Jessica Lupanow

Engineer turned Designer

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About Me

I am a Computer Science graduate student in the Interaction Lab at the University of Southern California, working on infusing empathy into human-robot interactions. I also redesign websites for small businesses. I'm passionate about creating great user experiences and examining the relationship between users and technology. I rely on my background in engineering and current work in computer science just as much as I rely on my passion for art and project management. I am looking for internships and am also open to full-time positions in UX Design or Research as well as Product Design.


Freelance Web Designer

Sentry Mirror and AAA Petal Pushers

I am revitalizing outdated websites for two small businesses to address modern customer needs. For one company, I’ve conducted user research, creating personas based on my own ethnographic studies, and I’m continuing the design process in order to re-design their website using Sketch. After designing the new website, I’ll be conducting online usability studies to analyze my work. For the other company company, I designed and developed a new website with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. The website now features an improved visual design consistent with the company’s new directions and objectives, responsive display, improved typography and media presentation, and integration with external media, such as Google maps. I am currently putting finishing touches on the site and adding a PHP contact form. The next phase of the project will include the development of an e-commerce solution to address customers’ ordering needs.

You can see the outdated version of Sentry Mirror's website here and my redesign, which is still under development, here.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

University of Southern California

I am researching how we can incorporate empathy into human-robot interactions by learning about the developmental psychology of my end users, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and leading a team of undergraduate students to design a socially assistive robotic empathy tutoring system supported by robust computational models. I am supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP).

Summer Intern

Booz Allen Hamilton

I created image processing algorithms to be run on FPGAs onboard drones while learning about the consulting process. I gave lightning talks and full presentations on my work to project stakeholders and executives at the company before traveling to Washington D.C. to present my work alongside four other interns to executives from company locations across the nation.

Over-the-Phone Tutor, Grader, and Tour Guide

Harvey Mudd College

During my undergraduate years, I had various jobs on campus. I worked at Homework Hotline for 4 years as an over-the-phone tutor for children in grades 4-12. I served as a mentor tutor, which entailed conducting training exercises, supervising other tutors, taking difficult calls, addressing technical difficulties, and publicizing the hotline at local schools. This position gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership and communication skills while influencing program strategy. I also worked as a grader for the engineering department, grading homework and lab assignments weekly for Numerical Methods in Engineering and Digital Electronics and Computer Engineering. When I wasn't working at Homework Hotline or as a grader, I was showing prospective students and their families around campus as a tour guide for 2.5 years.

Technical Intern

Northrop Grumman and Northrop Grumman Remotec

At Northrop Grumman in Huntsville, AL, I worked alongside executive stakeholders to design a dashboard solution to support some of their complex, reoccurring performance reporting needs. I learned about wireframing through this opportunity, using PowerPoint and Excel to walk stakeholders through the functionality of the dashboard during presentations. At Northrop Grumman Remotec in Clinton, TN, I conducted verification and testing as part of research and development of hazardous operations robots.

Research Assistant

Lab for Autonomous and Intelligent Robotics at HMC

I worked in Dr. Christopher Clark’s Lab for Autonomous & Intelligent Robotics and was a Rose Hills Foundation fellow on the National Science Foundation-funded ICEX 2016 team. Using an OceanServer Iver 2 with VectorMap and Matlab, we collected video and sonar data of wrecks to be turned into 3D visualizations for archaeologists at the Univeristy of Malta. I developed image processing algorithms in MATLAB to autonomously detect wrecks in large sonar scans. This work led to two publications.


University of Southern California

August 2018 – Present

PhD in Computer Science

I am a 2nd year PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Computer Science department at the University of Southern California, studying human-robot interaction and socially assistive robotics under Dr. Maja Matarić in the Interaction Lab. I am currently exploring how we can build a socially assistive robotic empathy tutoring system to help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as part of the NSF Expeditions in Computing grant.

Harvey Mudd College

September 2014 – May 2018

B.S. in Engineering

I completed my B.S. in Engineering at Harvey Mudd College where I worked under Dr. Christopher Clark in the Lab for Autonomous and Intelligent Robotics, conducting research on autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and co-authoring two publications. I also researched student leadership styles with Dr. Donald Remer and published the results of that research. As part of my clinic capstone experience, I built and tested a new modular AUV for Techmation and automated a complex machine function for compact track loaders for Doosan Bobcat, for which I am listed as an inventor on two separate patent applications.

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