Monthly Archives: November 2021

Ph.D. Candidate Emory Edwards Receives Public Impact Distinguished Fellowship

November 29, 2021

A headshot of Emory Edwards with a big smile. They are a white non-binary person with short dark-blonde hair wearing a black collared shirt with white flowers. The backdrop is out-of-focus greenery.

On Nov. 16, 2021, informatics Ph.D. candidate Emory Edwards of UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) received a Public Impact Distinguished Fellowship. “I was overjoyed when I heard the news,” says Edwards, who will receive $12,000 in funding. The fellowship aims to support research that “demonstrates the potential to significantly improve or enrich the lives of people in California and beyond,” and with a focus on representing people with disabilities in technology design, Edwards is already making an impact.

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Informatics Ph.D. Student Maria Anderson Coto Receives the Rosalva Gallardo Valencia Graduate Award

This year’s recipient of the Rosalva Gallardo Valencia Graduate Award is María J. Anderson Coto, an informatics Ph.D. student in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). Anderson Coto grew up in Costa Rica, spending part of her childhood in Honduras, and worked as a marketing consultant before starting her graduate studies at UCI. “My research is about helping Latinx and other minoritized communities be heard, seen and understood in today’s digital world,” says Anderson Coto, who was elated to hear she had received the $10,000 award, open to all Ph.D. students in ICS. “My first reaction was to call my family to let them know about it,” she says. “I’m so grateful Ms. Gallardo Valencia opened this opportunity and believed in me.”

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The Washington Post: “The world of ‘Minecraft’ is getting taller (and deeper) with its latest update” (Kurt Squire quoted)

November 18, 2021

Mojang Studios, the developer behind “Minecraft,” is restructuring the genesis of “Minecraft’s” blocky world, changing how the sandbox game scales for its millions of players. … “For a whole generation of kids, that’s kind of where they go,” said Kurt Squire, a professor at University of California Irvine who studies how games can be used to help students learn. “It literally is the playground, the sandbox that they grew up in.”

Read the full article on The Washington Post. (May require subscription.)

Graduate Student Spotlight: Vanessa Klotzman Aims to Make an Impact

Vanessa Klotzman has always loved numbers. She majored in mathematics at California State University Northridge (CSUN) and thought she might one day teach high school math. Then she took an Introduction to Algorithms course, and her plans changed. She added a minor in computer science and went on to earn her master’s degree in software engineering at CSUN. After several tech jobs and internships, including interning as a software engineer at Walt Disney World, she is now at UCI in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). The informatics Ph.D. student is exploring how to optimize machine learning models to help generate commit comments during code development. In addition to her research, she has taught ICS 33: Intermediate Programming, is collaborating with a data scientist at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and is mentoring high school students. Although Klotzman is only one year into her Ph.D. program, she is already realizing her long-term goal of positively impacting others.

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CNN: “Meet the teens making the digital world a kinder and gentler place” (Mimi Ito Interviewed)

November 15, 2021

Families can encourage a better human experience for kids by moving away from the quantity conversation and toward establishing quality, said Mimi Ito, [informatics professor in residence] director of the Connected Learning Lab at University of California, Irvine and cofounder of Connected Camps … “If you reorient in this way, you can make the tech support these awesome things we want kids to do, rather than think your role as a parent is to monitor and limit them,” Ito said ….

Read the full article at CNN.

The Wall Street Journal: “Ping. Ding. Chirp. Notifications Are Driving Us Crazy.” (Gloria Mark Interviewed)

Our culture has evolved to accommodate rapid communication, says Gloria Mark, a [Chancellor’s] Professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, and it can be mentally taxing. … It doesn’t make for great circumstances for getting work done, but there are ways individuals, managers and organizations can contend with the onslaught. … The onus is on teams and organizations to create new norms, Dr. Mark says. … “It’s a matter of relearning how to work,” she says.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal. Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here:

The Future of Conferences: Crista Lopes Considers Sustainability and Inclusivity

November 9, 2021

When Crista Lopes was asked to give a keynote talk at Strange Loop 2021, the Informatics Professor from UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) wasn’t sure what she wanted to discuss. She considered the fact that Strange Loop brings together developers and scholars building tomorrow’s technology — that is, people typically interested in highly technical topics — but she eventually decided she “couldn’t do the happy techie talk.” Instead, she gave a keynote on The Future of Conferences, examining the origins, value and costs of conferences; reviewing the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic; and considering what post-pandemic conferences might look like.

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Paul Dourish Wins Lasting Impact Award for Rethinking Interaction Design

November 7, 2021

In October, at the 24th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 21), the Lasting Impact Award went to the 1996 paper “Re-place-ing Space: The Roles of Place and Space in Collaborative Systems,” by Steve Harrison and Paul Dourish. This is not the first time this award, which recognizes a paper that is at least 10 years old and has had an impact on the CSCW field, has been awarded to Dourish, Chancellor’s Professor and Steckler Endowed Chair of Informatics in UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). He also won the award five years ago for a 1992 paper with Victoria Bellotti, “Awareness and Coordination in Shared Workspaces.” Dourish’s impact continues with this 1996 work focused on early experiments in video-mediated communication.

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