The Delta Lab includes undergraduates, graduates, and faculty with appointments in the McCormick School of Engineering, School of Communication, and School of Education and Social Policy. Such interdisciplinary teamwork is critical to radically influencing the capacity to studying, designing, and building systems in the fields of human computer interaction, learning sciences, social and crowd computing, civics, design, and innovation.
We are fluent in qualitative and quantitative methods. We can hack together low-fi prototypes on the computer or in the machine shop overnight or develop eloquent and refined solutions through careful iteration over time. Our lab is a living lab – we try out rough ideas on each other before bringing them out into the world. Based on our approach, the lab produces students who go on to be professors, start companies, and lead innovative initiatives at Fortune 500 companies.
Dr. Matt Easterday
Matt is an assistant professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. He received his PhD in 2010 from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a fellow in the Institute for Educational Science’s Program for Interdisciplinary Educational Research and a Siebel Scholar. His research focuses on technology for the new civics – producing scientifically supported educational technology to create informed and engaged citizens who can solve the serious policy problems facing our society such as poverty, global warming and militarism. Training such citizens requires us to understand how competent citizens analyze policy, communicate issues, and organize to make change. It also requires us to design more effective educational technology that can teach the knowledge, skills and dispositions citizens need.
Dr. Liz Gerber
Liz is an associate professor in the McCormick School of Engineering and School of Communication at Northwestern University. She has spent 11 years researching and designing award winning innovation programs for universities and S&P 500 companies nationally and internationally. She has been invited to speak nationally and internationally at non-profit and for-profit institutions, including Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, MIT, and Stanford. Her work has been featured in such venues as Oprah, NPR, ABC, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company, and is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation.
Dr. Haoqi Zhang
Haoqi is the Breed Junior Chair of Design and an assistant professor in Computer Science at Northwestern University. He studies, designs, and builds social computing systems that promote desired behaviors and outcomes. His current work focuses on engaging crowds and communities in problem solving and collective action, and on advancing new data-driven design processes. He research spans the fields of social computing, crowdsourcing, human computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and decision science. He received his PhD in Computer Science and BA in Computer Science and Economics from Harvard University.
Dr. Nell O’Rourke
Nell is the June and Donald Brewer Junior Professor in Computer Science and Learning Sciences. Her research lies at the intersection of human-computer interaction and educational psychology with a focus on developing data-driven systems that support motivation, personalization, and formative assessment in learning environments. Her current research explores the design of interactive systems that promote the growth mindset, encourage playful learning, and foster metacognitive reflection through personal data. Her interventions have been used by over 100,000 students online, adopted by companies, and used in classrooms. She has also won several awards and scholarships, including the Google Anita Borg Scholarship and the Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship. Nell received her Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Washington in 2016.
Mike Greenberg is a fourth year Ph.D. Student in the Technology and Social Behavior program at Northwestern University. Mike is interested in building platforms which motivate users to maintain commitment to online creative work. As an NSF Graduate Fellow, he is currently working on two projects: 1) A platform for crowdsourcing design feedback, and 2) Understanding failure and retention in Crowdfunding communities
Julie Hui is a fourth year Mechanical Engineering PhD student in the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University. Her research interests include understanding how people support each other online, and designing new online tools to help them do so. As an NSF Graduate Fellow, she is currently working on three projects, studying how online communities can support 1) first-generation college students pursue meaning careers, 2) novice design students gather feedback from online crowds, and 3) crowdfunders build trust.
Julie recieved a B.S. in Physics with a Minor in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. Previously, she has researched health economics at the University of Maryland and engineering education tools at MIT.
Natalia Smirnov is a doctoral candidate in Learning Sciences and a Segal Design Fellow. She studies innovative digitally-mediated infrastructures, such as constructive simulations and journalism experiences, that help young people become politically literate and civically engaged. Natalia has a B.A. in American Culture and Media Arts from Temple University. Before coming to Northwestern, she taught youth media literacy and production in Philadelphia, and led the development of a public access/online news show called POPPYN that presents perspectives and contributions of youth missing from the mainstream media.
Emily Harburg is a second year Ph.D. Student in the Technology and Social Behavior program at Northwestern University. Emily is interested in building platforms to increase motivation, self-efficacy, and performance. As an NSF Graduate Fellow, she is currently designing an online platform to build self-efficacy in novice design teams. Emily received her B.S. in Social Anthropology with a minor in Psychology from Harvard University. Prior to doctoral studies, Emily worked for Walt Disney Imagineering in the Disney Research behavioral sciences team.
Daniel Rees Lewis
Daniel Rees Lewis is a 4th year Learning Sciences PhD student at Northwestern University. He conducts design-based research on learning tools for novice innovators. His research interests include teaching key design process skills (particularly through analogy), design-based research methods, and tools for design critique. Daniel is currently working on implementing the Digital Loft with Design in America. He received an MA in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University, and a BA in Philosophy from Sussex University. Before starting his PhD at Northwestern, Daniel was a Post-Masters Fellow and Learning Consultant at Design for America in the Segal Institute of Design, and taught Intercultural Communications and English at a French engineering school in Bordeaux. He has also worked as an educator in the Vietnam, Poland, and his native England.
Gulnaz Saiyed is a Ph.D. student in the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. She is interested in designing learning environments for civic media production and better understanding how to engage youth from non-dominant communities in civics. She is currently working on developing a youth journalism curriculum for after-school and summer programs and investigating the role of empathy in connecting youth media with an audience.
Gulnaz received an M.S. in journalism from Northwesterns Medill School of Journalism and has a B.A. in English and Womens Studies from Tulane University. She has worked as a freelance journalist and youth media instructor, as well as a high school and middle school teacher.
Josh is a PhD Candidate in Computer Science. He is designing code-decomposition and education-scaffolding techniques to help aspiring developers transition from learner to professional contributor. Prior to his PhD, Josh was a senior software engineer that designed and built scalable cloud solutions for companies in Chicago. He holds an M.S. in Computer Science from DePaul University, and a B.S. in Computer Science from Taylor University. Outside the lab, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife Kelley and daughter Lucy.
Yongsung Kim is a Ph.D. Student in the Technology and Social Behavior program at Northwestern University. Yongsung is interested in Crowdsourcing and Social Computing. Yongsung received his M.Sc in Computer Science from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and B.Eng in Computer Science from Tsinghua University
Eureka Foong is a second-year PhD student in the Technology and Social Behavior program at Northwestern University. Inspired by her time in product development, she hopes to improve the way designers and ad-hoc “hackathon” teams reach out to potential users, learn from them, and improve design solutions. Currently, many online feedback exchange systems exist, such as UserTesting and Dribbble, but the differences between the systems make it unclear what is the best way to support designers. Her work is aimed at understanding how designers successfully make sense of feedback in order to develop more useful systems. Eureka received her bachelors degree in psychology and media studies from Linfield College in Oregon and previously worked as a UX Researcher at Piktochart.
Jamie Gorson is a Ph.D student at Northwestern University in Technology and Social Behavior, a combined program in Computer Science and Communications. Her interest is in designing and building technology to increase hands-on and project-based learning in classrooms, museums and informal education spaces. She is currently working on Tune Pad, a tangible interactive experience where users can create music by employing computational theories. Jamie received her B.S. from Olin College in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a concentration in Innovative Education. Her research is funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program in STEM Ed.
Leesha is a 1st year Ph.D. student in the Technology and Social Behavior program at Northwestern. Broadly, she is interested in using human-centered design to build innovative technology that will enhance and extend the natural ways in which humans reflect, learn, grow, and provide support for one another. She is currently exploring how we might afford crowds the ability to monitor a user’s experience and provide continuous/real-time support when users need it. She is also interested in studying how technology might facilitate self-reflection and helpseeking within research communities of practice, and hopes to further explore possible learning and growth outcomes for students. Leesha received her B.A. in Computer Science at Northwestern.
Spencer is an incoming PhD student in the Learning Sciences program at Northwestern University. He is interested in using design-based research to develop better learning environments and technologies for learning design problem solving. Spencer’s current research projects address topics including: supporting peer coaching in design PBL; understanding how design experts coach novice designers in PBL; and understanding how students’ decision-making processes are central to whether and what they learn when participating in learning communities. Spencer is currently finishing his Master’s in Learning Sciences at Northwestern. He began working in the Delta Lab while earning his BSEd in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern.
Claire is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University double majoring in Manufacturing and Design Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. She is a Design for America Team Lead and is currently working to reduce the damage to homes during urban flooding. Claire is interested in a human-centered approach to product design and engineering, and she hopes to incorporate innovative design strategies to develop user friendly products and services. She is currently working as a reseach assistant to the Digital Loft project.
Ellen is a MA student in the Learning Sciences program at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Her research interests include students interaction with media and the design of learning environments such as online platforms that help to produce effective feedback, collaboration, and creative work. She is currently working on implementing a goal system for the Digital Loft with Design for America members. She received her bachelor’s degree in Education and Communications and a certificate in Advertising within the School of Journalism from the University of Colorado.
Betsy Chou is a undergraduate studying Manufacturing and Design Engineering at Northwestern University. She is interested in human-centered design, product development, and sustainability. Currently, she works as a research assistant on the Digital Loft project.
Florence is an undergraduate student studying Journalism and Art History. She is interested in the intersections between art, design and media to create meaningful experiences, interactions and spaces. Currently, she is assisting Dr. Liz Gerber and Eureka Foong.
Kapil is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Computer Science in the McCormick School of Engineering. His interests lie primarily in human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. His current research focus on how low-effort interaction techniques can improve data coverage and fidelity for sensing tasks in the physical world.
Katie is currently a senior studying Psychology and Computer Science with plans to complete a BA/MS next year. Her interests include HCI, design, and social computing. Her current research in DTR involves creating an interface to help beginning web developers start their very own projects.
Pratap is a Junior studying Manufacturing and Design Engineering and Theatre. He is interested in telling stories through design, and has a love for human-centered design in all of its applications. He is currently assisting Mike Greenberg and Julie Hui on their thesis projects, and is researching crowdfunding and entrepreneurship.
Greg is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Computer Science in the McCormick School of Engineering. His current research focuses on enabling beginner web developers to learn and build projects on their own.
Alicia is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Manufacturing and Design Engineering and Integrated Marketing and Communications. She is interested in product design and development, user-centered design, and fusing marketing and technology. She is currently working on developing the Masters in Engineering and Design Innovation program curriculum.
Sarah is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Computer Science and Cognitive Science. She is interested in the social and educational applications of human-computer interaction and UX design. Currently, her research concerns the design and implementation of accessible web layouts.
Bomani is a junior studying Computer Science through the McCormick School of Engineering. He is interested in natural language processing, HCI, and how people can build positive/meaningful relationships with the technology around them. His current research is focused on developing cyberlearning tools for Agile Research Studios.
Sameer is a undergraduate student double majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University. He is interested in the Internet of Things as well as how to best support project teams. His current research is focused on automatically suggesting resources and strategies to undergraduate researchers.
Jennie is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Computer Science in the McCormick School of Engineering. She is interested in HCI and user interface design. Her current research involves building technology to encourage interactions between users and the physical world to collect meaningful data.
Arthur Hjorth, PhD, 2016
Hazel Yan, BS, 2016
Steph Shapiro, BA, 2015
Salwa Barhumi, MS, 2014
Zachary Paul, MS, 2014 (Assistant Product Manager at VTech Toys)
Hannah Hudson, BA, 2014
Liz Kramer, MS, 2013 (IA Collaborative)
Patti Bao, PhD, 2013 (Google)
Jenny Braunstein, BA, 2012 (Intuit)
Sheena Lewis, PhD, 2012 (DePaul University)
Hannah Chung, BS, 2012 (COO, Sproutel)
Pete Phelan, MA, 2012 (Garibay Group)
Adam Lupu, MA, 2012 (Founder at Learnovate Labs, Director of Learning and Development at Global Playground, Staff Writer at Technori)
Yelee Jo, MA, 2011 (Researcher at Education Development Center | Center for Children and Technology)
Rebecca Komarek, MS, 2010 (University of Colorado)
Molly Lafferty, BA, 2010 (HUGE)
Ben Schriesheim, MS, 2009 (Solidworks)
David Hoffman, MS, 2009 (CEO, The Next Big Sound)