UX student Tim Salau to intern with Google

Ferguson, John  |  May 04, 2017

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an image of tim salau, ux google intern and school of information student
Tim Salau
Lynn Westbrook

A Texas iSchool student is heading to Google world headquarters this summer.

Tim Salau was chosen for the User Experience Design Internship at Google’s offices in Mountain View, Calif., where he will conduct user-experience research with the company’s Google search team.

“I'm embarking on a childhood dream that I didn't expect to happen so soon,” said Tim, who is in his first year of the School of Information Master’s of Science in Information Science program.

Tim said he became interested in UX design while completing his undergraduate studies in psychology.

“The responsibilities and creative power that UX designers have are compelling and high-impact. That’s why I’m a UX designer,” he said. “My position demands that I make sound and thoughtful decisions when devising or optimizing new and existing experiences. Right now, my focus traverses two parallels, the physical and digital, and soon a merging of both. I believe the product is the medium, but the people are the reason.”

The ambiguous relationship between products and people makes designing for people a challenging endeavor where people don't consistently express their possible needs and wants from a product, he added.

“Delayering what those desires are is difficult, but also the most significant aspect of my profession,” Tim said. “I am excited to own that challenge at Google this upcoming summer.”

Associate Professor Lynn Westbrook congratulated Tim for receiving the summer internship.

"Tim’s rich understanding of the socio-cultural framework within which information technology develops gives him a nuanced perspective on information technology growth," Dr. Westbrook said. "His integrated social and technological approaches will enrich his Google internship."

When Tim returns to the iSchool this fall, he said one of his top priorities is to decide on a Capstone project that addresses a social need and can be implemented immediately. He also wants to serve as a mentor for other people.

“Mentorship has drastically fast-tracked my learning curve and growth rate,” Tim said. “I want to pay the experience forward for people who are not receiving the same proper leadership or influence. Good mentorship is currently affecting how I approach my personal life and professional career. For example, the advice and shared resources of the iSchool's Career Development team were crucial to the success of my internship search, and we have a faculty of professors who never hesitate on sharing their wisdom. I take advantage of all the resources and great minds that we have at the iSchool, and I want to be a reliable and similar resource for others." 

You can find more of Tim's thoughts on design and mentorship on his Twitter and LinkedIn.

Jacek Gwizdka Receives Google Research Award

Jones, Philip  |  Sep 12, 2014

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Jacek Gwizdka, Assistant Professor in the School of Information and co-Director of the Information eXperience Lab at University of Texas at Austin, and Dania Bilal, a Professor in the iSchool of Information Sciences at University of Tennessee, and have received a $41,363 Google Research Award for a project titled "Child-friendly search engine results pages (SERPs): Towards better understanding of Google search results readability by children." In this project, Drs. Bilal and Gwizdka will investigate how children read and assess the reading levels of Google's search results pages (SERPs). One of the goals of this project is to modify Google's Reading Level metric.

In making the Award, Google Research Team indicated, "we receive many strong proposals every round and conduct a very thorough review of all the submissions, involving several teams of Google engineers and researchers." According to Google web page, "The Google Research Awards are structured as unrestricted gifts to universities to support the work of world-class full-time faculty members at top universities around the world." Researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Oxford, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT are among the others to receive awards from Google in the human-computer interaction category, the focused area of Drs. Bilal's and Gwizdka's project.

Dr. Bilal is one of most often-cited researchers worldwide on children's cognitive and affective information behavior in using and interacting with information retrieval systems in multicultural contexts. Her research is situated at the intersection of information retrieval, information behavior, and human-computer interaction. She teaches courses in information access and retrieval, human-computer interaction, Web mining, information systems design and implementation, and research methods.

Dr. Jacek Gwizdka research is situated at the intersection of interactive-information retrieval (IIR) and human-computer interaction (HCI), where he is focusing on cognitive aspects of human-information interaction and on using eye-tracking to assess cognitive states of users. Dr. Gwizdka teaches in the area of human-computer interaction and user experience design.

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