work with me

(info for students).

I am always interested in meeting enthusiastic and creative students, and I particularly encourage students from groups with longstanding underrepresentation in our discipline to talk to me about potential projects.  I look for students who demonstrate commitment, creativity, communication skills (including visual communication), and courage.  The best way to get involved depends upon your current status:

summer students:

Students from other universities, particularly those that do not offer many opportunities to explore CS research, can apply to join us for a summer research experience.  To do this, you need to apply to our department's Research Experiences for Undergraduates site:

prospective graduate students:

Students seeking a graduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota should apply to the graduate school, specifying an interest to work with me in the application form and the essay.  If you indicate this in your application, then I guarantee I will see review your application -- there is no need to email me in addition to tell me that you are applying or ask if I will be taking any new students this year.  If you or your current advisor would like to connect with me to share some additional information that does not fit in the application, then you may send me email -- remember to include "daring greatly" in the subject so that I know you have read this page!

current umn students:

Current UMN undergraduate and MS students who wish to work with me should complete the IV/LAB New Student Challenge, which involves either taking (and doing really well in) a class with me or doing one of the starter projects listed in the challenge. You also need to show me a sample of your writing.  If you are interested, you can come talk to me about the challenge in office hours (see calendar at the bottom of for times and location), or you can just try the challenge and then come to my office hours to show me what you've done.  Please also read below for answers to frequently asked questions:

when can/should i start?​

Learning to conduct research takes time, so it is best to start before your senior year.  We sometimes have opportunities for 1 or 2 semester "student programmer" positions, but these are limited, and are too short to learn very much about research.  We are most interested in students who can join a project and stick with it for at least 3 semesters (summers count as equal to a semester).  That usually provides enough time to bring your own strengths to the project and turn it into a thesis and/or research publication.

We accept new students into the lab at the beginning of each semester and at the beginning of the summer.  If you would like to start next semester, please plan ahead.  Complete the new student challenge, and discuss your interest with me ahead of time.​

what is the time commitment?

Undergraduate and MS student researchers ​must be able to commit at least 9 hours per week to your research work (similar to how you would treat any other 3-credit course), and you must be able to attend our regular all-lab meetings, which are biweekly on Friday mornings.

what can i expect to work on?


As a new student researcher, you will be teamed up with more experienced lab members who will act as your mentors.  We use an informal match-making process for this.  Near the start of each semester and the summer, we hold a lab "Research Project Pitch Day", and invite students who have completed the new student challenge the previous semester.  During the pitch day, we do introductions, and then current student researchers present short 5-minute pitches on projects they think would make good intro-to-research projects for new students.  Everyone indicates their top choices for projects to join, and we do some match-making based on this. 


can i get course credit for research?


Yes, almost always.  With a little extra planning, research in the lab is often a great fit for Directed Research or Thesis Preparation courses.

can i get paid?

Maybe, it depends on the project and available funding, or funding that you identify for yourself.  For example, the university UROP program is a great source for some small funding.  I highly recommend that each of my undergraduate students apply for this program, as it not only provides a stipend but may also be used to defer the costs of conference travel if a paper or presentation on your work is accepted.

is there anyone else doing similar research at umn?

We have a fantastic group of graphics, VR, and HCI faculty.  In particular, these colleagues run fantastic labs and collaborate closely with my group.

Prof. Evan Suma Rosenberg's Illusioneering Lab

Prof. Victoria Interrante's VR Lab (focusing on perception and design)

Prof. Stephen Guy's Applied Motion Lab

Prof. Lana Yarosh and the whole GroupLens Research Group

may i and how do i contact you?

This page answers the question "how can I get involved in research?"  If you have a more specific question or need clarification, please email me and include the phrase "daring greatly" in your email subject line so that I know that you have already read this page. 


It is a real privilege to work in the lab, if/when you contact me, please make it clear that you have visited our lab webpage and learned what we are about and that you are not just spamming numerous professors with a generic request.


(I apologize to those who have not read this page if I do not respond to your emails -- I have instituted this policy because I receive too many requests to respond to each potential student who has not at least made the effort to understand what it means to work in the lab by reading this webpage.)