Tricia J. Ngoon

Hi! I'm Tricia. I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, working with Dr. Amy Ogan. I design tools for personalized teacher professional development to help them provide more inclusive and fulfilling learning experiences for their students. My research agenda is to expand this area of work to other client-, student-, or patient-facing professions to improve professional interactions. 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 professional learning. Broadly, I am interested in understanding how artificial intelligence and computational tools can catalyze 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 boxing, ice skating, playing piano, doing word puzzles, and attending trivia/game nights.

View my CV

Recent News

  • 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"!
  • Jul 27 - 31, 2022: Attending CogSci 2022 in Toronto, Canada
  • Apr 30 - May 5, 2022: Attending CHI 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Apr 25, 2022: Speaking at the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research & Development Center
  • Apr 20 - 23, 2022: Attending the Cognitive Development Society (CDS) Conference in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Jan 28, 2022: Speaking about my postdoc research at the CMU Human-Computer Interaction Institute Seminar
  • Jan 2022: Our work, "How Exploration Supports Children's Pattern Learning" was accepted as a poster to the 2022 Cognitive Development Society Conference
  • Dec 2021: Our paper, "'We dream of climbing the ladder, for getting there, we have to do our job better': Designing for Teacher Aspirations in Rural Côte d'Ivoire," was conditionally accepted to COMPASS 2022!
  • Jul 2021: Featured in an article for the UCSD Design Lab about my work
  • Jun 28-Jul 2, 2021: Attending virtual DIS 2021
  • Jun 15, 2021: Starting my postdoc at CMU with Dr. Amy Ogan
  • Apr 21, 2021: Defending my PhD thesis, "Interactive Attunement Catalyzes Creative Learning," at the UCSD Design Lab Research Meeting!
  • Publications

    Conference & Journal Papers

    Saranya Venkatramen, Prasenjit Mitra, Sushil S, Katherine Dennis, Zaynab Gates, Ung-Sang Lee, Sherice Clarke, Angela Stewart, Tricia J. Ngoon, & Amy Ogan. Supporting Teachers' Professional Development via Dialog Act Classification of Classroom Discourse. Under review.

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Vivian Y. Leung, Haley Litt, Banso Nguyen, & Caren M. Walker. EPiC: An Exploration in Designing Interactive Technologies for Research with Children. Under review.

    Tricia J. Ngoon, David Kovalev, Prasoon Patidar, Chris Harrison, Yuvraj Agarwal, John Zimmerman, & Amy Ogan. "An instructor is [already] able to keep track of 30 students": Students' Perceptions of Smart Classrooms for Improving Teaching & Their Emergent Beliefs about Teaching and Learning. Under review.

    Vikram Cannanure, Eloisa Avila, Tricia J. Ngoon, Yves Adji, Sharon Wolf, Kaja Jasinska, Tim Brown, & Amy Ogan. 2022. "We dream of climbing the ladder, to get there, we have to do our job better": Designing for Teacher Aspirations in Rural Côte d'Ivoire. In ACM Conference on Computing Systems & Sustainable Societies (COMPASS) Proceedings.

    Tricia J. Ngoon. 2021. Interactive Attunement Catalyzes Creative Learning. UC San Diego PhD dissertation. Defense recording.

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Joy O. Kim, & Scott Klemmer. 2021. Shöwn: Adaptive Conceptual Guidance Aids Example Use in Creative Tasks. In ACM Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) Proceedings.

    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.

    Extended Abstracts & Demos

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Vivian Y. Leung, Micah Goldwater, & Caren Walker. 2022. Exploration as a Strategy to Support Children's Pattern Learning. Abstract at Cognitive Science Society Conference.

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Prasoon Patidar, Amy Ogan, Chris Harrison, Yuvraj Agarwal, & John Zimmerman. 2022. Professional Informatics: Personalized, Data-driven Professional Development. Position paper in the Personal Informatics & Artificial Intelligence workshop at ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI).

    Tricia J. Ngoon, Vivian Y. Leung, & Caren M. Walker. 2022. How Exploration Supports Children's Pattern Learning. Poster at the Cognitive Development Society Conference.

    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.

    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.

    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.


  • 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.


    Affiliated Links

    CMU Human-Computer Interaction Institute
    UCSD Cognitive Science
    The Design Lab
    Early Learning & Cognition Lab