Andrew Nelson

Quick Facts

Home country: USA
Undergraduate Degree: BS in Computational Media, Georgia Tech, 2014
GT MS-HCI: 2016, specialization in Interactive Computing

Did you work before coming to GT for your MS-HCI?

I went directly from my undergraduate education to the MS-HCI program. But, I have spent the past 2 years as a Research Assistant at Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC), and the past 2.5 years as a freelance web developer, usability consultant, and technical writer. As a GT-RNOC Research Assistant, I work with campus research groups to open data, facilitate student innovation, and develop new modes of interaction with our company partners, like AT&T and Steelcase. Right now I'm developing new telepresence technology called Magic Window.

As a freelance web developer, I have built and designed responsive websites--especially for e-commerce--for several clients. At two companies, I've contributed technical knowledge and advised on usability heuristics for their current and upcoming technical decisions. I've also contributed to API documentation and other technical writing at another company.

What made you decide to enroll in an MS-HCI program?

Deep down I really want humanity and our technology to converge. In a word, I want cyborgs! We've already started to converge our culture with digital social media, mobile devices, and ubiquitous computing, and lately biomedical engineering has meshed silicon with organics. But we still have plenty of problems to solve and ideas to test between humans and computers before we go full cyborg. So I want to keep things moving by helping humans and computers to work more seamlessly together.

What led you to choose Georgia Tech?

I'm most interested in how digital media can better organize society and governance. Georgia Tech's DM program just started its Civic Media specialty area, so I wanted to take advantage of that enthusiasm and opportunity. The professor I had worked with before is one of its leaders, and I had strong relationships with other research faculty, so it was clear I'd be more productive here than elsewhere.

What type of job do you want after you graduate?

I'm hoping that other research universities and organizations will help build enthusiasm for new civic media so that it will be a higher priority in public works by 2016. If it is, I'd like to work with whomever has the most impact in improving governance. It is not likely to be government itself, so I am keeping a close watch on the development of civic startups. My skillset is primarily in rapid prototyping and front-end development, so my job will likely involve quickly moving ideas from abstract to concrete and deployable.

Tell us an interesting fact about you

My two primary hobbies are cooking and civic hacking, and they often overlap. I'm currently investigating gleaning and food deserts, as well as how digital media can improve those experiences with Code for Atlanta. In my cooking, I've started trying to limit my ingredients to things commonly found in corner markets and convenience stores to see how creatively one could cook with limited food sources. I'd really like to find a group of gleaners/freegans to go searching for ingredients with.

Last modified: Jan. 3, 2015