So you want to work in the CEL Lab?

I'm actively seeking students at all levels to work with me on research in human-computer interaction, computing education, the learning sciences, and educational technology. However, not every student is a good fit for the research we do in the CEL lab. The advice on this page will give you a sense what I'm looking for, so please read this before asking about a position.

Skills I Look For

The research I do involves a variety of technical and non-technical skills, and the needs of particular projects vary. If you're a graduate student you should already be comfortable with a variety of these skills. Undergraduates should be adept with one or more and have a willingness to learn quickly about others.

  • Software Development: Current projects primarily use web-based technologies (though this may change). Experience with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, SQL is most relevant.
  • Applied Statistics: A lot of my projects have a quantitative analysis component. Coursework in and a working knowledge of inferential statistics and a software package like (SPSS, SAS, or R) is a plus.
  • Interviewing: My research involves talking to people about software interfaces. Experience conducting interviews or focus groups is helpful.
  • Technical Writing: Do you have experience with and enjoy writing about technical topics?
  • Education: My research primarily centers on technologies whose purpose is to help people learn about something (computing, science, math, etc). Are you interested in teaching/learning? Have you taught before (tutored, summer camp, courses, TA'd)? Have you taken any courses in psychology and/or education?

Interest in Research Required

I'm looking for students who are interested in being part of ongoing and new research projects related to the goals of the lab. That means if you're looking to flesh out your CV/resume or to get some additional software development experience, this is probably not for you. Also research efforts take time, so if you only have one semester to devote to a project, it might be difficult to benefit from the experience (of course, there are exceptions). Software we build is meant to test out new ideas/techniques and to answer open research questions (ie., it might be buggy, incomplete, etc)---we are not focusing on building commercial grade software. If that's your interest, pursuing an industry internship may be more up your alley.

If on the other hand, you're truly interested in getting involved in research--creating new user experiences and exploring unanswered questions, you may be in the right place. For undergrads this could also be an interest in trying out research to help you consider graduate school options.

Other Thoughts

One of the best ways for me to judge whether you'd be a good fit for the lab is for you to take a class with me first. That will give you a sense for how I work with students and, depending on the course, the kinds of research I do. It also gives me an opportunity to see you and your skills in action. If possible, enroll in a class with me before seeking a position in the lab--this is especially important if you are new to UNO and in your first year of study here.

Current UNO Students (undergrad, masters, or Ph.D.)

If you think you are a good fit after reading this, please send me an email to set up a meeting to chat further. In your message be sure to include answers to the following:

  • Why Me? There are many great faculty in IS&T at UNO. Be sure to look at some of my recent publications and project descriptions first, and then tell me why you are specifically interested in working with me.
  • Why Research? Tell me why you're interested in getting involved in research in general, and specifically in this field.
  • Your Skills: Tell me about your experience with the skills above and show me some evidence. If you're a great programmer, send me a link to one of your recent projects. If you've conducted interviews, send me a transcript of one. If you're a great writer, send me a sample.

Prospective Graduate Students

Apply to one of the graduate programs in IS&T. If you have specific questions about the work we do in the CEL lab, you're welcome to email me.


Special thanks to Dr. Andy Ko at the University of Washington for providing his helpful example of structuring advice like this.