, being active in my community, and spending time with my family.

Kelsey Olivier

Hi, I’m Kelsey! My interest in design comes from a combination of passions: helping people and creating things. I’m interested in exploring the ways in which design can create positive impact in healthcare and social good spheres. Before coming to the MHCI+D program, I earned a BA in teacher preparation and worked in marketing at a few tech security startups. In my free time, I enjoy reading, practicing yoga, and snowboarding.

Leyla Kaplan

I came into the program with a background in visual design; with projects spanning from brochures to software UI. I graduated from UC Davis where I got my bachelor's in design. After graduating, I spent most of my time freelancing and doing contract work. After working on one UI project for a company I decided to transition into user experience design. I learned a lot by myself with online courses and readings but decided to learn more about coding to supplement my design background. I spent about 6 months taking a frontend development course through UC San Diego extension. With an understanding of design and frontend development, I'm hoping MHCI+D will fill in any remaining gaps that I have in my knowledge and teach me more about usability research. In my free time I enjoy drawing; mostly using pen and ink but I'm starting to explore digital art more.

Laura Muñoz

My curiosity has guided me through the worlds of technology, education, advocacy, global health, music and design – domestically and internationally. I'm excited to take my design skillset to the next level and to use it to achieve social change towards a more just and sustainable world.

Mike Dong

Hi! My name is Mike Yilin Dong. I'm an experience designer interested in the healthcare domain. I aspire to use design to empower people to achieve more in healthier lives, and I love exploring how people interact with technology through digital screens, tangible objects and environmental spaces. Originally from Shanghai, China, I earned my B.S. in Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University with minors in Biomedical Engineering and HCI. I worked at the Center for Health Care Innovation at Penn Medicine to develop, test, and implement new strategies to improve health care delivery. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking and love exploring new restaurants.

Michael Eisen

Maisie Howard

Hello! My name is Maisie. I received my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Washington and was involved in some of the university’s behavioral research labs. (Go Huskies! If this isn’t Husky pride, I don’t know what is!) Prior to MHCID, I took a gap year and traveled all over Europe and then settled in Shanghai, China to teach English to primary first and second grade students. My fascination with human psychology, research, and the way different cultures interact with technology led me to the UX field. During my time in the program, I want to develop design solutions that are thoughtful, inclusive, and ethical for different stakeholders and perspectives. Outside of class, I love hiking (even if it kills me), cooking (even if it burns), traveling (even if it’s just traveling to a different room right now during the pandemic), and drinking LOTS of tea (especially bubble tea).

Mary Li

I believe that design is about making informed decisions and joined MHCI+D to build a stronger set of tools to prod the world with. With a background in games and XR design, I hope to continue working with emerging technologies and help create tools for creative expression. I am at my happiest when being challenged, whether it’s figuring out new ways to engage with data or cobbling together a prototype out of scrap wood. I also enjoy 3D printing gadgets and doodling my pets.

Nathaniel Gray

I have always been interested in the intersection of art and technology. This interest led me to a career in cinematography and then motion graphic design. After spending years crafting content that makes complex information easier to digest, I hope to apply this experience to making technical tools that are intuitive to use, aesthetically pleasing, and as accessible as possible. Through MHCI+D, I hope to find creative design solutions to the complex problems we will face as we work toward creating a more sustainable and just world.

Nathan Keyes

I am a UX/UI designer with an interest in UX research. Prior to attending the University of Washington's Human Computer Interaction and Design program, I was a contract UX and Brand designer. Most of my experience has been in digital agencies, working with clients such as Google, Facebook, Tesla, and IBM. Prior to my work in industry I graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a bachelors in Strategic Communication and Media Design. My goals for this program are to hone in my skills when it comes to conventional UX design and expand my understanding and knowledge of UX research as well as experimental methods for UX in general. Some fields of interest include, but are not limited to, healthcare, information technology, social justice and equity, and accessibility design. I believe as a designer I have the power to enact powerful change, however, I also have the ability to make decisions that impact more than just myself.

Ran An

Hi, I'm Ran. I'm a product designer fascinated by delving into people's needs and drafting unobtrusive and delightful experience in my design. Before UW, I studied Applied Linguistics at Columbia University and worked as a product designer/project manager in a publisher in the Bay Area. In the past years, I have helped bring to life many products that are now widely used in schools across the States. In my spare time, I love hiking, traveling, and hunting for delicious food!

Roz Hillenbrand

Hi, I’m Roz! At my core I’m an innovation strategist, constantly looking for niche opportunity spaces. With a background of industrial design into consulting and UX research, I’ve built my skillset from blue sky design thinking to actionable design implementation. I’m passionate about entrepreneurial ventures and human-centered businesses. Looking forward I hope to be an advocate for design research in the rooms where ideas are born and decisions are made.

Ryan Untalan

I am a product designer with a psychology and web development background. I graduated in 2020 from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where I studied psychology and industrial technology. During my undergrad, I worked as a web developer, UX researcher, and UI/UX designer at various organizations. People and technology fascinate me, and I look forward to exploring the world of HCI here at UW. Outside of school and work, I’m most likely lifting weights, reading a webtoon, or watching a cooking competition show.

Selina Che

Selina is a UX/UI designer based out of Los Angeles. She began her design career in 2019 working as a freelance designer for startups in LA and the Bay Area. Prior to pursuing design, Selina worked in product management for Fortune 500 tech and entertainment clients. She plans to apply the skills she learned on the business and technical end of product to her work as a designer in order to design well-rounded products for her future clients. She also has a 10-year background in visual fine arts.

Shysta Pandey

Hello! I’m a digital product designer hoping to pursue a career in creating positive change through design. My past work has been inspired by issues I am passionate about, including mental health, working against domestic violence and supporting environmental sustainability. I am Indian, but was born and raised in the Sultanate of Oman, and then I moved halfway across the world to the Midwest for college! As a designer that calls many different places home, I bring curiosity and sensitivity to my work, leaving myself open to new experiences and narratives. I pride myself on being an empathetic listener and communicator, influencing both my development as a designer and who I am as a person. Being honest and communicative are qualities that I value both in myself and the people I work with (I’m also one of those people who thinks a heartfelt conversation can solve anything). I am comfortable with the uncomfortable and always up for a challenge! I have a background in graphic design, user experience design and marketing, as well as experience working with nonprofits and social change organizations. Besides design, I am passionate about candles, curry and my cat Zelda. Also dessert.

Sara Vasquez

I LOVE Research and Design. I came to this program after working in business and healthcare administration and taking design classes at night. I'm born and raised PNW and a proud 2nd gen Chicana. My guiding mission is to improve specialty healthcare access for rural minority communities, and create intuitive, effective user experiences! When I’m not working, I’m competing (read: feeling embarrassed) at art shows, running marathons (away from my problems), dancing (+ cooking + eating) Salsa, and trying to make people laugh, or change their mind about something, or both.

Xin (Michelle) Gao

Hello! I am a researcher and designer with a BS degree in Human Centered Design & Engineering at UW. Since I believe any form of design is initially informed by research, I have been actively seeking research opportunities during my undergraduate study. With two years of experience in academic research especially in the field of playful technology in youth education, I saw the transformative potential of playful technology and realized my true passion for playful learning and educational technology design. As a researcher, I recognize and value people’s subjective experiences and always remind myself to view things from a critical approach that will fully embrace a broad range of perspectives. As a designer, with the considerations toward social issues including unequal power dynamics and biases within the field, I aspire to design for equality, accessibility, and fun while exploring the cross-disciplinary collaboration among people with different expertise.

Yimeng Hou

I graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree, majored in visual communication design and minored in art history. Before coming to the MHCI+D program, I was working as a product manager in an education company in Beijing. Having multiple working experiences let me realize my passion for design. I think the charming side of design has always been that it is a combination of art, technology, and a mixture of cultures in a balanced and practical way, and in the meantime solving problems in real life that make the world a better place. In my spare time, I enjoy photography, guqin, and playing with my pets!