GVU Graduate Student Awards Program 2022


Interdisciplinary research is part of the culture of the GVU Center. Ranging from creating cutting-edge computing innovations, to understanding the impacts that these innovations will have on our lives, the students in GVU represent the future of technology.


The GVU Center recognizes top Ph.D. and master's students at Georgia Tech through the annual GVU Graduate Student Awards Program, funded by the James D. Foley GVU Center Endowment.   

Congratulations to the four 2022 award recipients and eight finalists.The program has two award levels—the Foley Scholarship for Ph.D. students and the GVU Distinguished Master’s Student Award for master's level students. The GVU Graduate Student Awards Program is the center's highest recognition for student excellence in research contributions to computing.

Learn more below about the recipients and finalists in this year's program. 







Vedant Das Swain, Computer Science (advisors Munmun DeChoudhury and Gregory Abowd)

I'm Vedant Das Swain, a PhD candidate in Computer Science (specializing in Human-Computer Interaction) from Georgia Institute of Technology. Here I am co-advised by Prof. Munmun De Choudhury and Prof. Gregory D. Abowd. My interests lie at the intersection of ubiquitous computing and computational social science.

Humans interact with technologies in many ways that are impreceptible to them. Since, computers and computing have begun to engulf people's reality, they provide a unique perspective to understand human behavior. I like to extend beyond simply context-aware systems and try to understand socially-aware systems, that can help researchers understand how humans behave in communities. In my work, I leverage devices embedded in everyday life as unobtrusive sources of behavioral data and analyze human dynamics to inform the design of interventions for improving personal health and wellbeing. In particular, I investigate approaches to improve the future of work and campus life.




Alyssa Rumsey, Human-Centered Computing (advisor Christopher Le Dantec)

I am a researcher, leader, teacher, and mentor with a passion for user centered design. I am obsessed with understanding how people work and developing tools to support them. Combining my background in sociology, design, and engineering, I create and lead teams to evaluate and build solutions to real-world problems.

As the Director for the Center of Innovation for Aerospace, I consult with commercial and defense aviation companies across Georgia to identify opportunities for operational improvement and multi-disciplinary research projects to support economic growth. As a PhD candidate in Human Centered Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, I apply ethnographic methods and participatory design techniques to balance organizational goals with worker wants and needs.


Yixuan (Janice) Zhang, Human-Centered Computing (advisor Andrea Grimes Parker)

I am a Ph.D. candidate studying Human-Centered Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, under the advisory of Dr. Andrea Grimes Parker.

My research broadly lies in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Data Visualization (VIS), Equity, and cross-disciplines of crisis informatics and health informatics. The impact of my research extends beyond academia: I was invited to present my work focused on crisis visualization design and public trust to broader audiences such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

My PhD dissertation has focused on examining how people form their online trust in a way that promotes the usage of information and technologies, and how we can design trustworthy information and technologies that enhance wellbeing, with a focus on vulnerable and marginalized populations. To answer these questions, I have used a variety of empirical methods, such as (longitudinal) surveys, interviews, observations, co-design, systematic analysis of artifacts, and user evaluations.





Karthik Seetharama Bhat, Human-Centered Computing (advisor Neha Kumar)

Broadly, my research interests are at the intersections of Health, HCI, and ICTD. My research looks at I am interested in designing technologies that facilitate constructive, and socioculturally situated engagement with health data in resource-constrained and infrastructure-constrained contexts. My initial research in this space comprised a qualitative study of how patients with chronic illnesses engaged in health tracking, and the sociocultural dimensions that complicated this engagement.


Gerry Chen, Robotics (advisors Frank Dellaert and Seth Hutchinson)

My career interests are in robotic perception paired with dynamics and control. I have a passion for autonomous machines (i.e. cars, UAVs, search and rescue, etc). My current project is to build and control a cable robot for painting graffiti. Cable robot control is notoriously difficult due to the nonlinear coupled forward dynamics, constraints, and nonidealities, but the difficulties in control are offset by their scalability, cost, and speed.



Tingyu Cheng, Human-Centered Computing (advisors Gregory Abowd and Hyunjoo Oh)

My interest is highly interdisciplinary, combining Science, Engineering and Arts, reflecting from my versatile background in mechanical engineering, liberal arts and Human-computer interaction.

My research focus is on how to bridge soft active material, and sensing technology to HCI field.



Youngwook Do, Computer Science (advisors Sauvik Das and Gregory Abowd)

I am a HCI researcher and PhD student at Georgia Tech building Physical Computing Systems for Cybersecurity, Food, Wearables, Paper, Fabrication, and Education. 

I explore how to design and implement a novel tangible interface to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds for cyber security and digital privacy.



Nadia Fereydooni, Human-Centered Computing (advisor Bruce Walker)

I am a Ph.D. student in the Human-Centered Computing program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. My research interests are in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction, Autonomous Vehicles, and Augmented (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). I am particularly interested in understanding the effects of being in a dynamic real world environment on the VR experience and the influence of bystanders on VR users. I am a member of the Georgia Tech Sonification Lab where my research is advised by Dr. Bruce N. Walker. 


Sachin Pendse, Human-Centered Computing (advisors Munmun DeChoudhury and Neha Kumar)

I’m a PhD student in Human-Centered Computing at Georgia Tech. I study the diverse ways that people express, experience, and seek care for their mental health. My research focuses around the question of how the identities we hold (such as our cultural background, our socioeconomic class, our gender identity, or our sexual orientation) have an influence on how we come to understand and express our experiences of distress, as well as what specific kinds of care we need and have access to when we aren’t feeling well. Through mixed-methods examinations of these factors, I hope to understand the role that technology can play to address the individual and structural barriers that prevent people from consistent mental health.






Kyle Leinart, Human-Computer Interaction (advisor Jessica Roberts)

I am an MS in Human-Computer Interaction student at Georgia Tech, solving problems by crafting unique experiences. Previously, I was a software developer that worked on cutting edge technologies which used the Unity game engine to solve complex engineering problems. For every project I worked on, I saw there was a need for someone to make the vision a clear reality and to be the glue between the business, design, and engineering teams. My goal is to become that person so that I can help my team create a product which will change the world. I have multiple years of experience in engineering, data, entrepreneurship, and design. In each job, I have found myself performing some of the roles of a product manager, ensuring the delivery of high-quality and optimized products that meets customer expectations and keeping a cohesive and happy team. As a Unity developer I have been able to apply the principles of game development in projects that offer more than entertainment and helps humanity.





Xiao Luo, Human-Computer Interaction (advisor Andrea Grimes Parker)

I make work easier and more exciting for people through product design. I have designed key features of a digital health mobile app to support the wellbeing of black women, with a particular focus on effecting equitable outcomes in women’s reproductive, sexual, and maternal health. I also had the opportunity to redesign key Georgia Tech web pages for TechDining and human resources, achieving a boost in information display efficiency and user satisfaction. 




Max Zuo, Computer Science (advisor Thad Starner)

I am a Computer Science major at the Georgia Institute of Technology working towards a combined M.S. degree with a specialization in Machine Learning. I conduct research on semantics in embodied AI and weakly supervised learning. I also enjoy working on deep representation learning and open-vocabulary object detection.