Annette Hacker, manager,
Office: (515) 294-4777
Melinda Cerney, Human Computer Interaction, (515) 231-2184
Katherine Miles, Human Computer Interaction, (515) 294-5534
Brian Scrimager, Engineering Communications and Marketing,
Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917
Iowa State graduates first doctorate in human computer interaction
AMES, Iowa -- Melinda Cerney is the first Iowa State University student to graduate with a doctorate in human computer interaction. She'll receive her degree at ceremonies on Friday, May 6.
Iowa State is one of three American universities offering a doctorate in human computer interaction. The program trains students to understand how humans and computers interact in various environments.
"To have a degree in this brand new, emerging field and to be the first to come out of a new program is exciting," Cerney said. "It's been fun to help shape this program."
Cerney is a 1997 graduate of Brownell-Talbot High School in Omaha, Neb. She has a 2001 bachelor's degree in engineering science and a 2003 master's degree in mechanical engineering, both from Iowa State. Her studies focused on virtual reality and digital human modeling. She said the focus fit well with her interest in engineering and graphics.
The human computer interaction program appealed to her because, "I liked the interdisciplinary nature of the program and wanted an opportunity to work with psychologists, artists, designers, and engineers," she said.
Cerney was recognized this year with a Research Excellence Award for her accomplishments. In addition to demonstrating academic success, students must develop a well-written thesis or dissertation to win the award.
After graduation, Cerney is moving to Seattle to start a job in Microsoft's User Experience Group. The group is engineering the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn.
Part of her responsibilities will be working on the look and feel of Windows - everything from menu structure to color to how error messages are displayed. She'll also be working to evaluate how easy it is to use the new system.
Cerney said she is ready for the challenges of her career in human computer interaction.
"This is the technology that's exciting and innovative right now," she said. "It's designing more usable interfaces, smaller and portable technology and it's the next age of virtual reality.
"It's how we deliver information, how we perceive information, and how we manage that information. It's creating a model that you're able to interact with, and I really like that."
Melinda Cerney wanted her computer studies to include work with psychologists, artists, designers and engineers.
"This is the technology that's exciting and innovative right now."