Chitra Gadwal is a Sophomore majoring in Computer Science.

What sort of research are you doing?  I am currently collaborating with Dr. Amy Hurst from the Information Systems (IS) department and Jasmine Jones, a Computer Science major. A lot of elderly people have trouble learning how to use computers; we will be studying data on the amount of mouse clicks used by elderly folks, and creating a visualization tool to aid them in their efforts.

How long have you been doing this research? What inspired you to become involved/ how did you become involved? I just started this year. I told Jasmine that I was interested in Human-Computer Interaction and she brought me in on this project.

Is this your first research project?  My first research project happened last summer at Duke University. We researched the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and certain math topics that were difficult for middle school students. Then, we created middle school math games and tutorials, which taught students both math and basic programming concepts.

How much time do you spend doing research? About six hours a week.

Are you collaborating with any other students or faculty members? Yes, I am collaborating with Jasmine Jones, Dr. Amy Hurst and Dr. Penny Rheingans.

Do you plan to become involved in URCAD? Or, are you being supported by any scholarships or fellowships? Currently, Jasmine is part of the Collaborative Research Experiences for Undergraduates (CREU) Program, and I am one of her collaborators. Jasmine and I plan to present at URCAD this year. 

What is the best part of your research so far?  As of right now, I am reading a lot of cool papers about different technologies that have been created to aid children and elderly people. Just the other day, I read about a portable hand-held device that helps children with their asthma.

What is the biggest obstacle you have faced while doing research so far?  Not being able to dedicate more time to it.

What do you hope to achieve with this research? I hope to gain some research experience, as well as learn as much as possible about Human-Computer Interaction. 

Do you feel like this research is preparing you for post-college plans? Definitely!

What are your plans after graduation?  After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school and get a Ph.D. in either Human-Computer Interaction or Computer Science Education.

*Chitra was interviewed in October 2011.