"The coursework and research at SIAT centers around the idea that technology is an inherently human subject and that the design and study of technologies should therefore put the impacts of technology on humans at the center of inquiry. In a world so dominated by technology, I find this perspective is desperately needed."

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Student Profile: Stan Nowak

School of Interactive Arts and Technology doctoral student in the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

September 10, 2021
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I grew up in Philadelphia, PA, but I have found a new home in British Columbia. I completed my BA in Cognitive Systems at the University of British Columbia where I developed an interest in perceptual and vision science that has since grown into my passion for visualization and visual analytics. I love recreating in the mountains of BC and have been blessed with the opportunity to conduct research at the intersection of visual analytics, risk-based decision-making, and snow avalanche forecasting.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

SFU has some of the world's leading visualization and visual analytics researchers. I chose to come to SFU to work with Dr. Lyn Bartram and to immerse myself in the world of visualization through the lens of SFU's accomplished researchers.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

I am currently a PhD candidate at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology. My research revolves around the understanding that the data we use in real-world decisions are messy, incomplete, and require us to explore alternative interpretations. This ambiguity, the consideration of alternative interpretations, is a common facet of human reasoning, but it becomes critical in settings where analysis is shared and leads to critical and time-sensitive decisions. I am designing, developing, and evaluating visual analytics systems to more explicitly support these reasoning processes. We have partnered with Avalanche Canada, a public avalanche forecasting organization dealing with the challenges of ambiguity, to develop and study our visual analytics systems in an applied real-world operational setting.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I love the research faculty at SFU's School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT). The coursework and research at SIAT centers around the idea that technology is an inherently human subject and that the design and study of technologies should therefore put the impacts of technology on humans at the center of inquiry. In a world so dominated by technology, I find this perspective is desperately needed.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

I have received several awards including the Andrew Wade Memorial in Visual Analytics, the Van Pykstra Graduate Scholarship, the Presidents PhD Scholarship, and the SFU Big Data Graduate Scholarship. I am incredibly grateful for these awards. They have encouraged me and allowed me to focus on my research.

 

Contact : snowak@sfu.ca

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