Mayara Costa Figueiredo Wins iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award

March 14, 2022

Mayara Costa Figueiredo has brown eyes and shoulder-length brown hair. She is smiling, wearing a blue-jean blouse and silver necklace. Trees are in the background.

On Feb. 28, 2022, iSchools, a group of information schools dedicated to advancing the information field, announced the winner of its Doctoral Dissertation Award. The recipient is Mayara Costa Figueiredo, who earned her Ph.D. in informatics from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). The award committee was impressed with Figueiredo’s thesis, “Data Work and Data Tracking Technologies in Fertility Care: A Holistic Approach.”

“The thesis documents a fascinating study highlighting the emotional implications of data self-tracking, showing how technological tools are designed in ways which do not take the diversity of individuals’ needs and contexts into account,” note the judges in the announcement. “The outcomes have the potential for significant and meaningful impact on the design of data-tracking technologies and consequently benefits for the health and well-being of individuals. [We] were particularly impressed by the exemplary approach to research, the use of mixed methods for data collection and the clarity of the conclusions.”

Originally from Brazil, Figueiredo earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from the Universidade Federal do Pará, Brazil, before coming to UCI for her Ph.D. “I’m honored to receive this award,” she says. “Writing a dissertation and finishing a Ph.D. during a pandemic was very hard and it only happened with the support of so many people, particularly my beloved family, the participants of my studies who shared their experiences with me, my very supportive adviser [Yunan Chen], and my amazing committee. I think this recognition rewards this collective effort, and it made me incredibly happy.”

Figueiredo intends to continue researching the intersection of human-computer interaction and health, expanding her work to other contexts within this space. “I also have many study ideas in different stages of development that came from my dissertation work. So, I definitely plan to keep investigating the use of data in the fertility space, focusing on improving technologies to support varied needs of individuals who menstruate,” she says. “It is a fascinating area that still needs more attention, and I am excited to do this work.”

Shani Murray