My current research is about designing and studying transformational games for marginalized populations. The specific focus of my main project centers on increasing comfort with STEM topics by encouraging scientific curiosity through games.
Sensing Curiosity in Play and Responding
The SCIPR Project is focused on game-based interventions for marginalized students in STEM. We are designing and researching games to increase scientific curiosity in order to increase comfort with STEM topics.
Character Diversity in Games
This project examines current techniques both digital and non-digital games employ in order to represent diverse players through game characters.
Tandem Transformational Game Design
Tandem Design is a transformational game design process that pulls from best practice in transformational games, design, psychology, and organizational behavior. Go to tinyurl.com/tandemdesign for more information.
Flash orgs are rapidly assembled, reconfigurable organizations of online expert crowd workers working on highly complex, open-ended goals. (Published at CHI 2017)
WearWrite is a system that enables users to write documents from their smartwatches by leveraging a crowd to help translate their ideas into text. (Published at CHI 2016)
Flash teams are modular, self-contained, replicable, and computational workflows for expert crowdsourcing. (Published at UIST 2014)
// PUBLICATIONS & MEDIA COVERAGE
Please see my CV for a complete and updated list of my publications.
Tandem Transformational Game Design: A Game Design Process Case Study
To, A., Fath, E. Zhang, E., Ali, S., Kildunne, C., Fan, A., Hammer, J., Kaufman, G.
Meaningful Play 2016
Integrating Curiosity and Uncertainty in Game Design
To, A., Ali, S., Kaufman, G., Hammer, J.
DiGRA/FDG 2016: Digital Games Research Association and Foundations of Digital Games First Join International Conference
WearWrite: Crowd-Assisted Writing from Smartwatches
Nebeling, M., To, A., Guo, A., de Freitas, A., Teevan, J., Dow, S., Bigham, J.
CHI 2016: ACM Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Experts On Demand: Enabling Flash Organizations with Rapid Onboarding
Advisor: Michael Bernstein, Second Reader: Melissa Valentine
Symbolic Systems Program Masters Thesis 2015
Expert Crowdsourcing with Flash Teams
Retelny, D., Robaszkiewicz, S., To, A., Lasecki, W., Patel, J., Rahmati, N., Doshi, T., Valentine, M., Bernstein, M.
UIST 2014: ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology
Foundry: Managing Teams of Experts Online
Advisor: Michael Bernstein, Second Reader: Daniela Retelny
Symbolic Systems Program Senior Honors Thesis 2014
Treehouse Dreams: A Game-Based Method for Eliciting Interview Data from Children
To, A., Fan, A., Kildunne, C., Zhang, E., Kaufman, G., Hammer, J.
CHI Play 2016: The ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play
WearWrite: Orchestrating the Crowd to Complete Complex Tasks from Wearables
Nebeling, M., Guo, A., To, A., Dow, S., Teevan, J., Bigham, J.
UIST 2015: ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology
Stanford News interviews Asst. Professor Michael Bernstein and Alexandra To and the flash teams research as a part of their coverage of the Symbolic Systems Program
SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE
Honorable Mention, University Post-Secondary Category - Carnegie Science Awards 2017
Best Paper Award - ACM CHI 2017
Best Student Non-Digital Game, "Outbreak" - Meaningful Play 2016
People's Choice, "Outbreak" - Meaningful Play 2016
//SELECTED TEACHING, RESEARCH, AND WORK EXPERIENCE
05-430/05-630 (Programming Usable Interfaces) - TA
CMU - Fall 2017
Programming class for HCI students. Lead weekly lab of 30 students covering basics of prototyping, designing, and programming for the web.
85-357 (Navigating Race and Identity in America) - TA
CMU - Spring 2017
Advanced psychology seminar on race and identity in America.
SymSys 100 (Minds & Machines) - TA
Stanford - Fall 2014
Overview course of the interdisciplinary study of cognition, information, communication, and language. Leading a discussion section of 30 students.
Carnegie Mellon University - PhD Student / Research Assistant
Fall 2015 - [PRESENT]
Co-Advised by Jessica Hammer and Geoff Kaufman. Work on SCIPR (Sensing Curiosity in Play and Responding) project. Designing and researching a tabletop game for underrepresented middle school students in STEM fields. Team management of 12 research interns across one year.
Carnegie Mellon University - Research Assistant
Work with Michael Nebeling, Steven Dow, Jeff Bigham on WearWrite. Shepherding the crowd to complete complex tasks from a smart watch.
Stanford HCI Group - Research Assistant
Continued as Masters' research throughout the '14-'15 year
(SEE: Publications & Media)
Wrapping up research on flash teams (flashteams.stanford.edu) and
continuing next phase of research - scaling up flash teams
to flash orgs. Combining HCI research and organizational behavior/management
literature. Studying issues of coordination and hierarchy
in a large-scale on-demand organization.
Stanford University HCI Group - CURIS Intern
(SEE: Publications & Media)
Created Foundry, an interactive online tool for authoring and managing flash teams.
Stanford University Symbolic Systems Program - Summer Intern
Worked jointly with the SymSys Program and the MLK Jr. Institute designing a collaborative history online platform to engage a wide audience with digital history. Designed research studies based on project.
Schell Games - Design Intern
May 2017 - Aug. 2017
Working on an interdisciplinary team with eleven game designers, artists, and developers working on transformational game design for a digital app. Gathered and synthesized research related to the project’s transformational goals, contributed to design brainstorms and iteration, and wrote narrative content.
Stanford Bing Overseas Study Program - Head Student Advisor
Sept. 2013 - June 2015
(Previously) Beijing Student Advisor Sept. 2012-June 2013
Organizing BOSP team of student advisors. Organizing efforts around large
outreach events and panels.
Stanford Residential Computing - Residential Computer Consultant
Sept. 2013 - June 2015
Assistant residents with internet, hardware, and other personal computing and technology issues.