Skip to content

The Design Lab’s Srishti Palani Wins Google’s PhD Fellowship

The Design Lab’s Srishti Palani Wins Google’s PhD Fellowship

The Design Lab’s Srishti Palani Wins Google’s PhD Fellowship

In continuing excellence among UC San Diego Design Lab researchers, Srishti Palani, a PhD student and Department of Cognitive Science at the Design Lab, was named a 2021 Google PhD Fellow for her work in Human Computer Interaction focused on improving web search and intelligent guidance during creative work. The fellowship is open to researchers in computer science and related fields. Palani was one of 60 students throughout the world to be selected for a Google Fellowship–an award that supports outstanding and promising PhD candidates of all backgrounds who seek to influence the future of technology by providing funding, mentorship, collaboration and internship opportunities.

Palani’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach involving cognitive, computer, and learning sciences to better web search and intelligent scaffolding of complex creative information work. “We use web search almost every day to search things, and it affects how we learn and work and create and collaborate. I’m really passionate about researching this area and building novel computational techniques that integrate web search into people’s larger work context. Google, of course, has the most state-of-the-art web search technology that has existed in my lifetime, so I’ve always wanted to collaborate with the researchers, software engineers, and data scientists there to understand how we can get a better web search when people want to search for more complex information needs.”

Palani describes her work as “developing techniques to leverage the content created in software applications like notes, emails, and slide decks to implicitly guide and coordinate a user’s knowledge discovery process.” In other words, Palani seeks to help individuals in the creative process by using their existing work, even across different software platforms, to distill better search and creative guidance given the user’s informational needs. This vision is made apparent through her previous projects like the CoNotate system which intelligently guides search based on the searchers’ notes and past searches, and studies to help improve the search experience for people with dyslexia.

With her mentor, Dr. Russell, being a renowned computer scientist known for his work around effective web-search strategies, Palani envisions the strides she could make in her research. “Our current paradigm is to boost human intelligence and creativity by collaborating and building context-aware search systems that seamlessly integrate web search into searchers’ knowledge work to reduce cognitive overload and promote scientific discovery and unexpected creative connections.”

Alongside her passion and drive for her field, Palani was motivated to apply as a result of her experiences as a Teaching Assistant in Computer Science, Cognitive Science and Design classes. “As a TA, every year, I see students struggle with their programming, design or research tasks because they lack the vocabulary to search effectively,” she explains. “My role as a TA is not to know the right answer to help solve their problem, but just guide them through searching for help online. It’s usually as simple as knowing the right terms to search for.”     

Including her overarching goal of improving query suggestions, Palani also holds two other goals for her research: one that involves the HCI and Information Retrieval research communities as a whole, and the other involving women in STEM. Palani’s goals focus on using her studies to help guide other researchers to “make their systems and interfaces more contextually-sensitive and cognitively-intuitive.”

“I intend to make all my tools and study data open source and available to potential users and the research community,” she explains. “It is my hope that through this we can study the impact of these tools over long-time-periods with different communities, and that other researchers will use my software and study data to bootstrap the creation of new contextually-sensitive and cognitively-convivial computational techniques to interact with search.”

Outside of research and being a student, Palani works towards her goal of bridging the gender gap for women and other underrepresented communities in STEM. Palani has established conferences and speaker series for local schools and undergraduates as a board member of UC San Diego’s Graduate Women in Computing, organized events like HackHolyoke–a hackathon that, according to Palani, “brought together 200 plus hackers, 50 percent of whom were women, making us the first hackathon to achieve gender parity–and the Mount Holyoke College Girls in Tech Conference.

Although Palani is well versed in her field, she expresses her immense gratitude towards the people that helped her on her journey.

“The strong support system and role models in my academic career have encouraged and guided me to become who I am today,” she says. “I’m super grateful to my family, advisor, faculty and student mentors in the Design Lab for always encouraging and guiding me to challenge myself, try new things and try to be better. I could not have done it if my research advisor and mentor, Professor Steven Dow, had not believed in me and encouraged me to apply, along with the support of  Design Lab professors, such as Jim Hollan and Scott Klemmer, and industry research mentors who not only taught me how to research, but also imparted their passion for research to me.”

Through the opportunity to be part of the Google Fellowship, Palani proves that standing by what you value and consistently working towards that end opens the doors of possibilities and her work with the Design Lab serves as a beacon to future agents of change in technology, design and interdisciplinary studies.

In continuing excellence among UC San Diego Design Lab researchers, Srishti Palani, a PhD student and Department of Cognitive Science at the Design Lab, was named a 2021 Google PhD Fellow for her work in Human Computer Interaction focused on improving web search and intelligent guidance during creative work. The fellowship is open to researchers in computer science and related fields. Palani was one of 60 students throughout the world to be selected for a Google Fellowship–an award that supports outstanding and promising PhD candidates of all backgrounds who seek to influence the future of technology by providing funding, mentorship, collaboration and internship opportunities.

Palani’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach involving cognitive, computer, and learning sciences to better web search and intelligent scaffolding of complex creative information work. “We use web search almost every day to search things, and it affects how we learn and work and create and collaborate. I’m really passionate about researching this area and building novel computational techniques that integrate web search into people’s larger work context. Google, of course, has the most state-of-the-art web search technology that has existed in my lifetime, so I’ve always wanted to collaborate with the researchers, software engineers, and data scientists there to understand how we can get a better web search when people want to search for more complex information needs.”

Palani describes her work as “developing techniques to leverage the content created in software applications like notes, emails, and slide decks to implicitly guide and coordinate a user’s knowledge discovery process.” In other words, Palani seeks to help individuals in the creative process by using their existing work, even across different software platforms, to distill better search and creative guidance given the user’s informational needs. This vision is made apparent through her previous projects like the CoNotate system which intelligently guides search based on the searchers’ notes and past searches, and studies to help improve the search experience for people with dyslexia.

With her mentor, Dr. Russell, being a renowned computer scientist known for his work around effective web-search strategies, Palani envisions the strides she could make in her research. “Our current paradigm is to boost human intelligence and creativity by collaborating and building context-aware search systems that seamlessly integrate web search into searchers’ knowledge work to reduce cognitive overload and promote scientific discovery and unexpected creative connections.”

Alongside her passion and drive for her field, Palani was motivated to apply as a result of her experiences as a Teaching Assistant in Computer Science, Cognitive Science and Design classes. “As a TA, every year, I see students struggle with their programming, design or research tasks because they lack the vocabulary to search effectively,” she explains. “My role as a TA is not to know the right answer to help solve their problem, but just guide them through searching for help online. It’s usually as simple as knowing the right terms to search for.”     

Including her overarching goal of improving query suggestions, Palani also holds two other goals for her research: one that involves the HCI and Information Retrieval research communities as a whole, and the other involving women in STEM. Palani’s goals focus on using her studies to help guide other researchers to “make their systems and interfaces more contextually-sensitive and cognitively-intuitive.”

“I intend to make all my tools and study data open source and available to potential users and the research community,” she explains. “It is my hope that through this we can study the impact of these tools over long-time-periods with different communities, and that other researchers will use my software and study data to bootstrap the creation of new contextually-sensitive and cognitively-convivial computational techniques to interact with search.”

Outside of research and being a student, Palani works towards her goal of bridging the gender gap for women and other underrepresented communities in STEM. Palani has established conferences and speaker series for local schools and undergraduates as a board member of UC San Diego’s Graduate Women in Computing, organized events like HackHolyoke–a hackathon that, according to Palani, “brought together 200 plus hackers, 50 percent of whom were women, making us the first hackathon to achieve gender parity–and the Mount Holyoke College Girls in Tech Conference.

Although Palani is well versed in her field, she expresses her immense gratitude towards the people that helped her on her journey.

“The strong support system and role models in my academic career have encouraged and guided me to become who I am today,” she says. “I’m super grateful to my family, advisor, faculty and student mentors in the Design Lab for always encouraging and guiding me to challenge myself, try new things and try to be better. I could not have done it if my research advisor and mentor, Professor Steven Dow, had not believed in me and encouraged me to apply, along with the support of  Design Lab professors, such as Jim Hollan and Scott Klemmer, and industry research mentors who not only taught me how to research, but also imparted their passion for research to me.”

Through the opportunity to be part of the Google Fellowship, Palani proves that standing by what you value and consistently working towards that end opens the doors of possibilities and her work with the Design Lab serves as a beacon to future agents of change in technology, design and interdisciplinary studies.

In continuing excellence among UC San Diego Design Lab researchers, Srishti Palani, a PhD student and Department of Cognitive Science at the Design Lab, was named a 2021 Google PhD Fellow for her work in Human Computer Interaction focused on improving web search and intelligent guidance during creative work. The fellowship is open to researchers in computer science and related fields. Palani was one of 60 students throughout the world to be selected for a Google Fellowship–an award that supports outstanding and promising PhD candidates of all backgrounds who seek to influence the future of technology by providing funding, mentorship, collaboration and internship opportunities.

Palani’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach involving cognitive, computer, and learning sciences to better web search and intelligent scaffolding of complex creative information work. “We use web search almost every day to search things, and it affects how we learn and work and create and collaborate. I’m really passionate about researching this area and building novel computational techniques that integrate web search into people’s larger work context. Google, of course, has the most state-of-the-art web search technology that has existed in my lifetime, so I’ve always wanted to collaborate with the researchers, software engineers, and data scientists there to understand how we can get a better web search when people want to search for more complex information needs.”

Palani describes her work as “developing techniques to leverage the content created in software applications like notes, emails, and slide decks to implicitly guide and coordinate a user’s knowledge discovery process.” In other words, Palani seeks to help individuals in the creative process by using their existing work, even across different software platforms, to distill better search and creative guidance given the user’s informational needs. This vision is made apparent through her previous projects like the CoNotate system which intelligently guides search based on the searchers’ notes and past searches, and studies to help improve the search experience for people with dyslexia.

With her mentor, Dr. Russell, being a renowned computer scientist known for his work around effective web-search strategies, Palani envisions the strides she could make in her research. “Our current paradigm is to boost human intelligence and creativity by collaborating and building context-aware search systems that seamlessly integrate web search into searchers’ knowledge work to reduce cognitive overload and promote scientific discovery and unexpected creative connections.”

Alongside her passion and drive for her field, Palani was motivated to apply as a result of her experiences as a Teaching Assistant in Computer Science, Cognitive Science and Design classes. “As a TA, every year, I see students struggle with their programming, design or research tasks because they lack the vocabulary to search effectively,” she explains. “My role as a TA is not to know the right answer to help solve their problem, but just guide them through searching for help online. It’s usually as simple as knowing the right terms to search for.”     

Including her overarching goal of improving query suggestions, Palani also holds two other goals for her research: one that involves the HCI and Information Retrieval research communities as a whole, and the other involving women in STEM. Palani’s goals focus on using her studies to help guide other researchers to “make their systems and interfaces more contextually-sensitive and cognitively-intuitive.”

“I intend to make all my tools and study data open source and available to potential users and the research community,” she explains. “It is my hope that through this we can study the impact of these tools over long-time-periods with different communities, and that other researchers will use my software and study data to bootstrap the creation of new contextually-sensitive and cognitively-convivial computational techniques to interact with search.”

Outside of research and being a student, Palani works towards her goal of bridging the gender gap for women and other underrepresented communities in STEM. Palani has established conferences and speaker series for local schools and undergraduates as a board member of UC San Diego’s Graduate Women in Computing, organized events like HackHolyoke–a hackathon that, according to Palani, “brought together 200 plus hackers, 50 percent of whom were women, making us the first hackathon to achieve gender parity–and the Mount Holyoke College Girls in Tech Conference.

Although Palani is well versed in her field, she expresses her immense gratitude towards the people that helped her on her journey.

“The strong support system and role models in my academic career have encouraged and guided me to become who I am today,” she says. “I’m super grateful to my family, advisor, faculty and student mentors in the Design Lab for always encouraging and guiding me to challenge myself, try new things and try to be better. I could not have done it if my research advisor and mentor, Professor Steven Dow, had not believed in me and encouraged me to apply, along with the support of  Design Lab professors, such as Jim Hollan and Scott Klemmer, and industry research mentors who not only taught me how to research, but also imparted their passion for research to me.”

Through the opportunity to be part of the Google Fellowship, Palani proves that standing by what you value and consistently working towards that end opens the doors of possibilities and her work with the Design Lab serves as a beacon to future agents of change in technology, design and interdisciplinary studies.

Read Next

Design Lab Sheng-feng Qin

Spotlight on Sheng-feng Qin: His take on Design from China to the UK and US

Sheng-feng Qin is a professor at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle in the School…

San Diego Profs Tackle Dying Oceans

San Diego profs tackle dying oceans and idea cross-pollination at global exhibition

San Diego Union Tribune

Design Lab member and Visual Arts Professor Pinar Yoldas joins the 2021 Venice Biennale to promote discussion of dying oceans and idea cross-pollination through a global exhibition.

This summer, 112 artists and architectural teams from around the world were invited to the annual Venice Biennale in Italy to create artworks that answer the forward-thinking question: “How will we live together?” Two of the invitees to this prestigious exhibition are from San Diego.

Pinar Yoldas, a multidisciplinary art professor at UC San Diego, took an imaginative look at what the world’s endangered oceans might look like in 30 years, while Daniel López-Pérez, a founding faculty member for the architecture program at the University of San Diego, studied the global dialogue of ideas inside a spherical structure inspired by R. Buckminster Fuller’s geoscope design.
San Diego And Tijuana Selected As 2024 World Design Capital

San Diego And Tijuana Selected As 2024 World Design Capital

US-Mexico Border Cities Win Historic Designation to Become First Binational Design Capital

SAN DIEGO-TIJUANA - Today the World Design Organization (WDO) announced the San Diego-Tijuana region has been selected as the World Design Capital (WDC) for 2024.

The selection of the San Diego-Tijuana joint bid makes it the first binational World Design Capital in WDO history. While the designation is for both cities as a united region, San Diego is now the first U.S. city ever to receive the WDC designation. Tijuana is the second city in Mexico to hold the title, following Mexico City in 2018.

"We did it!" said Don Norman, founder of UC San Diego’s Design Lab (now retired) and co-founder and Board advisor to the Design Forward Alliance (DFA). "Designers, city officials, and organizations in both the Tijuana and San Diego regions collaborated to make our binational community the World Design Capital for 2024. It shows the power of design as a way of thinking, to address important societal issues, and as a source of innovation for companies, organizations, and educational communities at all levels. We have built a permanent coalition of our communities to address civic and climate challenges, to grow our industrial sectors, and to support a strong culture of cross-border design."
Diabetes Design

Diabetes Design Initiative Presents Community Challenge Designs To Over 50 Stakeholders

Photo Courtesy of Matt Chesin

This Wednesday, September 2nd, the Diabetes Design Initiative presented the culmination of an entire summer of work to over 50 stakeholders in the healthcare industry. The team shared a prototype that will redefine the way how diabetes is explained without numbers and a new design to simplify data sharing.

Led by Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, director of the Center for Health Design, Design Lab fellow Lars Müller, and Ben West, a nightscout developer, DDI is re-thinking how healthcare technology is designed.
Productivity

Bringing Order to Chaos: How to Increase Productivity By Mastering Unstructured Time

Podcast with Design Lab member Amy Fox

In this episode we will talk to UCSD Cognitive Scientist, Amy Fox, about Structured and Unstructured time. Join us as we learn about the difference between the two, and tips and tricks that can help you organize and boost your productivity.

Triton Tools & Tidbits is a podcast that is focused on discussing topics that will engage and enrich student life and education. Brought to you by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
Back To Top