• Sydne Kasle: Ph.D. in Communication Education, first-year MA student in Educational Studies, DATL cohort. Sydne has experience in program planning and management. As a former Director of Debate, Sydne has experience creating, planning, facilitating, and hosting collegiate and high school debate invitationals. She has over 30 years of experience teaching in higher education. She has been a guest presenter at several Offices of Teaching and Learning around the country. Her area of expertise is Human Communication and Communication Pedagogy and has applied her knowledge to workforce readiness and development training as well as faculty development. Sydne is currently in the LXD Residency program at the Center for Academic Innovation and looking to expand her own knowledge in the area of UX. Sydne has completed Introduction to UX taught by Dr. Mark Newman on the Michigan Online platform. Her strengths include risk-taking, seeking out professional networks, and helping others to get more involved. She enjoys providing professional development opportunities for her fellow graduate students. As a graduate student at Florida State, Sydne created, planned, and facilitated a GSI pedagogy workshop for her classmates who were new to teaching. She also founded and directed a high school debate league and summer debate workshop at Florida State. Sydne is a risk-taker who has no problem reaching out to new contacts to ask for support.

  • Xuechen Liu: First-year MA student in Educational Studies, DATL cohort, BA in Secondary Education. Xuechen has experience teaching at the pre-school, high school, and college levels, and she also taught English in Japan. She has a lot of international educational experience. She has been a guest speaker at the Center for Language Teaching Advancement at Michigan State University. Xuechen is interested in Heritage Language Education and she wants to contribute to helping heritage language learners maintain their heritage identity, culture, and language. Xuechen currently is exploring how technology impacts heritage language education, especially on analyzing language apps for their influence on Heritage Language Education and how we can improve current apps or websites to meet students’ learning needs. She is a motivator and helps her classmates aspire to do great things.

  • In Son Zeng: Research Fellow in School of Information, the University of Michigan. In Son has 3+ years of experience in learning analytics, predictive modeling, User Experience, research management and design, and statistical analysis on a broad range of scopes. He gained a master’s in Applied Statistics and his area of expertise expands from data analytics, statistical modeling, and machine learning to technology-based pedagogy and learning practice. His research explores how user experience and machine-assisted technology can improve the quality and effectiveness of in-person and online learning. Prior to the UX@UM conference, he hosted 3 PyCon conference talks regarding data visualization, data storytelling, and probabilistic programming in 2021. He also had experience teaching data visualization and data manipulation courses hosted by the School of Information, the University of Michigan. He is currently launching a MOOC specialization of Applied Probabilistic Programming in Python, including a series of three courses: Bayesian Thinking, Bayesian Estimation and Bayesian Experimentation on Coursera.

  • Aya (Magdi) Isaac: An educator, founder, MA student in Educational Studies, DATL program at the University of Michigan, and BSc in Automotive Engineering at Ain Shams University, EG. She has been a trainer for over 7 years for parents, teachers, and NGOs in the fields of parenting, project/play-based learning, and curriculum design. in 2010, she co-founded Ihyaa Academy for youth development and innovation. In 2019, she founded Aoun Programs to support parents' challenges with their children and educators with tools and pedagogies to project/play-based curricula and STEM education. Her future plans are focused on developing research-based curricula for educators' development and connecting language learning with STEM practices.

  • Melissa McCurry: Currently a MA student in Educational Studies at the University of Michigan in the new Educational Equity, Justice, and Social Transformation (EEJST) cohort. BA in Psychology, History, and American Culture from the University of Michigan. She is also in the process of obtaining a Learning Experience Design (LXD) graduate certificate and is a Design Management Fellow for Teach-outs at the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI). Prior to entering the master’s program, she worked in special education and taught children with disabilities one-on-one. Melissa is passionate about educational technology and educational equity. Specifically, she is interested in exploring how to utilize emerging technologies (such as extended reality [XR]) to make the curriculum more accessible and engaging for students with disabilities. After completing her master’s, Melissa plans to pursue Ph.D. programs and contribute to educational research on these important issues.

Program Contributors

  • Lisa Bergum: School of Education, the University of Michigan. Email: bergum@umich.edu

  • Sophia Boettcher: School of Public Health, the University of Michigan. Email: sboettch@umich.edu