Virginia Tech® home

CHCI Student Member Highlight: Neelma Bhatti

January 31, 2022

Neelma Bhatti

Neelma Bhatti is a Fulbright scholar and a PhD candidate in the department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech, where she is advised by Dr. Scott McCrickard, and co-advised by Dr. Aisling Kelliher. In her doctoral research, Neelma uses and adapts a variety of qualitative research methods to investigate parents' use of technology as a caregiving tool to design interactive media for young children based on parents' context of use and gratifications sought. She also explores the potential of using screen and voice based interfaces to facilitate young children's secondary language learning. Prior to starting her PhD, she investigated how disorientation occurs in various tech-centered activities in online and outdoor environments, and developed means to identify and resolve it to facilitate learning in different educational contexts. She has published work in top ACM conferences including CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems,  Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Interaction Design and Children (IDC) and Interactive Media Experiences (IMX). Her work on designing mobile applications to minimize disorientation in informal learning environments has recently won an honorable mention award for short papers at ACM IDC 2021.

When describing her CHCI experience at Virginia Tech Neelma says, “I have always been simultaneously interested in human psychology and fascinated by how technological developments can facilitate people's lives tremendously. At Virginia Tech, I was able to carve a niche for myself which satisfied both of my interests by indulging in HCI research focused on exploring ways in which child-friendly media technologies can support caregivers, especially parents of young children. By pursuing an HCI-oriented career in academia or industry, I foresee myself always putting 'people' at the heart of my research by employing research methods which can actively engage users of technology in the design process by leveraging their distinct capabilities. I am looking for opportunities which allow me to work broadly across disciplines to engage in research, design and development of technologies for the home in general, and child-friendly digital media devices and content in particular.”