Tricia J. Ngoon

I am a Ph.D candidate in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego working with Dr. Scott Klemmer and Dr. Caren Walker. I take an interdisciplinary approach to my research, using methods and theories from psychology, computer science, and learning science to better understand creative cognition. My research investigates ways to scaffold exploratory thinking in creative problem-solving, with applications in creativity support tools and pedagogy.

Prior to starting 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 boxing, attempting to surf, doodling cartoons, trivia and board/video games, and exploring new beaches and hiking trails.

I am currently on the job market for post-doc, faculty, or industry research positions!

  • Research Statement
  • Teaching Statement
  • Diversity/Broader Impact Statement

  • View my CV

    Travel & Talks Schedule

  • Nov 10, 2020: University of Wisconsin - Madison Virtual HCI Seminar
  • June 22, 2020: Remote summer internship at Adobe Research working with Joy Kim
  • Feb 13, 2020: Cognitive Science Student Association Design & Interaction Talk Series, UCSD
  • Nov 11-12, 2019: CSCW 2019, Austin, TX
  • Oct 29-Nov 1, 2019: Rising Stars in EECS career workshop, UIUC
  • Sept 17, 2019: Berkeley Institute of Design Seminar
  • Aug 14, 2019: Stanford HCI Seminar
  • June 22-26, 2019: Creativity & Cognition 2019, San Diego, CA
  • June 2019: Summer internship at Adobe Research SF working with Joy Kim
  • May 4-9, 2019: CHI 2019, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Mar 13, 2019: Cognition at the Shore seminar, UCSD
  • Jun 24-27, 2018: HCIC 2018, Watsonville, CA
  • Apr 21-26, 2018: CHI 2018, Montreal, Canada
  • Publications

    Conference & Journal Papers

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Joy O. Kim, & Scott Klemmer. SimpleSketch: Visual Abstraction Enables Collaborative Exploration & Communication. Under Review.

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Joy O. Kim, & Scott Klemmer. Shöwn: Adaptive Suggestions Aid Exploration in Creative Tasks. Under Review.

    C. Ailie Fraser, Tricia J. Ngoon, Mira Dontcheva, & Scott Klemmer. 2019. Replay: Contextually Presenting Learning Videos Across Software Applications. In ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) Proceedings. Honorable Mention (Top 5%)

    Tricia J. Ngoon*, C. Ailie Fraser*, Ariel S. Weingarten, Mira Dontcheva, & Scott Klemmer. 2018. Interactive Guidance Techniques for Improving Creative Feedback. In ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) Proceedings. Honorable Mention (Top 5%) * indicates equal contribution as first-authors

    Christian Battista, Tanya M. Evans, Tricia J. Ngoon, Tianwen Chen, Lang Chen, John Kochalka, & Vinod Menon. 2018. Mechanisms of Interactive Specialization and Emergence of Functional Brain Circuits Supporting Cognitive Development in Children. npj Science of Learning, 3(1).

    Tanya M. Evans, John Kochalka, Tricia J. Ngoon, Sarah Wu, Shaozheing Qin, Christian Battista, & Vinod Menon. 2015. Brain Structural Integrity and Intrinsic Functional Connectivity Forecasts 6-Year Longitudinal Growth in Children’s Numerical Abilities. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(33). 11743-11750.

    Graduate Symposiums

    Tricia J. Ngoon. 2019. Overcoming Satisficing: Scaffolds for Amplifying Creativity. Graduate Student Symposium Abstract in ACM Creativity & Cognition (C&C) Proceedings.

    Tricia J. Ngoon. 2019. Inventive Scaffolds Catalyze Creative Learning. Doctoral Consortium Abstract in ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) Proceedings.

    Extended Abstracts & Posters

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Joy O. Kim, Caren M. Walker, & Scott Klemmer. 2020. Amplifying Exploratory Thinking through Creativity Support Tools. CHI 2020 Workshop paper.

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Caren M. Walker, & Scott Klemmer. 2019. The Dark Side of Satisficing: Setting the Temperature of Creative Thinking. In ACM Creativity & Cognition (C&C) Proceedings.

    Samuel Lau, Tricia J. Ngoon, Vineet Pandey, & Scott Klemmer. 2019. Experiment Reconstruction Reduces Fixation on Surface Details of Explanations. In ACM Creativity & Cognition (C&C) Proceedings.

    C. Ailie Fraser, Tricia J. Ngoon, Ariel S. Weingarten, Mira Dontcheva, & Scott Klemmer. 2017. CritiqueKit: A Mixed-Initiative, Real-Time Interface for Improving Feedback. Demo in ACM User Interface Software & Technology (UIST) Companion.

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Alexander Gamero-Garrido, & Scott Klemmer. 2016. Supporting Peer Instruction with Evidence-Based Online Instructional Templates. Work-in-Progress in ACM Learning at Scale (L@S) Proceedings.

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Rachel Chen, Amit Deutsch, & Sean Lip. 2016. Oppia: A Community of Peer Learners to Make Conversational Learning Experiences. Demo in ACM Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (CSCW) Companion.


    One of the most rewarding parts of being a graduate student is being able to teach and mentor promising, motivated students.

  • 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: 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.


    Affiliated Links

    UCSD Cognitive Science
    The Design Lab
    Early Learning & Cognition Lab
    UCSD Graduate Women in Computing