Spotlight on Alumni

Julie Kientz Focuses Research on Helping Kids With Autism

First and last name (maiden name if applicable):

Julie Kientz

Degree and graduation year:

Ph.D. in Computer Science, 2008

Other education (school names, degrees, dates):

University of Toledo, B.S. in Computer Science & Engineering, 2002

Where do you live (city & state/country)?

Seattle, Washington

What do you do for a living?

Assistant Professor at the University of Washington

What was your first job after leaving Georgia Tech?

Assistant Professor at the University of Washington

What do you like best about your current job?

Doing research with and teaching talented students.

What do you like the least?

Making time for everything that needs to get done.

How did CoC prepare you for the working world?  

Linked me with fantastic faculty members and fellow Ph.D. students who taught me a lot about doing research in Human-Computer Interaction.  My Ph.D. advisor, Gregory Abowd, taught me many important lessons about being in academia, publishing, mentoring and teaching.

What do you consider the single greatest advance—technological, sociological, economic, etc.—in computing since you were in school? 

The iPhone – it’s always connected, portable, has high computational power, a great interface, and is affordable (somewhat …  could still be more affordable).

Operating system of choice:

Whichever is best suited for the job.  Don’t have a real preference here, though most of my computers run Windows 7.

Which professional associations are you a member of?

ACM (plus SIGCHI and SIGACCESS), IEEE.

What do you remember and/or value the most about your time at Georgia Tech/CoC?

My research collaborations with enthusiastic students and faculty.

What faculty or staff member had the greatest impact on you?

Gregory Abowd. As my Ph.D. advisor, mentor and friend, I learned a ton from him about research, human-computer interaction, being a good teacher and mentor, and life in general.

In your spare time, what do you do for fun?

Hiking, skiing, reading, games, volunteer work, pets.

If I had it to do over again, I’d be a _______________.

I wouldn’t change anything!

Are any of your family members CoC/GT alumni?

My fiancée, Shwetak Patel, another CoC Ph.D. graduate.

Do you stay in touch with other computing alumni?  If so, who?

I see many of my fellow labmates and former classmates at conferences, professional meetings, etc.

Are you a member of an online community?  If so which one(s)?

Facebook, Twitter.