University of Maryland
Trace Research & Development Center


Principal Investigators | Affiliate Faculty | Graduate Students | Staff

Principal Investigators

Photo of Gregg Vanderheiden, Professor & Director

Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden is the Director of the Trace R&D Center and Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. He has been active in the field of technology and disability for over 49 years and was a pioneer in the field of Augmentative Communication (a term originating from his writings), assistive technology and computer access. Access features developed by Dr. Vanderheiden and the Trace Center team can be found in every computer and mobile device internationally (Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS and Android). Dr Vanderheiden was selected as part of the team designing the first digital talking book machines for the Library of Congress talking book service – and carried out extensive exploration and testing of approaches in senior living facilities. Dr. Vanderheiden is a past President and Fellow of RESNA, a Founding Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and Fellow in the Human Factors and Ergonomics society. He has been a long-time leader in the area of web accessibility, creating the first set of Web Accessibility guidelines in 1995 and serving as co-editor and co-chairing the WCAG Working Group from its inception through 2013. At the 6th World Wide Web Conference, he was the third annual recipient of the Yuri Rubinsky Memorial World Wide Web Award, following Vint Cerf and Doug Engelbart. Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden homepage.

Photo of Jonathan Lazar, Professor and Associate Director

Dr. Jonathan Lazar is a professor in the College of Information Studies (iSchool) at the University of Maryland. Dr. Lazar joined the iSchool in 2019, after 19 years as a professor of computer and information sciences at Towson University, where he served as director of the information systems program for 14 years. Dr. Lazar has authored or edited 12 books, including Research Methods in Human-Computer Interaction (2nd edition, co-authored with Heidi Feng and Harry Hochheiser), Ensuring Digital Accessibility Through Process and Policy (co-authored with Dan Goldstein and Anne Taylor), Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology (co-edited with Michael Stein), Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations, and Web Usability: A User-Centered Design Approach. He has published over 140 refereed articles in journals, conference proceedings, and edited books, and has been granted two US patents for his work on accessible web-based security features for blind users. He frequently serves as an adviser to government agencies and regularly provides testimony at federal and state levels, and multiple US federal regulations cite his research publications. He has been on the executive Board of the Friends of the Maryland Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped since 2009, was co-chair of Cambridge University Workshop on Universal Access and Assistive Technology from 2012-2020, was SIGCHI adjunct chair of public policy from 2010-2015, and is the general chair for the ACM Conference on Accessible Computing (ASSETS) 2021 conference. Dr. Lazar is the associate director of the Trace Center and core faculty in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Dr. Jonathan Lazar homepage

Photo of J. Bern Jordan, Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. J. Bern Jordan is an assistant research scientist in the College of Information Studies (iSchool) at the University of Maryland. Dr. Jordan has worked in the field of accessibility and universal design for nearly 20 years. His work with Trace R&D Center has included the development of techniques for cross-disability access to public ICT, development of cross-disability user experiences, analysis and contributions to accessibility standards and regulations, the development of hands-on accessibility training workshops, and research into automatically generating personal, one-size-fits-one interfaces and adapting devices to meet user needs and preferences. His research interests are in the areas of accessibility, human-computer interaction, and user-centered design. Dr. Jordan has been awarded 10 patents relating to disability access. As part of technology transfer and support, he has worked with over a dozen companies and other organizations on improving the accessibility of public kiosks and other ICT products. Dr. J. Bern Jordan homepage.

Photo of Hernisa Kacorri, Assistant Professor

Dr. Hernisa Kacorri is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies. She holds an affiliate appointment in the Computer Science and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park and serves as a core faculty at the Trace R&D Center. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2016 from The Graduate Center at City University of New York, and has conducted research at the University of Athens, IBM Research-Tokyo, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on data-driven technologies that can benefit the disability community, with an emphasis on rigorous, user-based experimental methodologies to assess impact. Hernisa is a recipient of a Mina Rees Dissertation Fellowship in the Sciences, an ACM ASSETS best paper finalist and a best paper award, an ACM CHI honorable mention award, and an IEEE WACV best paper award. She has been recognized by the Rising Stars in EECS program of CMU/MIT. Dr. Hernisa Kacorri homepage.

Photo of Amanda Lazar, Assistant Professor

Dr. Amanda Lazar is an assistant professor in the College of Information Studies and an affiliate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her PhD from the University of Washington in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, where she was funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the National Library of Medicine predoctoral fellowship. Her research examines the design of technology for older adults – and in particular, older adults with dementia – to support social interaction and engagement in activities. Her work is supported by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Amanda Lazar homepage.

A headshot photo of a woman, Kate Vanderheiden

Kate Vanderheiden joined the Trace Center in 1994 as Program Manager. In her years at Trace, she has managed over $60 million in grants and contracts, including a series of multi-year Rehabilitation Engineering Center grants focused on research, development, training commercial transfer, and system change. In addition to proposal management, financial administration, reporting, and overall Center support, Kate has taken on various programmatic roles. These have included leadership roles in the Trace Center’s training and outreach activities, website design and management, and planning for Morphic pilot testing and sustainability after grant funding ends.

Kate has a degree in business administration and is a CPA. Prior to joining the Trace Center, she had 5 years of experience as a financial auditor and training developer with Arthur Andersen & Co.

Affiliate Faculty

Photo of Elizabeth Bonsignore, Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. Elizabeth Bonsignore is an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (“iSchool”) and Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). Her research focuses on the design of technology-mediated, playful social experiences that promote new media literacies, arts-integrated science learning, and participatory culture. As the Director of KidsTeam, an inter-generational, participatory design team at Maryland’s iSchool, her research efforts involve co-design partnerships and meaningful play with youth. Her work aims to empower children, young adults, and their families to harness the everyday funds of knowledge that they already possess to access and achieve higher levels of learning and participation in civic society. She also studies interactive, multimodal narratives, and the roles they play in helping under-represented youth engage in life-long learning. She often works with family members of the youth she co-designs with, to connect with the larger sociocultural ecosystems in which they learn and grow. She has published peer-reviewed conference and journal articles on participatory design, information literacy, and learning sciences-based projects, and served as an Associate Chair for the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM’s) Computer-Human Interaction (CHI), CHI-PLAY, and Interaction design and Children (IDC) conferences since 2016. Dr. Beth Bonsignore homepage.

Photo of Eun Kyoung Choe, Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. Eun Kyoung Choe is an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. With an overarching goal of empowering individuals, her research addresses some of the major challenges people face in leveraging personal data. She studies, designs, and develops technologies to support main interactions between individuals and their personal data: (1) data collection, (2) data exploration, and (3) data sharing. Known as Personal Informatics, this area of research bridges the fields of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Health Informatics, and Ubiquitous Computing. She uses formative research methods (interview, survey, and observation) and design methods (co-design and iterative prototyping) to examine people’s challenges, needs, goals, and values regarding their interaction with personal data. She then develops technologies and evaluates them through crowdsourced user study, in-lab usability study, and real-world deployment to study the feasibility and efficacy of theory-informed designs. She subsequently uses these findings to inform the production of new artifacts, technologies, and design guidelines. She explores this topic in various contexts, including food-related decision making, personal productivity, sleep, patient-clinician communication and data sharing, and personal data insights and visualization. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation’s CRII, CAREER, and CHS awards, the National Institute of Health, Microsoft Research, and the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. She received her PhD in Information Science from University of Washington, MS in Information Management and Systems from University of California, Berkeley, and BS in Industrial Design from KAIST, Korea. Dr. Eun Kyoung Choe homepage.

Photo of Niklas Elmqvist, Professor

Dr. Niklas Elmqvist is a full professor in the iSchool (College of Information Studies) at University of Maryland, College Park. He received his Ph.D. in computer science in 2006 from Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden. Since 2016, he is the director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL) at University of Maryland, one of the oldest and most well-known HCI research labs in the country. His research area is information visualization, human-computer interaction, and visual analytics. His research has been funded by both federal agencies such as NSF, NIH, and DHS as well as by companies such as Google, NVIDIA, and Microsoft. He is also the recipient of the Purdue Student Government Graduate Mentoring Award (2014), the Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Teacher Award (2012), and the Purdue ECE Chicago Alumni New Faculty award (2010). He was elevated to the rank of Distinguished Scientist of the ACM in 2018, one of only 40 people receiving this recognition that year. Dr. Niklas Elmqvist homepage.

Photo of Ursula Gorham

Dr. Ursula Gorham is a Senior Lecturer and the Director of the Master of Library and Information Science program in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is admitted to practice law in Maryland; her research and teaching reflect her interest in legal and policy issues related to information access. Her research has appeared in Government Information Quarterly and Law Library Journal, among other venues, and her fourth book – Understanding Human Information Behavior: When, How, and Why People Interact with Information (written with Beth St Jean and Elizabeth Bonsignore) was recently published in April 2021. Dr. Ursula Gorham homepage


Photo of Paul Jaeger, Professor

Dr. Paul T. Jaeger is a Professor of the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. He studies the impacts of law and policy on information access and accessibility, with a focus on human rights and civil rights. He is the author of more than 190 journal articles and book chapters, as well as twenty books. His research has been funded by the Institute of Museum & Library Services, the National Science Foundation, the American Library Association, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. He is Co-Editor of Library Quarterly and the Editor of Advances in Librarianship. He is the founder of the Conference on Inclusion and Diversity in Library and Information Science (CIDLIS) and co-founder of the Disability Summit. In 2014, he received the Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award. A 2019 study published in Public Library Quarterly named him one of the two most influential scholars of public library research in the past 35 years (it was a tie). His most recent books are Foundations of Information Policy and the forthcoming Foundations of Information Literacy. Dr. Paul Jaeger homepage.

Photo of Galina Reitz, Faculty Program Director & Senior Lecturer

Dr. Galina Reitz is a Senior Lecturer at the iSchool and the Faculty Program Director for the Bachelor of Science of Information Science at Shady Grove. Dr. Reitz joined the iSchool after 12 years as a faculty member and administrator at UMBC. Through her work in the School of Aging Studies at UMBC, she spent over a decade working with elders in various capacities, including education, research, and supporting companies in developing technologies to support the quality of life for older persons. Her background, expertise, and experience are at the intersection of human-centered technology, aging and gerontology, and voice assistive technology. As a clinical faculty, she led teams of undergraduate and graduate research assistants, led master’s thesis, and has been particularly supportive in including individuals from minority groups in her research. Dr. Reitz’s expertise in the area of aging services includes working with elders who are independently living, those who need a higher level of care, and those that have various degrees of cognitive impairment. Some of her projects include being part of the team that developed one of the first senior emergency rooms in the country, bringing culture change in elder care to organizations, and a focus on person-centered, strengths-based care in nursing homes. Dr. Reitz has extensive experience in working with elder care institutions on projects to improve elder well-being and overall quality of life, with a focus on engagement technologies and has been supported by NSF in developing a robust solution that supports elders in negotiating online safeguards with their care partners, in order to utilize online services longer in their homes. Dr. Galina Reitz homepage.

Photo of Abhinav Shrivastava, Assistant Professor

Dr. Abhinav Shrivastava is assistant professor of computer science at University of Maryland with a joint appointment in the Institute of Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). Before that, he was a visiting research scientist at Google AI. He completed his PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in 2017, where he was a Microsoft Research Fellow. He regularly serves as an area chair for CVPR, ECCV, ICCV, and AAAI. His research is supported by DARPA, IARPA, and gifts from Honda Research, Facebook AI, and Adobe Research; and he is part of the UMD team for DARPA MediFor/SemaFor/GARD/SAIL-ON (lead) and IARPA DIVA. His research focuses on a wide variety of artificial intelligence topics, including computer vision, machine learning, graphics, and robotics. His research has been widely covered by international press, such as CNN, BBC, Forbes, and the Associated Press; and one of his projects, NEIL, was awarded the top-10 ideas in 2013 by CNN. Dr. Abhinav Shrivastava homepage.


A headshot photo of a manBrian Wentz, D.Sc., PMP, is a Visiting Professor at the iSchool, working directly with the Trace Center. He is also a Professor of MIS at the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where he is on the steering committee for the Institute for Social Inclusion and the Disability Studies minor. For more than 15 years, he has been involved in a variety of projects related to Web accessibility and usability for people with disabilities. His research expertise focuses on HCI, accessibility, usability, and their intersection with public policy and law. Examples of his work include exploring the legal framework for accessible research publications, investigating conformance to standards related to interface design for people of all abilities, investigating the societal impact of inaccessible web sites and unequal accommodations, and finding ways to increase employment opportunities through accessible technology. The Pennsylvania Council of the Blind awarded him the 2013 Honorary Service Award. He is on the Editorial board for the journal Universal Access in the Information Society and is also the Research Advisor for My Blind Spot in New York City. His most recent publication, “A Socio-legal Framework for Improving the Accessibility of Research Articles for People with Disabilities” can be found in the Journal of Business and Technology Law. Dr. Brian Wentz homepage.

Photo of Gulnoza Yakubova, Assistant Professor
Dr. Gulnoza Yakubova is Assistant Professor in Special Education in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Yakubova’s overarching research interest focuses on examining technology-based interventions to teach students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) the skills they need to have a successful life after school. Within her work, she uses technology with a primary focus on: (1) increasing functional independence of students with ASD and (2) supporting access to learning academic content, with a focus on mathematics skills for students with ASD who traditionally have received functional skills curriculum. Dr. Gulnoza Yakubova homepage.



Graduate Students

Photo of Emma Dixon (PhD, iSchool) Emma Dixon (PhD, iSchool)
Photo of Utkarsh Dwivedi (PhD, iSchool) Utkarsh Dwivedi (PhD, iSchool)
Photo of Meagan Griffith (HCIM, iSchool) Meagan Griffith (HCIM, iSchool)
Photo of Jonggi Hong (PhD, CS) Jonggi Hong (PhD, CS)
Headshot of a man, Ebrima Jarjue Ebrima Jarjue (HCIM, iSchool)
Photo of Rie Kamikubo (PhD, iSchool) Rie Kamikubo (PhD, iSchool)
Photo of Kyungjun Lee (PhD, CS) Kyungjun Lee (PhD, CS)
Photo of Hanuma Teja Maddali (PhD, CS) Hanuma Teja Maddali (PhD, CS)
Photo of Alisha Pradhan (PhD, iSchool) Alisha Pradhan (PhD, iSchool)

A headshot photo of a man, Debashish Pradhan

Debashish Pradhan (HCIM, iSchool)

Photo of Tripti Rajput (HCIM, iSchool) Tripti Rajput (HCIM, iSchool)
A headshot of a woman, Amelia ShortAmelia Short (HCIM, iSchool)
Photo of Rachel Wood (PhD, iSchool) Rachel Wood (PhD, iSchool)



Maura Matvey, Business Manager
A headshot of a woman with dark hair and glassesLiz Zogby, Outreach Coordinator