Informatics Ph.D. Candidate Daniel Gardner Leads Teams Looking at Representation in Games

July 8, 2020

The general research focus of Informatics Ph.D. candidate Daniel Gardner is the social implications of various interfaces on the periphery of games — interfaces such as character configuration and microtransaction storefronts. “These are the kinds of interfaces that might be considered in the realm of usability, but I look at the ways they mediate different trade-offs for users/players, and sometimes reproduce certain broader inequalities,” says Gardner, who is collaborating with undergraduate and graduate students to advance this work. These partnerships originate from his involvement with the iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) at the University of Pittsburgh, a leadership program that helps students from traditionally underrepresented groups prepare for graduate school and research professions. Gardner is advising two groups of i3 scholars.

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Professional Program Delivers: One ‘Jam-Packed Year’ Lands Megan Matsumoto in a New Career as Product Designer at Alation

July 2, 2020

After graduating from UC San Diego in 2013 with a degree in biology, Megan Matsumoto spent a few years working at various tech and biotech companies before finding her passion in human-computer interaction and user-centered design. Yet stepping into a career path based on her newfound interest required rebuilding her educational foundation. She started that journey four years ago as an inaugural member of UCI’s professional master of human-computer interaction and design (MHCID) program. She closed out the one-year program in 2017 with a capstone project that gave her real-world experience and an internship that helped her get a foot in the door at Alation, where she’s now a senior product designer.

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Psych Central: “Teen Use of Social Media for Social Support – Tips to Optimize Benefits” (Mimi Ito cited)

July 1, 2020

For parents, it goes without saying that youth are using social media to connect and support each other. The embrace of social media has been extraordinary among adolescents well before COVID-19 precautions. With the current need to social distance, a new paper explores how teens support each other through digital media during times of stress and isolation.

Read the full article at Psych Central.

University Business: “Social media offers students a ‘lifeline’ in age of anxiety” (Mimi Ito cited)

June 25, 2020

College students have turned to social media—not to cut themselves off from current events—but to seek connections that boost mental health during this age of coronavirus-induced anxiety and isolation. Young people “see social media as a lifeline to social support,” says a new report from the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine.

Read the full story at University Business.

Cision PRWeb: “Teens’ technology use and mental health: New report from the Connected Learning Lab provides insight into Youth Connections for Wellbeing”

June 23, 2020

With or without physical separation due to COVID-19, youth are using social media to connect and support each other, according to a report released today. Three leading researchers have just published Youth Connections for Wellbeing, an integrative review paper that illuminates how teens support each other through digital media during times of stress and isolation.

Leveraging their expertise across the fields of cultural anthropology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology, scholars Mimi Ito, Candice Odgers, and Stephen Schueller discuss the potential of digital media to support youth wellbeing.

Read the full story at Cision PRWeb.

NPR: “Get A Comfortable Chair: Permanent Work From Home Is Coming” (Judith Olson quoted)

June 22, 2020

Judith Olson is a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine who has been studying what she calls “distance learning” for about 30 years. She has some warnings. Collaboration with colleagues can suffer. You can feel lonely and isolated. “The hardest thing for somebody to deal with long distance is silence,” she says.

Read the full story at NPR.

Ph.D. Student Mayara Costa Figueiredo Receives 2020 Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant

Informatics Ph.D. candidate Mayara Costa Figueiredo is the recipient of a 2020 Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant, earning her $24,000 for the 2020-2021 academic year along with an invitation to present her research at a virtual two-day Ph.D. Summit later in the year. Microsoft awards the grant to Ph.D. students at North American universities who are underrepresented in the field of computing. Of the 225 proposals received, only 10 were selected.

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UCI Podcast: Melissa Mazmanian on work and parenting in the digital age

June 18, 2020

“Dreams of the Overworked: Living, Working & Parenting in the Digital Age” is a new book by Melissa Mazmanian, UCI associate professor of informatics, and Christine Beckman, professor of public policy at the University of Southern California. In this episode of the UCI Podcast, Mazmanian, who holds appointments in the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences and the Paul Merage School of Business, discusses her process of writing the book and how it relates to our lives in this time of global pandemic.