School of Psychology Ph.D. Student Among 2017 Foley Scholar Finalists

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A School of Psychology doctoral student is one of eight finalists for the GVU Center at Georgia Tech’s annual Foley Scholarships, designed to recognize top graduate students who are helping to narrow the gap between technology and those who use it.

Dar-Wei Chen, a Ph.D. student in Engineering Psychology, is based in the Problem Solving and Educational Technology Lab (PSET) run by Professor Richard Catrambone, Chen’s advisor in the School of Psychology. Chen will find out in October if he is one of three scholarship recipients who each will receive $5,000 as well as more exposure for his or her research and a better chance at collaborative opportunities. 

“Being named a 2017 Foley finalist is a recognition that I will cherish forever as a wonderful capstone to my graduate school career,” Chen says. “I am truly flattered to be mentioned alongside the other finalists, past and present, who are changing the world through their work.”

Chen’s research focuses on designing user-centered instructional materials for students who may not always have access to a teacher in a classroom but are able to look up more information than ever on digital devices. Chen’s dissertation looks at “productive failure,” an educational theory that claims students learn better when they try and fail during independent problem-solving before receiving personal instruction.

“This type of instructional design could lead to students retaining information for longer periods of time and being able to transfer that information to novel contexts. It could potentially mean lower cognitive workloads too,” Chen says. Outside of the PSET laboratory, Chen has worked to bring user-centered approaches to other domains such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's immunization schedule, hospital code cart medication drawers, and even the U.S. voting process.

Previously known as the Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center, the interdisciplinary GVU Center focuses on helping people make better use of computing technology in all aspects of their lives. It seeks out exemplary graduate students who are involved in research in fields such as human-computer interaction, educational technology, animation, augmented/virtual reality, wearable computing, and robotics.

This is a banner year for the GVU Center. In addition to celebrating its 25th year on Oct. 18-19 with guest lecturers and awards presentations, this is the 10th year that the Center has bestowed Foley Scholarships. The Center also recognizes top students in the MS-Human-Computer Interaction degree program with its Distinguished Master’s Student Awards. The School of Psychology is one of four schools participating in the program. Four MS-HCI students make up this year’s Distinguished Master’s Student Finalists



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