Congratulations to the first graduating cohort from UCI’s Master’s in Human Computer Interaction and Design

They've earned this

It is with no small sense of fulfillment and pride that I congratulate our first graduating cohort in the new MHCID program here at UCI.

Although I was brought into it relatively late, about two years after initial planning had begun, I have been part of the program for over a year and developed / taught the Advanced Design and Prototyping course, as well as the second half of the two-quarter capstone course. Next year I will be teaching the full two-quarters of the capstone course, likely because I do the same at the undergrad level and having two faculty teach part of the same course is difficult.

As this was a newly developed program, the students we admitted for the first go round were strong personalities, risk takers, enthusiastic and driven, and it showed. Highs and lows, tough times and hard roads, late nights and online meetings, yet they all made it through to the end, surpassing every challenge and task they faced, and ultimately created capstone projects that were highly praised by their corporate (and in one case, educational) partners as well as their peers. That’s them in the header image, by the way, and the jubilation you can see is real, and earned.

They presented their projects on Friday to all the program’s corporate partners, peers, colleagues, faculty, and our incoming second cohort, and they were all very well received. The partners they worked with had nothing but praise for the quality of the work, and with only one rehearsal run-through and critique the previous day, everyone did a superb job. There was a wide range of projects; everything from healthcare (robot-assisted healthcare, with Mabu!) to wine to education to materials engineering. It was the groups’ day to shine, and they did. They were able to brag, to impress, to highlight, to inform, and with the varied nature of the projects it never became dry or dragged.

Commencement was also wonderful. Of course, I have many favorite parts when it comes to commencement, the biggest of which is seeing all my former students receive their diploma and the huge smiles on their face knowing they have made the journey successfully to this point. It’s a highlight of my career and a privilege I take quite seriously to be able to sit on the stage and be part of the ceremony that they earned. To see any of my students walk across the stage and formally graduate, but with this being our first cohort, it was a secret triumph for all involved; faculty, staff, students, support, everyone.

I have to also say, however, that I always really enjoy seeing the wide range of regalia the faculty brings to these events. So many different designs, colors, symbols, it’s always fantastic and adds a real splash of excitement to the proceedings.

A rainbow of regalia

A rainbow of regalia

And with it being a design program, our students were equally involved in creating unique, individual and personalized mortarboards. My favorite was the one that actually lit up and had a Disney theme. The battery pack was underneath on top of her head, so i can’t imagine it was too comfortable, but that’s the price you pay, the sacrifice you make, for fashion!

Cap design

Cap design

So when it all came together and they were finally able to present their projects at our big career fair on Friday, and graduate at commencement on Saturday, to say their sense of accomplishment, and no doubt relief, was palpable, would be an understatement. they deserve all the congratulations, the praise, the high-fives, the future jobs they’ll have, and all the recognition that results from their time in the program.  My personal congratulations to everyone involved, the students most of all.

(If you would ike more information about the program, I have linked it in the first sentence of this post, but I’ll do it again here because I’m all about usability! UCI’s Master of Human Computer Interaction and Design).

Going Up