Welcome to the C3 Lab!
Our research explores the design of human-centered technologies to bridge Cultural barriers, improve Collaboration, and build Community. On a high-level, our lab aims to tackle timely, high-impact, human-oriented societal challenges. Our goal is to design socially-conscious, technological solutions that can benefit social good.
Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are key focuses of this work. The solutions we develop aim to embrace and leverage the benefits of diversity, rather than being hindered by its challenges. Our team works on three application areas:
- Collaboration systems to overcome cultural barriers in distributed work teams
- Interactive technologies to address loneliness and isolation
- Empowering the public with open data and visualizations
This work is situated within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Social Computing and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). We draw heavily from psychology, cultural anthropology, media art and urban studies to design creative technological interventions and nuanced studies of the interplay between humans and machines. For Dr. Helen Ai He’s Google Scholar profile, see here.
Welcome students! I’m Helen. Great that you’re here. I am currently recruiting undergraduate research assistants for summer 2021, as well as MSc and PhD students for Fall 2021, to the internationally renowned Interactions Lab (iLab) in the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Calgary (C3 Lab is part of the iLab). I do not offer internships.
The Interactions Lab (iLab) is one the largest HCI labs in Canada and includes five professors and over forty students from both Calgary’s Computer Science and Computational Media Design programs. University of Calgary is one of Canada’s top research universities, located in one of the world’s most livable cities (ranked #5 on the Economist’s global livability index).
I’m seeking technically-skilled, highly creative students with keen intrinsic interest in issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and a passion for developing socially-conscious technologies. In particular, I welcome applications from students with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds to contribute their unique expertise to these challenging research domains. Before contacting me though, first take some time to read through my past work. Then, think about these questions:
- From the research domains that I work on, what problems or societal challenges do you find most fascinating or interesting?
- The key idea here is to think about what are you naturally drawn to. (Why? Because grad studies are hard and intrinsic interest is the best motivator!)
- Given your personal life experiences, what skills or perspectives could you uniquely contribute that no one else could? Importantly, how can your skills or perspectives contribute to equity, diversity and inclusion?
- After reading through my past work, do you have ideas of where this research could be taken in the future?
- Draw from your own experiences, e.g. about culture or language barriers you’ve experienced while using email, Zoom or Slack. Or, how to redesign social media systems to foster high-quality. meaningful social connection to address loneliness and isolation. Or, during this global pandemic, how data and visualizations can better engage and empower the public. The key is – be specific and concrete about your ideas (as it helps to better distinguish your application from other students). If you like, you can include a hand-drawn sketch of a rough idea, or whatever helps you best communicate your idea. Good writing is valued.
- And finally, the most important question – why do you wish to pursue graduate studies?
- As I mentioned before, doing a MSc or PhD in a novel reserach domain can be hard. So its important to clarify for yourself (and to me) why you want to do this. e.g. Is it to gain new skills? To receive mentorship on how to advance scientific knowledge? Is it to challenge yourself and push out of your comfort zone? Are you willing to fail? Do you have a desire to tackle creative endeavours that others haven’t done before?
Only after you’ve thought about these questions, send me an email (helen.he1 [ at ] ucalgary.ca) with your:
- some brief answers (3-5 sentences) to these questions
- your transcripts (unofficial is fine)
I look forward to hearing from you. (Please note that due to a high volume of emails, I may not be able to reply to every message).
To submit an official application through the University of Calgary, go here. Deadline for the Fall 2021 start date is January 1, 2021 (international students) and May 1, 2021 (Canadian citizens and permanent residents).
Image credits from Unsplash: rawpixel, kyle-glenn, thomas-lambert, eberhard-grossgasteiger.