Bringing it all Together: My Senior Thesis

The Computer Science major offers two options to seniors: make a senior thesis or make a senior project. A thesis is typically more theoretical and involves research, and a project is typically more hands-on. Mine is interesting because it is a combination of both.

When I was in fifth grade, I volunteered at a local school for kids with disabilities called Bridge School, and then in high school I volunteered with Special Olympics and at the Stanbridge Academy for students with “mild to moderate learning differences and social communication disorders” where my mom works in the library. All of those experiences (as well as watching the TV show the Good Doctor) inspired me to want to develop applications to help people on the Autism spectrum.

The Good Doctor show, about a doctor with Asperger’s.

My mom sent me this image of a poster at her school meant to teach students to recognize and identify emotions, and that poster gave me the idea to digitize and gamify that very same design.

I’ve developed a series of web applications to teach emotions. The first web app uses static images, the second one uses gifs, and the third one uses video with sound. Each app has different levels (identifying emotions, guessing what someone might be thinking, and responding to a face), and I am currently working to see which type of graphic is better suited towards teaching emotions. I’m also working on an iOS application, but that has a separate login system and database.

A gif and chart show how a user performs after each level.

Early version of the iOS app

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been really neat to take this idea from the design sketch below, to the current version hosted on Digital Bryn Mawr at esiegle.digital.brynmawr.edu, where students can make their own personal websites or web applications. You can help me by going to that link above and answering the questions yourself! (although they are designed for people on the spectrum.)

This was my initial design sketch!

I’ve never done a project of this scale before, so I’ve learned a lot about organizing and cleaning up code, implementing a variety of APIs (I use Twilio, PubNub, Cloudinary, and Giphy), as well as different languages and libraries (I use Python, Swift, JavaScript and JQuery, HTML and CSS, and more. I’m so grateful to my Senior Seminar advisor and the department chair Dianna Xu, my thesis advisor and Haverford professor John Dougherty, and my classmates who have reviewed and edited my (now thirty-page) paper.

I can’t believe I’ll be presenting my thesis in a few weeks! Time to get back to it. What was your senior thesis?

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