People in the Next-Generation Usability Laboratory

The Next-Generation Usability Laboratory at Hamilton is directed by Professor Stuart Hirshfield and Dr. Leanne Hirshfield. The lab is also supported by undergraduate researchers.

Professor Stuart Hirshfield

The challenge of teaching undergraduates about computer science has intrigued him since he was a graduate student, and he has devoted most of his professional energies, in one form or another, to this task.  He was an original member of the Liberal Arts Computer Science Consortium that developed and published (in 1986) what is today the accepted model curriculum for a B.A. degree in computer science.  He has taught computer science, particularly the introductory courses, to students a technical school, a research university, a liberal arts school, and in industry, and has developed a broad base of pedagogical expertise, particularly in teaching CS as a laboratory science.  In recounting this record, it appears safe to say that he has been, at the very least, an “early adopter” of many pedagogical insights that have shaped CS education over the past 25 years, and in some cases have conceived and developed materials that have influenced these insights.
In recent years, his teaching and research interests have returned to his roots in HCI (he worked as a Research Scientist for Xerox when the first GUIs were being developed).  He has not only taught courses focusing on HCI and the application of Brain-Computer Interface technologies to HCI studies, but has involved in numerous research efforts at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, NY that deal directly with HSI development and evaluation. 

Dr. Leanne Miller Hirshfield

Dr. Hirshfield completed her doctorate in Computer Science at Tufts University in 2009.  Her specialty is in the area of Human Computer Interaction (HCI).  Dr. Hirshfield’s research places her at the cutting edge of brain measurement in HCI, where she explores the use of non-invasive brain measurement to passively classify user states for uses in usability testing and adaptive system design.  She recently presented the first published paper on using functional near infrared spectroscopy for usability testing at the premier conference in the field of HCI, and she has authored and co-authored several other publications in this arena.  She collaborates closely with PhD’s in cognitive psychology, biomedical engineering, machine learning, and HCI.
In addition to her academic research, Dr. Hirshfield has worked for the MITRE Corporation in their Human-Systems Integration group, and for the Air Force, with a focus on brain measurements in HCI and its applications in the military domain. 

Student Researchers


Sam Hincks
Matt Russell
Rachel Ward
Tom Williams