Josh Nelson
Aug 29, 2019 · 3 min read

Hey Megan,

Gotcha gotcha, okay that is more specific. Excellent.

I’d recommend taking a look here: https://www.hcde.washington.edu/research/labs

Spend some time exploring the various labs and centers, and if something lines up with your interests the next thing to do is to research the Lab and the Professor. Typically they’ll have published materials or videos online that you can review to get a better idea of what they are doing.

You can also review a pretty exhaustive list here: https://www.hcde.washington.edu/research/areas

There’s a section on Low Resource and Underserved Populations with a whole host of individuals. I’d recommend spending time to familiarize yourself with their work and if time allows you can always try reaching out over LinkedIn or through email. I cannot guarantee that they will respond (and more then likely they won't — not because of you but because they receive way too many reachouts) but if you can talk to them directly that will give you a better idea.

You can also see a pretty extensive list here: https://www.hcde.washington.edu/news/2019-hcde-research-showcase-and-unconference which may hold more up-to-date summaries of recent work.

For actual facilities, you can explore here: https://www.hcde.washington.edu/myhcde/faculty/sponsored-proj/facilities

However, it’s important to note that this list nowhere near exhaustive, often labs or centers will have access to professional studios from companies in the area that are partnered with them on projects. Or you can always approach them on your own to seek access. That said, UW has a pretty over the top makerspace program which you can learn more about here: https://comotion.uw.edu/what-we-do/makerspace/ Through the school you have complete access to their facilities and equipment.

Additionally, if you’re a business-minded individual you can capitalize on case study competitions that are found through the Fosters School of business: https://foster.uw.edu/centers/buerk-ctr-entrepreneurship/jones-foster-accelerator-program/ This can be a great way to connect with people outside the program who have similar interests

After that, it’s important to ask yourself when you’ll find time to chase your particular goal and objective. The program is two years, but if you plan to work full-time or even part-time your ability to go above and beyond the call of the regular class schedule can be challenging at best. Typically these various labs and centers are staffed with PHD students that will host throughout a year Directed Research Groups (DRGS). You can see the current list of them here: https://www.hcde.washington.edu/research/directed With some sleuthing you can probably dig up or gain access to a comprehensive list of all past DRG’s which may have been hosted by a particular lab, center or professor.

That said, if you have a passion for something that you really want to move in the direction of you can weave it throughout you coursework in class to construct an overarching narrative for your academic experience. This will, of course, culminate in the Capstone project. So I’d recommend that you spend some time exploring some past projects: https://www.hcde.washington.edu/cap/past-capstone-projects to get an idea for what people do and who may sponsor them if you’re looking for a corporate sponsor. You can, of course, pitch your own capstone project should you so desire.

One last thing to consider is that the program offers you the ability to take a couple of courses outside of the department, so if there’s a way for you to sneak into a course that provides value to your overall goal and objective and subject matter than you can, of course, make the case for it. Additionally, you can propose your own research project in the shape of a class, but doing so is only really advised if you’ve got an absolute mountain of time of your hands.

Hope that helps! Feel free to reach out if you’ve got any additional questions.

    Josh Nelson

    Written by

    Product Designer @ Facebook || Founder of the Project Cobalt.