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Introducing CHCI Student Council for 2023

December 12, 2022

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction has a new Student Council starting in the Spring semester 2023. This student-driven organization aims to have a positive impact on the CHCI student community through advocacy, events, and programs. 

The council vision and mission statements are as follows:

Vision: The CHCI student council aims to provide an inclusive and creative space for students to find common ground, network, and collaborate both academically and artistically. The student council will promote a strong community amongst students involved in the CHCI through showcasing human-computer interaction design work and research with a focus on providing unique social opportunities.

Mission: We are inspired by our university’s motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) to help build a stronger student-based community in the CHCI and to promote student engagement in the ongoing interdisciplinary efforts by the HCI community at Virginia Tech.

Activities: The CHCI student council is organizing the 2023 Student Research Symposium which showcases research by students in the Center, to be held at the end of the Spring semester. The council also hosts the weekly “Hack-and-Yak” every Friday from 2 to 5 pm.

Kylie Davidson



Kylie is a PhD student in Computer Science, co-advised by Chris North and Doug Bowman. She is working on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research focused on sensemaking in virtual/augmented reality. Kylie says, “The student council is designed to create a safe and creative learning community among students of all levels and all disciplines.” Her goal is to host more student-centered events in the center to help support this growing community. Kylie is always available to chat about new ideas for CHCI; you can find her at the Hack n Yak!

Levern Currie


Vice President

Levern Currie is a PhD student in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), advised by Rafael Patrick. and her research focuses on Multi-Modal Auditory Perception for Auditory Situational Awareness. Levern is a DoD SMART fellow, CEED Ambassador and New Horizons Peer Mentor. She hopes to utilize her background in Human Factors and HCI to aid in the growth and development of the CHCI Council and beyond. As Vice President, Levern strives to work diligently in her role to further the council as well as leverage her passion for HCI to bring forth new ideas and events.

Daniel Enriquez


Outreach Officer

Daniel Enriquez is an MS student in Computer Science, advised by Yalong Yang. He is currently a research assistant, focusing on cross device collaboration to and from Virtual Reality, computers, and smartphone devices. With joining the CHCI student council, Daniel will help HCI reach people outside of the organization via community outreach events such as Hokie for a Day and the Science Festival. Daniel's vision for the council is to grow and showcase the different aspects and unique relationship HCI has on individuals and their lives interacting with computers.

Katharina Reis Farina


Social Media Coordinator

Katharina Reis Farina is an MA student and research assistant in the Communication program in the School of Communication. Her interest is making information as accessible as possible for as many people as possible through data visualization, particularly in news. In the role of social media manager, she hopes to continue broadening the scope of CHCI to include even more students from different academic areas.

Md Shafiqul Islam


Engagement Officer

Shafiqul is a PhD candidate in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) and a graduate research assistant with the Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Lab. He is advised by Sol Lim. His primary research interests are in wearable devices, accessible and inclusive system design, and haptic feedback systems. Shafiqul is serving the CHCI student council as an engagement officer. He hopes to bring new and innovative ideas to make CHCI events and the weekly Hack n Yak sessions more exciting and appealing to students.

Daniel Manesh



Daniel Manesh is a PhD student in the Computer Science department advised by Sang Won Lee. His research interests include HCI and its intersection with Software Engineering and Computer Music. Daniel is excited for the CHCI council to continue to grow and support the HCI community at Virginia Tech. He is looking forward to serving the council by helping out with events and by doing work behind the scenes as treasurer. He’s a regular at the weekly Hack ‘n Yak – come say hello! 

Leonardo Pavanatto


Council Member

Leo Pavanatto is a PhD candidate in Computer Science, working on Virtual and Augmented Reality within the scope of designing 3D User Interfaces. He is advised by Doug Bowman. His specific research interests include how to use augmented reality for improving productivity on real-world tasks. He believes the council should work to empower students through their research, by providing resources and support. Leo is available for chatting about research and industry anytime, stop him during the Hack n Yak and say hi!

Sara Saghafi Moghaddam


Content Developer

Sara Saghafi Moghaddam is a practicing architect and researcher, pursuing her doctorate in the School of Architecture and Design. Her research focuses on the intersection of virtual reality (VR) and design knowledge in the initial phase of the design process. By joining the student council, she hopes to contribute to promoting a creative and inclusive environment that engages students with different interests in design and technology.

Tony Lee


Event Coordinator

Tony Lee is an undergraduate Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE) major with a minor in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). He is currently working on numerous virtual reality (VR) UX projects in the Human IMPAC-T Lab, advised by its director, Rafael Patrick. His research focuses on the intersection of virtual reality and human-centered design in efforts to improve user experience. By joining the student council, he hopes to promote the importance of HCI by supporting the CHCI community at Virginia Tech.

Muskan Gupta


Council Member

Muskan Gupta is an MS student in Computer Science advised by Sang Won Lee. She is currently investigating perceptions of trigger/content warnings on social media. Her research interests lie in social computing, specifically digital mental health and computer-mediated empathy. Her overall mission is to contribute to making tech more inclusive and equitable. By joining the council, she wants to foster an active interdisciplinary community in HCI and be of help to students, like her past self, who are interested in HCI but do not know where to start. Muskan is available to chat on anything HCI/UX during Hack ’n Yak!

Merna Khamis


Council Member

Merna Khamis is an undergraduate Computer Science major with a Human-Computer Interaction minor. She is interested in research related to diversity in computing. Merna likes being  part of an organization that serves students from different majors and backgrounds but has the same interests in HCI. She states, “My vision for the council is to be a place for students to see the importance of human-computer interaction and how it is related to most majors that we know, not only to computer-related ones, and to see how our differences can serve our community.”

Tianzhi He


Council Member

Tianzhi He is a PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) also pursuing an MS in Computer Science. He is advised by Farrokh Jazizadeh, director of the Inform Lab. Tianzhi’s research interests include human-building interaction in the smart building environment, the development of ambient intelligence, proactive actions, and the nudging of voice-based virtual assistants (e.g., Alexa, Google Assistants). In joining the CHCI student council, he wants to communicate with students from different backgrounds with varied research interests in HCI. He also wants to serve the community and help foster a creative environment. Everyone is welcome to chat with him about anything at  Hack n Yak!

Anirudh More


Council Member

Anirudh More is a PhD student in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE). He is advised by Nathan Lau, director of the VACSE lab. His research interests include human-centered interface design, product design and developing metrics for performance evaluation. He is excited to interact with students from varying backgrounds and perspectives and hopes to contribute to a creative and inclusive environment. Stop and chat with him about anything and everything during Hack ’n Yak!