👋 I'm Tonya!
researcher, interaction designer, avocado enthusiast

I'm a senior at UC Berkeley, studying human-computer interaction and critical theory. I am advised by Professor Niloufar Salehi at the iSchool and Professor Björn Hartmann at BiD. This summer, I worked with Dr. Mark Whiting and Professor Michael Bernstein at Stanford HCI. Previously, I taught New Media 198: Beyond Design Thinking DeCal and served as head TA of Info 213: Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction Design at UC Berkeley.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how we might democratize virtual spaces, design more value sensitive computer mediated interactions, and develop technical systems that can improve social wellbeing. My favorite moments are spent exploring epistemic + existential motivations for being, acting with kindness, and moving my body.

see my resume (updated: jan 2020)
learn more about me

As an 👩‍💻undergraduate, I worked on projects focusing on creating systems to improve team viability within crowdworker teams, studying how user interface modality affects the propensity to disclose sensitive information, and building CSCW systems + tools to improve practice talks. I'm currently working with Richmond Wong and Professor Deirdre K. Mulligan, at the Berkeley iSchool, to develop insight into how design-based activities serve as useful tools for promoting discussions about ethics and emerging technologies.

Social Computing, Summer 2019
A full paper in submission at CSCW 2020
HCI & Systems Research, Winter 2019
A full paper in submission at CSCW 2020
Social Computing & ML, Summer 2019
A full paper in submission at CSCW 2020

I enjoy making things and imagining 🔮 new possibilities for how people can interact with the technology. While my strengths lean towards user research + experience and human-computer interaction methods, I'm keen on working with my hands. Most of my projects combine a technical element and a socially driven theme – among them include mental health, the consequences of algorithmic unfairness, and basic needs.

Transportation & Wearable Design, Critical Making 2019
Dérivé: Shoes Your Own Adventure →
Dérivé is a dynamic mode of discovery that lights the path to an adventure. By simply connecting users’ shoes to their Dérivé mobile app, Dérivé helps users engage in spontaneous journeys full of discovery, out of step from the typical mundanity of our daily lives. Dérivé suggests flexible paths that fit a user’s spatial, temporal, and preferential constraints while balancing their journey with a sense of delightful adventure. My role in this project included protoyping, wireframing, arduino programming, and mobile app product design.
Wearable, Critical Making 2019
Calm.io: Instant Groundification →
Calm.io is an interactive bracelet that mediates grounding practices for relaxation and bodily awareness, to ground users during stressful times. Designed to combat panic attacks for people with anxiety, Calm.io provides on-demand and discrete support. My role in this project included literature review, programming, industrial design, and prototyping.
Protest Design, Critical Making 2019
Hidden Systems: Black Box Ethics →
Heuristic Algorithm is an exploration of hidden mechanisms with the visual metaphor of the black box. Upon stepping within range of the mysterious box, a futuristic cacophony assaults the user. Thereafter, the box verbally prompts the user to stop the noise by inserting a quarter. When change has been inserted, the futuristic sound ends and is replaced with a statistic on exclusionary algorithms or other tech “black box” systems. The final sum of the inserted funds will be donated to Black Girls Code, an organization based in Oakland working to increase the representation of underrepresented communities in tech. My role in this project included concept generation, programming, and prototyping.
Basic Needs Center, UC Berkeley, 2018-2019
Basic Needs Resource Index →
The Basic Needs Center is a physical resource hub for basic needs resources and services. During Fall 2018, I had the opportunity to conduct user research and needfinding for the UC Berkeley community and re-design the Basic Needs Center website. This project led to the creation of the Basic Needs Resource Index. Working with students within Basic Needs helped me recognize the need for HCI and human-centered design methodologies in political advocacy and public service.