I’m looking for undergraduate, Masters, and PhD students who are interested in research in cognitive and social issues in software engineering. Specifically, I’m interested in research that deals with productivity (and things that get in the way like meetings and interruptions), cognition (how does the brain think about code), tools for crowd ecosystems, and issues related to building and interacting with bots.
My students have won prestigious fellowships (e.g., Microsoft Research Fellowship and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship), published top-tier papers, and obtained internships and full-time jobs at top companies (e.g., Microsoft Research, Facebook, Uber, RStudio, Pinterest, VMWare, LexisNexis).
I’m interested in working with the best students who want to learn and develop skills for an incredible and impactful career. Still, there is a limit to how many students a professor can work with and still provide effective mentorship. Each semester, I easy receive several dozens of requests from prospective students who are interested in research, but end up only able to work with a few.
Here are some traits of successful students I’ve worked with in the past.
Initiative. The only way things happen in your life is when you make them happen. Do not wait for others to tell you what to do. One great student that I worked with always had specific next steps ready any time we communicated. That means he didn’t have to wait for me to tell him what to do, he already had an idea ready go.
Story. Most of my research involves radical ideas. Many of my students have special hobbies or unique life experiences that gives them a special perspective into problems. What story do you have to tell?
Goal. Do you have a life goal? What is it you really want to do? I left the software industry because I saw the same bad things happening to good people and nothing was being done to help them. Having a life goal gives you focus and drive to work on things that matter. Does the research you want to do connect with that life goal?
Feedback. The best students not only listen to feedback and improve themselves, but also know how to give good feedback to me and others. They communicate when they are confused or have a better idea. They want to help others and help them succeed.
Persevere. Risk and failure are part of research. Can you get unstuck? Can you deal with defeat? Can you standup to critics. Can you comeback up, only to push back twice as hard?
Read more about what it takes to succeed in research as a PhD student.