Scholar of the Week

Karen Fernandez      
University of Michigan

Karen Fernandez just completed her first year as a masters student pursuing Information Science specializing in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Michigan. She is a Class of 2015 HENAAC Scholar receiving a $2,000 scholarship sponsored by EMC2 Corporation.

Karen has a deep fascination of the cognitive and perceptual psychological principles involved in designing an enjoyable user experience. Her experience as a software developer, in the undergraduate computer science program at Florida International University, helped her become aware of the important role the user plays in both software design and production.

Karen can best be described as inquisitive, bright, focused, energetic, and imaginative and a very driven student. These skills and assets manifest themselves in Karen’s ability to vigorously attack any problems and challenges that she might encounter. Early in her academics, Karen was accepted into the Ronald E. McNair program. As part of the program, she conducted summer research at the Affective Social Computing Lab at FIU. There she implemented changes in the On-Demand Virtual Health counselor’s website interface in order to make it more engaging and appealing for prospective patients, based on Nielsen’s heuristics for usability.

Thereafter, her interests propelled her to spend a year as a Course Developer for FIU Online. She worked closely with Instructional designers and faculty to produce and maintain online courseware for internet deployment, and provided customer service and help desk support to faculty.

Before moving to her graduate degree program, Karen was a Java Developer and Software Engineer for Royal Caribbean Cruises where she contributed to the development of web services for the Celebrity Cruises Re-Platform project, managed the project's continuous integration using Jenkins, and performed functional tests of web services using SoapUI, and contributed to the creation of a clean, easy to use, and interactive interface for the ESL web services using the Swagger API open source framework.

Karen’s interests are E-learning technologies, Human-Robot Interaction, and wearable technologies. She is intellectually curious and creative, and possesses an incredible array of analytic and reasoning skills. Not only does she lead by example but she is a good listener, an encouraging mentor, tutor and counselor. Karen is continuing along her successful journey as a Latina STEM Role Model.

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