skip to Main Content
design lab UCSD maya azarova

Design Lab Anthropology Graduate Student Wins Prestigious CRES Award

Design Lab Anthropology Graduate Student Wins Prestigious CRES Award

Design Lab Anthropology Graduate Student Wins Prestigious CRES Award

Peering into our culture can reveal new insights about how multidisciplinary teams solve socio-technical problems. Maya Azarova, a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology, mentored by Professor Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, recently received the Chancellor’s Research Excellence Scholarship (CRES) to investigate the backstage of innovation. The goal is to explore how teams comprising of individuals from various disciplines create new technologies.

Azarova was initially drawn to the scholarship as it recognizes academic research across a multitude of fields including arts, social sciences, engineering and medicine. Participation in the Jacob School of Engineering’s 2nd Annual Design Competition inspired her to speak with other students from diverse fields such as computer science and visual arts. What began as several distinct conversations organically developed into a research group dedicated to different methods of communication and design in healthcare. Azarova truly believes that effective problem-solving stems from knowledge-sharing that transcends academic boundaries.


Maya Azarova, UC San Diego Anthropology and Design Lab Graduate Student

The funding will specifically be used to fuel her dissertation research, which consists of two parts. Under the guidance of Professor Aronoff-Spencer, Azarova is currently leading an ethnographic effort tasked with examining team communication and knowledge production in the team creating innovative devices for infant biometrics. Delving into the complex interactions among physicians and engineers, Azarova hopes to document an understanding of the co-creation process through the lens of social cultural anthropology.

Her second focus is on big data applications in digital collaboration platforms to analyze the relationship between the online messaging space and long-term communication patterns in multidisciplinary teams. Exploring an untapped topic area through emerging communication tools such as Slack offers an opportunity to observe how real life interactions mirror those found in conversation narratives. Azarova intends to work closely with researchers at The Design Lab to exchange expertise in the field in addition to utilizing resources at the UC San Diego Library’s Data & GIS Lab.

Azarova expresses tremendous gratitude towards The Design Lab, specifically Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, Design Lab Director Don Norman, and Cognitive Science Professor David Kirsh, for their support and guidance.

It is visionary that my main mentor was someone from outside my own department, beyond the normative environment to break those boundaries, says Azarova.

Although it is too early to draw any conclusions, Azarova hopes that a symbiotic relationship between social cultural anthropology and innovative fields will uncover a plethora of other impactful applications.

Peering into our culture can reveal new insights about how multidisciplinary teams solve socio-technical problems. Maya Azarova, a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology, mentored by Professor Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, recently received the Chancellor’s Research Excellence Scholarship (CRES) to investigate the backstage of innovation. The goal is to explore how teams comprising of individuals from various disciplines create new technologies.

Azarova was initially drawn to the scholarship as it recognizes academic research across a multitude of fields including arts, social sciences, engineering and medicine. Participation in the Jacob School of Engineering’s 2nd Annual Design Competition inspired her to speak with other students from diverse fields such as computer science and visual arts. What began as several distinct conversations organically developed into a research group dedicated to different methods of communication and design in healthcare. Azarova truly believes that effective problem-solving stems from knowledge-sharing that transcends academic boundaries.


Maya Azarova, UC San Diego Anthropology and Design Lab Graduate Student

The funding will specifically be used to fuel her dissertation research, which consists of two parts. Under the guidance of Professor Aronoff-Spencer, Azarova is currently leading an ethnographic effort tasked with examining team communication and knowledge production in the team creating innovative devices for infant biometrics. Delving into the complex interactions among physicians and engineers, Azarova hopes to document an understanding of the co-creation process through the lens of social cultural anthropology.

Her second focus is on big data applications in digital collaboration platforms to analyze the relationship between the online messaging space and long-term communication patterns in multidisciplinary teams. Exploring an untapped topic area through emerging communication tools such as Slack offers an opportunity to observe how real life interactions mirror those found in conversation narratives. Azarova intends to work closely with researchers at The Design Lab to exchange expertise in the field in addition to utilizing resources at the UC San Diego Library’s Data & GIS Lab.

Azarova expresses tremendous gratitude towards The Design Lab, specifically Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, Design Lab Director Don Norman, and Cognitive Science Professor David Kirsh, for their support and guidance.

It is visionary that my main mentor was someone from outside my own department, beyond the normative environment to break those boundaries, says Azarova.

Although it is too early to draw any conclusions, Azarova hopes that a symbiotic relationship between social cultural anthropology and innovative fields will uncover a plethora of other impactful applications.

Peering into our culture can reveal new insights about how multidisciplinary teams solve socio-technical problems. Maya Azarova, a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology, mentored by Professor Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, recently received the Chancellor’s Research Excellence Scholarship (CRES) to investigate the backstage of innovation. The goal is to explore how teams comprising of individuals from various disciplines create new technologies.

Azarova was initially drawn to the scholarship as it recognizes academic research across a multitude of fields including arts, social sciences, engineering and medicine. Participation in the Jacob School of Engineering’s 2nd Annual Design Competition inspired her to speak with other students from diverse fields such as computer science and visual arts. What began as several distinct conversations organically developed into a research group dedicated to different methods of communication and design in healthcare. Azarova truly believes that effective problem-solving stems from knowledge-sharing that transcends academic boundaries.


Maya Azarova, UC San Diego Anthropology and Design Lab Graduate Student

The funding will specifically be used to fuel her dissertation research, which consists of two parts. Under the guidance of Professor Aronoff-Spencer, Azarova is currently leading an ethnographic effort tasked with examining team communication and knowledge production in the team creating innovative devices for infant biometrics. Delving into the complex interactions among physicians and engineers, Azarova hopes to document an understanding of the co-creation process through the lens of social cultural anthropology.

Her second focus is on big data applications in digital collaboration platforms to analyze the relationship between the online messaging space and long-term communication patterns in multidisciplinary teams. Exploring an untapped topic area through emerging communication tools such as Slack offers an opportunity to observe how real life interactions mirror those found in conversation narratives. Azarova intends to work closely with researchers at The Design Lab to exchange expertise in the field in addition to utilizing resources at the UC San Diego Library’s Data & GIS Lab.

Azarova expresses tremendous gratitude towards The Design Lab, specifically Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, Design Lab Director Don Norman, and Cognitive Science Professor David Kirsh, for their support and guidance.

It is visionary that my main mentor was someone from outside my own department, beyond the normative environment to break those boundaries, says Azarova.

Although it is too early to draw any conclusions, Azarova hopes that a symbiotic relationship between social cultural anthropology and innovative fields will uncover a plethora of other impactful applications.

Read Next

The Worst F&#%ing Words Ever

Triton Magazine

Benjamin Bergen is a professor of cognitive science at UC San Diego and director of the Language and Cognition Lab, where he studies how our minds compute meaning and how talking interferes with safe driving—among many other things that don’t need to be bleeped. His latest book is What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves. He calls it “a book-length love letter to profanity.” You’ve been warned.
Smart Streetlights

Community members call for end to ‘Smart Streetlights’ in San Diego

KUSI NEWS Interviews Design Lab Faculty Lilly Irani

More than a dozen community groups are calling on the City of San Diego to turn off thousands of cameras positioned on streetlights around San Diego.

The “Smart Streetlights” were approved by the San Diego City Council in December 2016, and there are currently 4,700 installed according to the city’s website.

The cameras collect real-time data including video and audio, which the city says helps save money and increase public safety. However, activists called the technology a major privacy and civil rights concern.

City officials have said that these streetlights are not being used for spying.
Benjamin Bergen

Design Lab member Benjamin Bergen featured as an expert in “History of Swear Words”

Picture Credit: Netflix

Design Lab member and UC San Diego Cognitive Science professor Benjamin Bergen was featured as an expert in "History of Swear Words," a new Netflix comedy series exploring the usage of and science behind cursing. Bergen is the author of "What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves" and "Louder Than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning"

Watch the full series now on Netflix!
Albert Lin National Geographic

Design Lab member Albert Lin hosted 3 National Geographic series, using technology to uncover lost cities, treasures, and secrets

Full length episodes available for streaming on the Disney+ app.

Lost Cities With Albert Lin: “Lost Cities brings adventure, science, and archaeology together through our host Albert Lin. Our ambitious approach applies 3D scanning to some of the most extraordinary sites of antiquity."

Lost Treasures Of The Maya: “National Geographic Explorer Albert Lin ventures into the Guatemalan jungle to explore how a new high-tech treasure map is revealing tens of thousands of ancient ruins.”

Buried Secrets of The Bible With Albert Lin: “Albert Lin seeks out the truth behind two great stories of the Bible. To solve these mysteries, Albert will use satellites and space-age technology to look beneath the earth’s surface to reveal secrets that have been buried for thousands of years.”

Design Lab Launches City-Wide Civic Design Challenge

Calling all entrepreneurs, designers, engineers and problem solvers!   Register for the Kickoff and Information…

Anna McCowan Melanie McComsey Ucsd Design Lab

UK Markey Center and UCSD Seek to Improve Cancer Care with LAUNCH

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans living in rural areas are more likely to die of cancer than their counterparts in urban settings, which sets them apart from the many communities nationwide that have experienced a 20 percent decrease in cancer mortality over the past two decades. In Appalachia, the cancer picture is bleaker than in other rural parts of the country. Between 1969 and 2011, cancer incidence declined in every region of the country except rural Appalachia, and mortality rates soared.

This week (Monday, June 17th, 2019) an Innovation Studio workshop was held at the PRTC center announcing a program called LAUNCH.
Back To Top