Since March 2016, I have been an ICRU Undergraduate Fellow in the Human Computer Interaction lab of Prof. Juan Pablo Hourcade. Our team is primarily focused on how best to design applications for preschool age children, with the goal of encouraging the development of self-regulatory behavior. We call our body of work StoryCarnival. This suite of applications is designed around the 3Cs - creating, connecting, and communicating - and is based Lev Vygotsky’s ideas on the social nature of learning as well as Tools of the Mind curriculum.

During the project, I have:

  • Observed user sessions, where preschool students interacted with our applications
  • Shaped the direction of the project, by providing constructive feedback based on those sessions
  • Inhereted, maintained, and enhanced the code base, written primarily in Java, HTML, and Javascript

The next phase of the project is currently being determined.


  • Git - This project was my first time using git outside of the classroom, and really the first time I had used it the way it was intended.
  • Java, Javascript, HTML - When I joined the project, the code I “inhereted” was a Java Swing application that generated HTML/Javascript files (goal: platform agnostic). The idea:
    • The Swing GUI - or future iteration of the interface - is used by the preschool educator to custom-tailor a story.
    • The resulting story (the HTML/Javascript files) is interacted with by the child
  • Challenges
    • Learning how to read others code - this was my first major project of working on code written largely by other people
    • Learning Java - when I joined, I had worked mostly in Python and C++; Java was still quite foreign to me
    • Translating research requirements into code.

Cool Things

  • I’ve been fortunate enough to become a published author! You can find the publications at the following links, or by using Google Scholar and searching “JP Hourcade, L Crawford.” – [Link 1,[Link 2]]

  • I presented at the Spring Undergraduate Research Festival on April 13, 2017.