Samantha Lang is interested in human factors engineering—making sure that products and digital services work optimally for their target market. Imagine an ATM—they are simple and user-friendly so that nearly anyone can use them—which is ideal considering the product’s mass appeal.
Samantha graduated with a UM-Flint bachelor’s in psychology in 2015, but she knew additional expertise was needed to work in such a specialized field. Luckily, the M.S. in Computer Science & Information Systems at UM-Flint was there to help Samantha meet her goals. The program offered her the flexibility to take courses online, and a fast-track gave her the foundational knowledge to succeed despite not having a computer science background.
Now in her final semester, Samantha’s expertise has grown to the point where she is presenting research at international conferences. Along with professor Mike Farmer, Samantha attended the Intellisys Intelligent Systems Conference from Sept. 3-4, 2019, in London, England.
Their research paper is titled, “Can Human Evidence Accumulation be
Modeled using the Set-Theoretic Nature of Dempster-Shafer Theory?” It sounds complicated, but Samantha explains it as a game of Clue. Each subject was given a set of information about a fictional crime, and then Samantha observed how the subjects categorized and subcategorized the data to solve the case.
“The more we know about how people’s patterns in decision making, the better we’ll be able to design artificial intelligences,” Samantha says. “The goal is to create products that can address a variety of situations before they happen.”
Samantha began working on this research with Dr. Farmer in September 2016. As a graduate student research assistant (GSRA), Samantha earned a stipend for her contributions; as she puts it, “I was getting paid for something I already wanted to do anyway!”
Samantha’s dream job is designing training modules with NASA, and she looks forward to finding a full-time position once she earns her master’s in December. Samantha believes the expertise and experiences she gained through the M.S. in Computer Science will make her stand out in the search process.
“I think it has definitely put me outside of the box. Having research published, going and presenting it, I think it makes me stand out against people who have not had experiences like these,” Samantha says.
The M.S. in Computer Science & Information Systems offers both in-person and online coursework, as well as a fast-track program for students who do not have a computer science background. For more information, contact program manager Susie Churchill at firstname.lastname@example.org. The application is also available online.