Graduate Students

Hongxuan Chen
Hongxuan joined as a new PhD student in fall 2021, and he is now exploring his interests in the field of CS Education. Hongxuan is interested in both computer science and learning science, and he is looking forward to learning more about how students study CS and understand difficult material. Advisor: Geoffrey Herman
Mehmet Arif Demirtas
Arif joined in Fall 2023 as a PhD student. He is interested in exploring which skills learners from diverse backgrounds develop in programming education and how methods from human-computer interaction and machine learning could be utilized to address obstacles learners face while acquiring these skills to tackle inequalities in computing education. Advisor: Katie Cunningham
Morgan Fong
Morgan Fong
Morgan is broadly interested in how people learn computer science with a focus on creating inclusive learning environments. Current projects explore why spatial ability is a barrier to success in CS, how to create equitable collaborative group work, and how CS teachers can develop a variety of computing identities in classrooms. Advisor: Geoffrey Herman
Max Fowler
Photo of Max Fowler
Max is broadly interested in students’ knowledge of programming patterns and the hierarchy of skills novices need to learn to code. Current work includes investigating code description auto-grading with machine learning and investigating the change of question surface features on question difficulty and student performance. Advisor: Craig Zilles
Mohammed Hassan
Photo of Mohammed Hassan
Mohammed is interested in how educational tools and assessment tools affect students solving programming problems throughout the skill hierarchy. Current work includes understanding how students solve problems differently on paper vs computer assessments, and identifying difficulty factors in understanding code besides constructs and the hierarchy. Advisor: Craig Zilles
Shan Huang Shan is broadly interested in how educational tools could help improve student learning. Current work includes improving students’ learning in cybersecurity with educational games and accessing students’ knowledge of cybersecurity concepts. Shan is also involved in various educational data mining projects. Advisor: Geoffrey Herman
Kathleen Isenegger 
Kathleen is interested in broadening participation in computing. Currently, she is engaged in work studying students’ sense of belonging in CS and social-psychological interventions to change students’ beliefs about the potential to do social good and collaborate with others in a computing career. Advisor: Colleen Lewis
Vidushi Ojha
Vidushi is interesting in improving diversity, equity, and access in computing, as well as understanding how student success and well-being is affected by their environment. Her current work includes interviewing PhD students from groups underrepresented in computing to better understand the factors that contribute to their degree completion. Advisor: Colleen Lewis
Christopher Perdriau
Christopher is interested in identifying, learning, and understanding the systemic barriers and stereotypes that are systematically preventing groups of people with diverse genders, races, cultures, and background from participating in computer science (CS). Advisor: Colleen Lewis
Sophia Yang
Sophia is interested in Computing Education, Database Systems, Bioinformatics algorithms, Human Computer Interaction, and interesting intersections of the above. Current research work focuses on quantitatively and qualitatively studying how students learn SQL by utilizing Bioinformatics alignment algorithms. Her work aims to better improve students’ learning and instructors’ teaching experiences in large-scale database courses. Advisor: Abdu Alawini & Geoffrey Herman
Seth Poulsen
Seth is interested in Computing Education, Programming Language design and implementation, Math Education, and any interesting intersections of the above. Seth’s current research focuses on improving the teaching and learning of mathematical proofs, specifically using the Proof Blocks tool which he created. Seth have also been involved in various educational data mining projects. Advisor: Geoffrey Herman