Shima Houshyar (they/them) is a PhD-trained researcher with a background in anthropology and a founding member and Project Lead for the UXR Lab. Shima particularly enjoys developing research strategy and operations, and takes a methodical approach to defining user problem spaces. At the UXR Lab, Shima combines the observational and analytical skills of an ethnographer with a keen sense of empathy, storytelling, and cross-cultural understanding to derive meaningful insights and design solutions through qualitative research and data analysis.
Christina Y. Cantave (she/her) is an applied quantitative researcher and is a founding member of the UXR Lab. Christina has a background in criminology and developmental psychology. She is particularly skilled in deconstructing complex human behaviors into actionable research questions that can be effectively communicated, implemented and that result in viable and innovative design solutions. As a researcher, she is particularly interested in using a human-centered approach to bring forth the needs, motivations, and challenges of users from underserved populations in order to help stakeholders create more inclusive and equitable products.
Michael LeVan, PhD has over 20 years of experience researching and publishing on human communication phenomena, designing group-oriented active-learning experiences, managing international projects, and mentoring. He holds degrees in Communication Studies & Performance Studies, Economics, and Philosophy. Michael enjoys working across a wide range of qualitative, interpretive, critical, ethnographic, phenomenological, action research, and aesthetic methods. He approaches each research project as a new encounter with difference, bringing a stance of openness to uncertainty, ambiguity, and surprise. In UX contexts, he is particularly curious about drawing insights from how people define problems and develop their own methods of creative problem solving. He is a founding member of the UXR Lab and also enjoys doing heuristic evaluations, interviewing, journey mapping, diary studies, and card sorts.
Betsy Dalton, PhD (she/her) is an applied qualitative and quantitative researcher with expertise in human communication behavior. Her work focuses on how communication reflects and creates meaning in health contexts, such as nurse-patient interactions, pregnancy and maternity care experiences, and sexual communication. As a data storyteller and founding member of The UXR Lab, her favorite methods are those that bring her into the worlds of individual users and participants, including in-depth interviews, ethnography, focus groups, and usability testing. She is particularly interested in improving usability and safety across the lifespan, especially for the oldest and youngest users of technology products.
Amie McKibban (she/her) is a PhD-trained behavioral scientist and founding member of the UXR lab. A researcher who strives to create evidence and strengths-based insights for businesses and communities, she particularly enjoys sharing the stories behind the data. Her experience as a community psychologist has allowed her to enter spaces to better define pain points and collaboratively develop solutions. Recognized for an empathetic and measured approach, Amie aims to scope and scale mixed methods research lending a voice to diverse communities and leveraging data to increase organizational capacity, tangible outcomes, and equitable processes.
Candice Wiswell, MA (she/her) is a PhD Candidate in psychology and a founding member of the UXR Lab. She has an MA in Psychological Research with 9+ years of experience conducting research in human behavior and cognition. Candice believes data tell a story and is passionate about collaborating on evidence-based solutions with cross-functional stakeholders to help drive innovation, improve user accessibility, develop equitable designs, and create meaningful user experiences.
Catherine McLean is a PhD candidate in anthropology and a founding member of the UXR Lab. She has an MSc in human evolution and behavior with 6+ years of experience leading, conducting, and collaborating on mixed methods research projects, both domestically and abroad. As a UX researcher, Catherine aims to cultivate an environment of innovation, inclusivity, and understanding. She is passionate about improving the daily lives of communities by generating insights into their genuine needs and behaviors to produce impactful design solutions.
Lorraine Cuddeback-Gedeon, PhD is a qualitative researcher with a background in universal design, accessibility, and participatory action research. She has a PhD in religious studies, specializing in examining ethical decision making through ethnographic methods such as interviews, field observations, focus groups, and qualitative survey design. She has over a decade of research experience, including freelance consulting work on social impact projects in education and mental health. Her background allows for a deep empathy with users that draws forward the values and concerns informing their behavior, action, and decision-making. She works with stakeholders to advance organizational mission by identifying the real human stories in data. She is passionate about UXR's capacities to use data in ways that increase accessibility and support positive social change.
Brittany Brashear (she/they) is a psychology PhD candidate with a background in counseling psychology and is a founding member of the UXR lab. Brittany’s qualitative research background spans over 10 years and is influenced by participatory action research, allowing participants to play an active role in the research and help cultivate a rich understanding of their lived experiences. She is a former psychology instructor and ADHD coach, having worked closely with learners to identify pain points experienced by neurodivergent users of educational technology. Brittany is dedicated to helping create inclusive user experiences by fostering an environment where users feel heard and understood.
Marja Germans Gard, Ph.D. (she/her) is a clinical scientist, quantitative researcher, and founding member and project lead at The UXR Lab. Marja’s program of research drew from basic science in cognition and emotion to shed light on complex clinical phenomena in severe mental illness. This process of parsing challenging problems allowed Marja to develop her ability to synthesize diverse data sources to produce unique insights, a skill she now applies in her UX research. In addition to her research acumen and training in clinical psychology, Marja brings 10+ years of experience as a business owner and entrepreneur to bear on her current position as a design researcher and strategist. At the core of Marja’s ethos are the values of collaboration and co-creation; her foremost commitment is to facilitate ethical and inclusive designs in partnership with the communities for which they are intended
Amy Orange (she/her) was an associate professor before turning her skills to UX research. Her Ph.D. is in Educational Research, Statistics, and Evaluation with an emphasis in qualitative research methods. As a researcher, she works closely with participants to ensure she is accurately representing their views and telling their stories in respectful and impactful ways. Her past work has focused on student and educator experiences in both K-12 and higher education. As a founding member of the UXR Lab, she is dedicated to bringing users’ voices to the forefront to help businesses create products that meet their needs.
Alison Holbrook, PhD is an applied mixed methods researcher and a founding member of the UXR Lab. She has over 10 years of experience leading, planning, and conducting multi-site research projects that utilize behavioral observations, surveys, and in-depth interviews. Her previous research focused on supporting diverse learners of all ages, understanding employee experiences, and improving digital health platforms. As part of the UXR Lab, Alison is committed to human-centered research and design as a means to actionably improve how companies develop and deliver inclusive products
Pavithra Arvind, PhD (she/her) is an experienced qualitative researcher with a background in education research and is a founding member of The UXR Lab. She is passionate about Education and is particularly interested in enhancing learning experiences through technology for learners of all ages. Her past work has focused on student learning experiences, creativity, arts & music in learning and project-based expeditionary learning. Her diverse educational background in Lifesciences, Applied Psychology, Education Research, Teaching, Music and Sound Engineering has enriched her understanding and approach towards learning and human behavior. At the UXR Lab, Pavithra is dedicated to uncovering meaningful insights though user research while helping to create a training environment for aspiring UX Researchers.