Simone Smarr – Human-Centered Computing (HCC)


3.) What obstacles have you had to overcome in your career/college journey?

A main obstacle for me was overcoming my own fears and doubts. It can be difficult being in a field where you are considered a minority. I would go to conferences or work at an internship and feel like maybe I did not belong there because not many people looked like me or had a background like mine. I was fully capable but I would doubt myself. Then I realized that I had to be the change that I wanted to see. I had to be confident in my abilities and remember that nobody knows everything so it is all a learning experience. I learned the value of diversity and learned to cherish the fact that I had something different to bring to the table.

4.) What do you enjoy the most about your STEM career/field?
I love that I can combine my passions and never get bored. Research is great because I get to try to answer interesting questions and creating technology is great because I get to do something new. I would say my field never gets boring because there is so much to do. Also it is very interdisciplinary so I can expand out of computer science and work in education, or psychology or policy or anything else because I am simply focused on people. The possibilities feel endless in HCC and that is what I truly love.

1.) What is your chosen STEM field?

Human-Centered Computing (HCC) is my chosen field. Currently I am a PhD Student in HCC which in general focuses on understanding how to make computational technologies more useable and how computational technologies affect society.

2.) Why did you choose this field?

I majored in Computer Science in college because I really liked technology. As I learned how to program I started to love the problem solving aspect and also loved being able to create new things. I have always felt passionate about helping people so I knew I wanted to use my computer science skills to do just that. A professor introduced me to the field of Human-Centered Computing as an option for graduate school and I realized it encompassed everything I wanted. HCC allows me to use my Computer Science degree but to also learn more about people and how they function and think in order to create things that have a meaning.



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