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
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
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.