molly jane nicholas, phd

Fig. a) The author, enjoying everything very much, thank you.

Molly Jane Nicholas is a system builder who is passionate about drawing from research literature, best practice, and user feedback to design usable and compelling interfaces. She then evaluates the systems she has built using a variety of mixed methods approaches across qualitative and quantitative research methods. In addition to her engineering background, she is experienced with a range of research methods including contextual inquiry, in-depth interviews and survey research. During her Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction, she was honoured to be supported by the NSF GRFP and the ARCS foundation. Previously, she worked for two years as a Software Engineer at Qualcomm, where she developed FIRST Robotics’ new robotics platform. Since then, she has enjoyed research internships at Microsoft and Snap (reach out if you have questions!). She has also been a dancer, worked as a puppeteer with Liebe Wetzel's Lunatique Fantastique, and trained circus arts at the Clown Conservatory. Molly Jane received her Ph.D. in 2022 from the University of California, Berkeley, and her B.A. in 2014 from the University of California, Berkeley with a double major in Computer Science and Cognitive Science.

news and updates

Here's one of the projects I'm working on at Figma. We're helping developers and designers collaborate 20 June 2023
Started work as a Researcher at Figma! 26 Sept 2022
I am very excited to share that I've graduated with my PhD! 13 May 2022
Our paper about creative and motivational strategies used by experts across diverse fields won the Best Paper award at C&C!! 29 Apr 2022
Got my 12th outstanding review recognition. 3 DIS review cycles in a row babyyyy. 21 Apr 2022
Oh dang, the creative practice paper was finally accepted! More info about this C&C paper coming soon... 29 Mar 2022
Humbled to announce I won an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award for teaching in CS61a! 23 Mar 2022
A paper led by the amazing Irene Yuan (a fellow intern at MSR) got accepted to CHI! Well-deserved kudos to Irene and glad I could play a tiny role in getting it across the finish line :) 08 Feb 2022
Submitted another updated version of our creative practice paper to Creativity and Cognition. Crossing fingers...5th time's the charm? 24 Jan 2022
Really excited to teach CS61A! My teaching page is here. 18 Jan 2022
Our paper about version control systems in creative practice was finally accepted! Only took 5 tries... (PDF link coming soon) 17 Dec 2021
Proud to share I now have 8 outstanding reviews. 15 Dec 2021
Excited to share that my paper about compelling remote experiences on camera glasses was accepted to CSCW! 29 Nov 2021
Loved my MSR internship! So grateful to get to work with so many amazing people. 30 Aug 2021
Started my second internship at Microsoft. Beyond thrilled to be back. 17 May 2021
I passed my Qualifying exam! Officially a PhD candidate. Huge thanks to the helpful members of my committee!!! 7 May 2021
My first first-author paper (about incorporating technology into theatre) was accepted to DIS 2021!! 9 Apr 2021
I just learned I've received recognition for writing three excellent reviews??? Why is this information so hidden on the PCS website?? 11 Mar 2021
In the last week I've submitted 7 papers to 4 different conferences. DIS(4), IMWUT(1), Frontiers(1), C&C(1). 22 Feb 2021
Spent the last 3 months writing and polishing 5 papers for DIS and IMWUT. So proud!! 11 Feb 2021
All our CHI papers were rejected, BUT we got some fantastic, thorough, thoughtful reviews! 12 Dec 2020
Check out this flawless CHI rebuttal. Happy Thanksgiving! 26 Nov 2020
Submitted 3 papers to CHI! Then we had a Zoom lab celebration! 17 Sep 2020
Celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary with a handshake. Classic. 9 Sep 2020
Extremely depressed about global climate change. Wildfires here in California are intense. 7 Sep 2020
Oh, wow, MSR is a magical place. 14 Jul 2020
First day as a remote intern "at" Microsoft! 1 Jun 2020
DIS paper rejected :( We kinda expected this, and have big plans for CHI. 9 Apr 2020
Very lucky to be able to work from home starting today! Stay safe during this Coronavirus pandemic. 13 Mar 2020
This semester I'm so excited to be teaching Critical Making alongside my advisor Eric Paulos!!! 1 Feb 2020
Submitted an AWESOME paper to DIS with my co-researcher Sarah. So so so excited, probably the most I've loved a project. 31 Jan 2020
Matt and I got married :) 9 Sep 2019
Happy to be back in Berkeley and finished with my Snap internship. If you have any questions about working with Snap, reach out! 26 Aug 2019
I'm updating notes about our awesome stay in Santa Monica here for anyone curious 12 May 2019
Our Santa Monica apartment looks out over the original muscle beach! 11 May 2019
Last lab get-together before we all scatter for the summer 8 May 2019
ONE WEEK until we move to Santa Monica for the summer!! Also just resubmitted our twice-rejected paper to ISWC! 3 May 2019
My semester is done! Finishing the show with Stan Lai and Sandra Woodall was a fantastic and transformative experience. I treasure everything I learned from the process. 30 Apr 2019
Aaaand our paper was rejected again :( Got some excellent input on the reviews, though, so trying again at ISWC. 27 Mar 2019
Looks like I'll be working at Snap Research this summer! I'm sooo excited to dig into and expand their awesome work with AR. 15 Feb 2019
I won the Snap Research fellowship!! I'm truly flabbergasted and so honoured. 4 Feb 2019
I'm a finalist for the Snap fellowship!!! So excited and honoured!!! 31 Jan 2019
Joined a theatre class where we work on a production with the amazing Stan Lai. 22 Jan 2019
Submitted a significantly reworked version of our CHI reject paper to DIS. 15 Jan 2019
Just got back from a spectacular cross-country ski trip to Glacier Point in Yosemite! 25 Dec 2018
All 6 of the papers submitted from our lab were rejected from CHI! Our worst year ever but of course grad school is a marathon not a sprint so onward to the next thing :) 14 Dec 2018
Enjoying being a part of the Hybrid Ecologies Lab :) 6 Dec 2018
Our work on creating a conversational profile for actuators that was previously not accepted to UIST was just accepted to TEI! 20 Nov 2018
Collecting various helpful pieces of advice for writing rebuttals here. 17 Nov 2018
Happy to celebrate with the wonderful people of ARCS! So grateful for the support. 6 Nov 2018
Major congrats to my brother and JieHan on the start of their marriage! Perfect day for the start of a perfect union. Also I photograph weddings now. Contact for rates ;) 1 Nov 2018
Proud of the visual graphic design I just created for my nerdy reddit hobby. Here's the final version. 27 Oct 2018
Enjoyed contributing to the Graduate Pathways to STEM mentoring program. Fun working with my three personable and accomplished mentees. 13 Oct 2018
Finished writing up my NSF-GRFP application advice tips just in time to participate in the department-organized panel about the process. 24 Sep 2018
Submitted my first first-author paper! Had fun out celebrating with some folks from Bjoern's lab. 21 Sep 2018
So enjoyed meeting my mentees in the LAGSES fellowship workshop. Reading lots of good NSF GRFP drafts... 18 Sep 2018
Pushing hard for CHI...Excited and happy but will be relieved when Sept. 21 has passed! 12 Sep 2018
Excited for my AR/VR class and my Questioning New Media class this semester! 29 Aug 2018
Matt and I are pleased to announce our engagement :) 20 Aug 2018
Working on lots of projects but having a tough time because I spend so much time recovering from migraines. 10 Aug 2018
Getting ready for a long vacation in Hawai'i! Kayaking, snorkeling, seeing the Na Pali coast with my honey love. 11 May 2018
Really enjoyed presenting our latest projects to the enthusiastic audience at the ARCS Symposium. 7 May 2018
Amazing time at CHI - check out my CHI 2018 trip report! 30 Apr 2018
So excited to present our latest work on battery-free dynamic clothing and accessories here at CHI in Montreal! 20 Apr 2018
Absolutely flabbergasted to announce that I won the NSF GRFP Fellowship!!! 3 Apr 2018
Enjoyed an extra week in Sweden seeing the Northern Lights, dog-sledding, and cross-country skiing to an amazing remote mountain hut. Trip report here. 28 Mar 2018
The project page for our TEI 2018 paper Häiriö is up! As is our Instructable :) Hooray for Open Source! 19 Mar 2018
Arrived in Sweden! Brrrr! Excited for our presentation and demo at TEI. 16 Mar 2018
Honoured to be funded by the amazing Berkeley Center for New Media to present at TEI and CHI! 6 Mar 2018
My class project in collaboration with César, Sarah, Eric, and Richard was accepted to DIS 2018! 5 Mar 2018
SO excited about my Information Visualization and Needs and Usability Assessment classes this semester!! 22 Jan 2018
Taking a well-deserved break! No email or work-related projects for me :) See you in the spring! 15 Dec 2017
Our latest project conditionally accepted to CHI 2018! 11 Dec 2017
Enjoyed the SWARM Lab retreat 11 Nov 2017
Our latest project conditionally accepted to TEI 2018! 19 Oct 2017
Finished up my summer research working with the wonderful Medical Clown Project! 26 Aug 2017
Passed prelims! See my blog for notes. 22 Aug 2017
Paper rejected from UIST :( 22 May 2017
Our paper won a Best Paper Award at CHI!!! 07 May 2017
Illumination Aesthetics, work on exposing light as a material, was accepted to CHI 2017! 16 Jan 2017
Joined the Designated Emphasis in New Media program 11 Nov 2016
Excited to pursue my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley working with Eric Paulos! 12 April 2016

latest projects

Figma's Dev Mode
Beyond Audio
Puppeteering for Animators
Creative and Motivational Strategies
Towards Creative Version Control
Multi-Device Usage Patterns
Technology-Mediated Theatre
Conversations with Actuators
Guardians of History
E.O. 9066
Illumination Aesthetics
Lightning Cloud
Wearable Sparkle
InfraRed Receiver
Photo Wall
24 Second Food + Fitness
Flying Trapeze
Emil of Lonneberga
Chicken Stock
Pratfalls and Rising Stars
NSF logo Achievement Rewards for College Scientists logo I'm honoured to be supported by the NSF GRFP and the ARCS Foundation.

updated Aug 11, 2023