Yarosh Receives McKnight Land-Grant Professorship

Lana Yarosh_2015
February 1, 2017

Assistant Professor Lana Yarosh has been selected as a recipient of the University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professorship. The award is designed to advance the careers of new assistant professors at a crucial point in their professional lives who have the potential to make significant contributions to their departments and scholarly fields.

The two-year appointment includes a research grant of $50,000, which will aid Professor Yarosh in her ongoing research into Human-Computer Interaction, an inherently interdisciplinary area of Computer Science.  With a formal background in Computer Science, Psychology, and Industrial Design, she has been able to drive research in the areas of supporting family communication and social connectedness in support communities.

Working with family studies researchers and developmental psychologists on innovative technologies, Professor Yarosh has helped spur technological advances in the realm of family communication with the development of the ShareTable. The award-winning communication system combines videochat with a shared projector-camera surface to allow a child and adult to share their tabletop remotely and interact using physical object around the house, such as playing board games, drawing, playing with toys, or reading books. 

sprout_at_school.jpgProfessor Yarosh has brought her human-computer interaction innovations to the world of recovery, as well. Working closely with local groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, she is currently developing the Power Token system, which is a wearable bracelet that displays one’s current social connectedness with the recovery community.  Each token connects to an individual’s phone and lets him or her specify a number of activities that “recharge” recovery, such as spending time in a recovery location, calling their sponsor, or attending a video meeting. The LED light becomes brighter as the person’s phone senses him or her engaging in recovery activities, but dims over time if they do not engage with their network. The research significance of this work is in helping us understand how dedicated embodied systems such as the Power Tokens may enhance traditional interventions.

Professor Yarosh will be recognized and given a certificate in March and she will hold the designation of “McKnight Land-Grant Professor” for a two-year period. Please join CS&E in sending our congratulations to Professor Lana Yarosh on this remarkable achievement.

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