Getting Involved

Thank you for considering an engagement with the human-computer interaction lab (HCIL) at the University of Maryland. There are numerous ways to get involved. Interested parties should contact hcil-info@umd.edu. UMD is a hub of HCI research and design based around two main components:

There are many ways for companies, institutions, and non-profits to engage with HCI at UMD and many reasons for doing so, including sharing real-world challenges and perspectives with our talented students and getting fresh perspectives on your design challenges. Below is an overview of opportunities for your consideration.

1. Sponsor the HCIL Symposium

The HCIL symposium brings together faculty, students, and industry colleagues for presentations on innovative research on UX accessibility, and other HCI topics; demonstrations of new technologies; and discussions by key leaders in the HCI field.

As a sponsor, you will be reaching the top HCI thinkers and influencers from academia and industry. Sponsorship opportunities range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are customized to meet your needs. They can include any (or all) of the following:

  • Placement of your logo on our advertisements, marketing materials
  • Rotating banner ads during symposium as well as all web promotions
  • First look at emerging research coming out of the lab
  • Early opportunities to meet and hire students from HCIL
  • Virtual networking opportunities
  • Sponsoring a student award
  • Hosting a roundtable discussion sponsored by your company
  • A customized sponsorship experience that we design together

Learn more on how to become a symposium sponsor.

2. Tech Talk for HCIM

We are always looking for technical speakers from companies both near and far to come (in person or remotely using Skype/Hangouts) and present to our students as part of our “Tech Talk” series. These 1-hour talks with a Q&A period following are designed to prepare our students for the professional aspects of their future careers. They can cover a wide variety of topics from how to get a job, how to succeed at your first job, building a professional network, team dynamics, building a resume/portfolio, and diversity in the workplace. 

3. Company Day on HCI@Campus

Organizations that are interested in engaging even more closely with our students can choose to hold a “day on campus” where they work with our staff to design a custom schedule, including talks and presentations, networking receptions, and interview opportunities. Furthermore, many companies enjoy the opportunity to engage more closely with our faculty to identify potential research collaborations.

4. Internship & Networking Fair

One afternoon each semester, the HCIM program invites information organizations from the greater Washington, D.C. area to meet with our students to promote their career and internship opportunities. Companies from outside Washington D.C. are naturally also welcome to attend; please contact us if you are interested in being notified of these events.

At the Internship & Networking Fair, students can explore employment opportunities in their fields, meet potential internship, capstone, and field study partners, and network with local information professionals. This event is open to all UMD iSchool masters and undergraduate students.

5. Be a Partner/Client for UX Research and Design

We invite industry and community partners to sponsor a Capstone project for the UMD Human-Computer Interaction Masters program. This two-semester project enables our talented students to bring skills in user research, product design, and evaluation to address a substantive challenge and explore a product design or area of value to the partner to yield in-depth user research, design concepts, interaction and visual designs, and interactive prototypes, all validated through iterative refinement with end users and stakeholders.

In addition to the 9-month Capstone project, we collaborate with partners on smaller projects that apply user-centered design techniques. For example, first-year students could conduct a 2-week usability analysis of a web site or develop interaction or visual designs for an app as part of a term project.

6. Mentoring HCIM Students

Companies and individual professionals are invited to serve as mentors for students on Capstone projects. Typically they participate in one or more class meetings, where they provide design critiques for the evolving projects as well as suggestions and career advice. They may also provide guest lectures on specific topics.

7. Sponsoring HCIL Research

With its nearly 49 years of excellence in transforming the experiences people have with technology, the HCIL is one of the world’s most reputable and recognized research labs in human-computer interaction research. Much of the research at the HCIL is conducted both with the intended users of the technology, as well as with the companies and corporations that are bringing the technology to market.

Our faculty have also worked with industry partners who fund major research projects. Depending on the size and scope of joint research projects, industry partners can benefit from:

  • Knowledge Transfer to leverage HCIL research for the development of products and services, and preferential treatment in licensing arrangements with UMD 
  • Opportunities for university grants that incentivize industry-university partnerships
  • Customized visits, cooperative work arrangements (e.g., sending employees to work at HCIL for periods of time)
  • Promotional credit on marketing materials and acknowledgement of sponsor status
  • Early opportunities to work closely with and hire students from HCIL
  • Copies of all technical reports from the research project

8. The HCIL BBL Guest Speaker Series

In addition to the symposium, the HCIL organizes a weekly Brown Bag Lunch (BBL) that brings in both external and campus visitors for exciting talks about research and products in this area. Sponsoring the BBL for a year runs at $5,000, and allows us to provide food and honoraria for speakers. Sponsorship means your company name and logo will be visibly featured at each event and you can add a personalized video message to the YouTube videos of the talks. 

9. Embed a Visitor in the Lab

We often welcome visitors from industry who send their employees, engineers, and researchers to join the HCIL for an extended period of time (e.g., 6 months, 1 year, 1.5 years). Our industry visitors have come from all over the world. Industrial visitors come to learn about HCI, American culture, technology, and specific projects. These arrangements have enriched the HCIL tremendously, while also developing expertise and skills for individuals who can bring them back to their companies. Recent visitors have come from Sony, Toyota, Toshiba, and NEC.

We work with visitors to create custom programs that are valuable to all parties. We typically can offer:

  • Office space, computer, internet, printing, and other technical infrastructure etc.
  • Active participation in a research project based on mutual interest and available opportunities
  • Ability to participate as an HCIL lab member, joining for lunches, lab activities, social events, etc.
  • Ability to take UMD courses (upon permission of instructor)
  • Attend HCIL and UMD seminars and other events
  • Ability to participate in UMD activities and use UMD resources such as the campus bus and fitness facilities 

To discuss these opportunities and to get answers to all of your questions please contact hcil-info@umd.edu