Georgia Tech graduates with gold and white balloons falling.

Graduate Q&A: Hayley Evans

Each semester, the School of Interactive Computing IC) graduates a number of Ph.D. students who will take their research, academic, and educational experience into new roles around the country and world. This fall was no different, as IC had five finish their doctoral degrees.

As we congratulate our own and the many others around the College of Computing and Georgia Tech as a whole, we asked students to take a look back on their time at Georgia Tech to reflect on memories, lessons learned, and advice they’d share with the next generation of students.

Read below for our Q&A with one IC graduate, Hayley Evans.

Can you provide some background on your research agenda at Georgia Tech and what your goals are for your work in the future?

My research investigates how to design human-centered technologies in the health and wellness space by leveraging an ecological approach in combination with feminist HCI practices. During my Ph.D., I investigated how to design user-centered technologies to support veteran-patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and clinical-decision-making for the clinicians who treat them. In the future, I hope to continue to investigate how inclusive design practices that consider ecological systems can enhance a wide range of health practices and services.

What’s next for you in your career? Where are you headed, and what will your role be?

I started working full-time in my fourth year as a Ph.D. as a UX Researcher/Service Designer for the federal government. I have worked with the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Centers for Disease Control. In a perfect world, I could continue to have a real-world impact conducting service design activities in the government space while pursing my love of teaching and mentoring students.

Can you describe what your time was like at Georgia Tech? How did the school benefit you, and do you have any particular memories you’ll take with you?

There’s something special about Georgia Tech and Atlanta itself. I’ve lived in a lot of places and it truly felt like home here. I have a wonderful and supportive advisor in Rosa Arriaga and great friends from my cohort and program who can laugh and commiserate with me. Honestly though, what was most special for me about Georgia Tech was having the opportunity to not only connect with colleagues on campus but to find a community off campus as well. Atlanta is welcoming and afforded me that opportunity. I was lucky enough to start a community garden with Aglanta during my studies and was also a gymnastics/tumbling coach. I also made some amazing friends in my neighborhood who are like family to me. My life in Atlanta is so much more than simply studying.  

What advice would you give to other students who are just getting started on their Ph.D.s here?

You’re going to be blown away by how intelligent people at Georgia Tech are. Resist the urge to compare yourself to others, and remember that you bring your own unique perspective to your field and you were chosen to be a Ph.D. student here for a reason. Be unapologetically yourself, throw imposter syndrome out the window, and do what you say you will do (e.g. meet your deadlines, support your lab mates, etc.).

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