Elena Márquez Segura studied a master and bachelor in Telecommunication Engineering in Seville, Spain. On 2008, she came to Stockholm, where she studied the master of Interactive Systems Engineering at KTH. After that, she started herPhD in Human-Computer Interaction in Mobile Life Centre, at Stockholm University. In December 2013, she defended her Licentiate thesis there, and then she continued her PhD in Uppsala University.
How / why did you become a PhD student?
I did my master thesis in Mobile Life, a vibrant research center in Kista. There I’ve met amazing researchers, and collaborated with some of them in different research projects. I guess that a PhD was the natural next step for me at the time.
What is your research about?
I’m studying and designing for technology-supported movement-based play in a co-located social setting. I’m trying to propose alternative ways of doing design in this area that move from mainstream technology-centered approaches.
How does it feel to research specifically at Uppsala university?
It feels like a nice challenge, as you need to combine, and find the balance between research and teaching. Having to teach means that I need to have an overall picture of the field, which contrasts with the narrowed scoped area that your thesis touches upon.
It is also interesting to belong to a department with different but related fields that can contribute to one another. As a PhD student, I appreciate the fact that we are a bunch of PhD students, with whom you mature as a researcher together.
If I were to point an area for improvement, that would be a stronger and more flexible financial support for PhD's research-related activities, such as traveling to conferences to present your work, or buying books.
What was your most enjoyable work experience so far?
I like teaching in general, but there’s a course I have enjoyed in particular, Embodied Interaction. It is very much aligned with the topic of my thesis, and that means that I have the opportunity to teach something I feel passionate about. Also, it has presented a very interesting challenge, as the course was created from scratch and Embodied Interaction is very much a novel topic in HCI. Yet, it is one that is attracting a lot of attention, both from research and from industry, so the course comes in a timely manner.
Another course I really like teaching is the Introduction to HCI, with my fellow PhD students. It is great to welcome new students and to give them an overview of what HCI is and what they’ll be seeing during their master thesis.
Finally, the fact that we count in the Interaction Lab with hammocks, which you can use to hang upside-down… or just hang out and chill.
Any tips to other PhD candidates, students, future students?
Since early in the PhD, try to travel and meet peers. Expose your work and get exposed to different ways of working. Find what you are passionate about in research; You are going to spend a lot of time doing your PhD, so it makes sense that it is relevant and exciting, at least for you.