HCI Student Group pairs with middle-school girls to support them as they transition through high-school and into college.

The HCI student group participated in the YWCA Girls Power Mentoring program last week. This program pairs middle-school girls with successful Iowa State University women. The purpose of the program is to support young women in their transition as they continue on through high-school and college. Girls and mentors meet every month for academic and social activities.

On January 23, 20 girls and their mentors joined the HCI student group at Ames Public Library for a session where they explored human-centered design through an interactive workshop. In this case, girls had to interview their mentors to find out what challenges they experienced every day. They found out some ISU students found it difficult to get up early in the mornings or get to class on time. To inspire the development of a solution, we used cards showing different household objects. They were all assigned two random objects and they had to merge them to create their solution.

The girls developed a wide variety of prototypes using cardboard, paper, and different construction materials. From microwaveable heating pads for the cold walks around campus to an alarm clock that requires users to solve a puzzle to be turned off, the girls came up with wonderful ideas to support the college students. At the end of the session, students showcased their solutions and they discussed the importance of having participation from different underrepresented communities in the design process to better support the needs of all communities.