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Who am I ?

I’m currently a student at Washington State University finishing a Masters Degree in Computer Science, working in the Robotics Lab with Dr. Matt Taylor. I have completed a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the same university. I specialize in behavioral psychology, quantitative psychology, and human computer interaction. During my PhD, I worked with an IGERT team on assistive smart technology helping them to quantify the needs of their residents and the caregivers involved. It was such an exciting job! I love working between the two departments. It helps that I’m quite the technology nerd.


The story I like to tell is that when I was young and just out of high school I had to make a decision on what I wanted to major in. I really enjoyed writing code in Java, which I had learned in high school, but I decided that I didn’t want to be stuck on a computer in a cubicle the rest of my life. And I really enjoyed my classes in psychology because I enjoyed studying people and learning about our patterns, but I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. So I had to decide between psychology and computer science, and I chose psychology. Now, they let me do both! It’s the best of both things that I love. I couldn’t imagine a better career for me.


Currently I’m looking for jobs in user experience research. I work mostly with interface design, information architecture, human subjects testing, and statistical analysis. I would love to continue working with smart homes, tablets, wearable, or mobile devices, however I am well versed in other human factors/human computer interaction areas as well. I would like to get out of health services if it’s possible, but I also know that my knowledge base is currently in elder design and caregiver needs and that this could be helpful in many health applications. On the other hand, the gamer girl in me would love to be in game applications, but I don’t work on games currently, I just play a lot of them.


Please enjoy the rest of my website and the projects that I’ve been working on. I’m going to try to start a blog I’ve been thinking about for some time where I discus the HCI or human factors for products. I hope that this site can give you an idea of who I am and what I love to do.


Please see my resume for more information!

Internships

Managing Projects

InfoSec Unlocked

InfoSec Unlocked was started by myself and Tarah Wheeler after attending a DEFCON where very few diverse voices were speakers. I am currently Executive Director of the non-profit and manage 6-8 volunteers for quarterly events and a yearly DEFCON party. Read more...


Post Doc for Solar Decathlon

The WSU Solar Decathlon project has a smart home component. While, Matthew Taylor is the PI on the smart home project, I have been the post doc, making critical decisions about hardware, coding languages, interfaces, etc and managing two undergrads and two grad students. Read more...


Totally Serious Games

Totally Serious Games was started by myself and two of my female friends from the computer science department at Washington State University. I manage the projects for new games, making sure that we have weekly meetings and that everyone has a part of the code to work on. Read more...


Research

CASAS Smart Home Data Visualization

The CASAS smart home creates assistive technology to help older adults, especially those with mild cognitive impairment, to stay in their homes for longer. The CASAS group needed assistance creating a user interface that could meet the needs of caregivers. I created a structured interview to talk with caregivers and create the best tool possible.


Graph Visualizations - Dissertation

The user interface for the CASAS smart home also requires the display of data over large periods of time. This study assessed how to best display sleep data over three months for fast and accurate retreival of data.


Solar Decathlon Smart Home Project

Moving from an assistive smart home to a solar powered one. This project monitors energy from the solar cells, the battery, and at the outlets. It then takes into account behavioral patterns of the user using activity tracking and various environmental factors for better comfort and efficiency. <\a>


Reinforcement Learning on Smart Home Notification Systems

The Solar Smart Home will create a large number of notifications. Users attention and working memory may be burdened by such a large amount of notifications. This study will attempt to create a notification system that will modify itself through reinforcement learning algorithms to learn the needs of each individual user and adapt itself over time as their needs change.


Leah Zulas, PhD