Tricia J. Ngoon, Ph.D

Hi! I'm Tricia. I am a NSF STEM Education Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, working with Dr. Amy Ogan. My current research is in designing and understanding the impact of tools for scalable, personalized teacher professional development at both the K-12 and undergraduate level towards more equitable learning environments. As a cognitive scientist, I take an interdisciplinary approach to my research, using methods and theories from psychology, computer science, and learning science to better understand creative cognition and learning. Broadly, I am interested in understanding how artificial intelligence and computational tools can augment creative problem-solving, professional development, and interpersonal interactions.

I received my PhD in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego. I was advised by Dr. Scott Klemmer in the Design Lab. My dissertation examined interactive strategies and tools to support exploratory thinking in creative work. Prior to my PhD, I graduated from UC Berkeley with Honors in Psychology and worked as a research assistant at the Stanford Cognitive & Systems Neuroscience Lab studying math cognition in children. Outside of research, I enjoy attempting to exercise through boxing, being mediocre at video games, meddling on the piano, and volunteering as a "cat cuddler" at the Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh!

***I am currently on the job market for both academic and industry research positions!***

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Professional Informatics: Personalized Professional Development Tools Towards Equitable Work & Learning Environments

Professional development in fields where interactions with people are critical for professional success is often impersonal and infrequent. In this project, we collaborate with researchers, professionals, faculty, and K-12 teachers to design tools to scale human obervation and provide automated multimodal analytics through ubiquitous sensing systems in the classroom and workplace. My work aims to understand perceptions and impact around these systems, particularly with regards to ethical AI, privacy, and social dynamics.

DIS '23 (Honorable Mention)

Supporting Teachers in Low-Infrastructure Contexts

Teachers in low-infrastructure contexts face challenges related to technology, economic, and environmental infrastructure. In this project, we designed a social media-based chatbot to help teachers in rural Côte d'Ivoire get quick, automated guidance and facilitate communication within their communities of practice.


Adaptive Guidance Tools for Supporting Exploratory Thinking in Creative Work

In any creative domain, novices have difficulty exploring the potential space of possibilities because they don't yet have the domain knowledge to know what to explore nor the procedural knowledge to know how to explore. For my PhD dissertation, I studied strategies to help scaffold novices in exploratory thinking and implemented these strategies within creativity support tools.

Dissertation, DIS '21, C&C '19 (Extended abstract), CHI '19 (Honorable Mention), CHI '18 (Honorable Mention), UIST '17 (Demo)

Other Projects

Throughout my career, I am fortunate to have had several collaborators in various areas related to creativity, patterning in children, and math cognition.

CogSci '22 (Abstract), C&C '19 (Extended abstract), NPJ '18, Journal of Neuroscience '15

Recent News

  • Aug 1 - 2, 2023: Attending the James S. McDonnell Foundation (JSMF) Teachers as Learners meeting in St. Louis, MO
  • Jul 11-14, 2023: Attending and presenting at DIS 2023 in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jul 2023: Very excited that our paper, "'An Instructor is [already] able to keep track of 30 students': Students’ Perceptions of Smart Classrooms for Improving Teaching & Their Emergent Understandings of Teaching and Learning" received an Honorable Mention award at DIS 2023!
  • Jul 3-7, 2023: Attending AIED in Tokyo, Japan
  • May 21-23, 2023: Attending the NYU Innovating a New Generation of Learning Analytics for Educational Equity Event in Basking Ridge, NJ
  • April 2023: Our paper, "'An Instructor is [already] able to keep track of 30 students': Students’ Perceptions of Smart Classrooms for Improving Teaching & Their Emergent Understandings of Teaching and Learning" was accepted to DIS 2023!
  • Apr 14-16, 2023: Attending AERA 2023 in Chicago, Illinois
  • Feb 23, 2023: Speaking at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania
  • Jul 2022: Grateful to be awarded a NSF Stem Education Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for my proposal titled, "Professional Informatics in Support of Inclusive and Equitable Teaching Practices"!
  • Teaching

  • Cognitive Science Department Head Teaching Assistant
  • Support Cognitive Science graduate students in teaching roles and work with the Engaged Teaching Center to develop training resources for instructors.

  • DSGN 90: Design Seminar on Web Programming (Instructor of Record)
  • Developed a curriculum for teaching introductory web programming concepts.

  • COGS 123: Social Computing (Teaching Assistant)
  • Facilitated discussions of current issues in social computing research.

  • COGS 122: Interaction Design Studio (Teaching Assistant)
  • Helped students conceptualize and prototype innovative startup ideas.

  • COGS 120/CSE 170: Interaction Design (Lead Teaching Assistant)
  • Lead studios and guide students through the human-centered design process to develop a mobile web application.

  • COGS 112: Cognition of Humor (Teaching Assistant)
  • Lead discussions about the origins of laughter and humor from a cognitive and social perspective.

  • COGS 17: Neurobiology of Cognition (Teaching Assistant)
  • Lead discussion sessions with active learning strategies to help students review and consolidate course material.

  • DSGN 1: The Design of Everyday Things (Lead Teaching Assistant)
  • Provide critiques in studios to help students analyze design concepts through group-based projects.