Abbie Guest (left) and Jenny Ye
Abbie Guest and Jenny Ye, both recent graduates of the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, have been honored with the school’s Distinguished Senior Thesis award.
Guest, who earned her B.S. in informatics, was recognized for her thesis, “Designing for the Needs of Lactation Support Groups Before and During COVID-19,” which researched and designed technologies to help new mothers successfully breastfeed their babies. She designed and built a system that would enable new mothers to create custom breast flanges to make the process of pumping more comfortable and productive, and she created methods for providing remote support for nursing mothers.
Ye, an informatics graduate who minored in human-centered computing, produced, “Product Management: Bridging the Gap Between Academia and Industry.” The thesis included two distinct but complementary studies exploring how to best educate fledgling product manager based on the drivers of product management aptitude. The research culminated into a framework on what the product management role entails, which will serve to inform academic program development focused on the education of aspiring product managers.
“Abbie and Jenny are great examples of how undergraduates at the Luddy School can make a real-world impact,” said Norman Su, an associate professor of informatics and the director of undergraduate education at Luddy. “Abbie's thesis demonstrates an amazing amount of work and sophistication across all phases of human-computer interaction research for an important topic of Lactation support before and during COVID19 - from fieldwork, analysis, and design (3D fabrication). Jenny's thesis is an exemplar of informatics research that examines the interplay between theory and practice through both text analysis and interviews, taking a critical examination of the role of product managers in design.”
Guest and Ye both had to adjust their research due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Guest integrated the remote support aspect of her work since she could no longer meet with participants face-to-face. Ye, meanwhile, was unable to present her findings to a conference over the summer, and the economic downturn that followed in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown hindered her efforts as the spring wore on.
“It's an honor to earn this award,” Guest said. “This work came from a solid base of love for my lab, the lactation support groups, and the work we are all doing in women's health. (Assistant Professor) James Clawson has been the best mentor I could ask for, and working with Healthcare Journeys lab has been the most rewarding experience of my college career.”
Ye credited Senior Executive Assistant Dean of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Commercialization Travis Brown for motivating her.
“I really see this as a culmination of the various product management-related initiatives Travis and I have worked on over the years,” Ye said. “The insights from the thesis have allowed for a more comprehensive analysis into the product management role and its impact and effect on companies and their product priorities. Ultimately, earning the award is just the beginning of a lasting partnership between Travis and I as we continue to bring product management to Luddy and IU.”
Both graduates will receive a certificate of recognition and a $500 award.
"I'm constantly amazed by the quality research being conducted by undergraduates at the Luddy School," said Esfandiar Haghverdi, the executive associate dean for undergraduate education at Luddy. “These two bright women showcase the innovation and ability to adapt that are critical in technological fields, and they are richly deserving of their recognition.”