Associate Professor, Program Director
Co-director, Wearable Technology Lab
office: 356 McNeal Hall
Co-director, Wearable Technology Lab
office: 354 McNeal Hall
Heidi is manager of the Wearable Technology Lab. She received a BS in apparel design from the University of Minnesota with minors in product design and environmental science. Outside of work, Heidi designs and sews clothing for her clothing brand. In her free time she enjoys reading, watching football, and dressing up her cats.
Mary Ellen is a PhD student in design for apparel studies. She completed both her bachelor’s in apparel design and master’s at the University of Minnesota. She has completed 3 summer internships at NASA Johnson Space Center in the Wearable Applications & Research Lab. Her research interests are e-textile manufacturing methods. In her rare free time, she enjoys making and wearing costumes at sci-fi conventions. She also enjoys looking up at the sky and gazing at jet streams with her cats.
Nicole Ciavarella is an undergraduate student studying material science and engineering. Her previous work involved characterizing SMA coils for future use in compression garments and other applications. She is interested in applying engineering techniques to apparel to create functional wear. Specifically, Nicole is interested in athletic wear. She hopes to someday design and produce swimwear for competition using material science. She is also a member of the Gopher swim team.
Crystal Compton is a PhD design student in apparel studies and product development. Her research interests and passions include: wearable technology, e-textiles, functional clothing design, thermal comfort, and supporting human spaceflight. She also works at Tactile Medical developing medical garments for lymphedema treatment. Crystal loves magic, running, mathematics, science, outer space, and design.
Ellen Dupler is a first year MS electrical engineering student. She completed her bachelor of material science and engineering at the University of Michigan, and worked for 5 years as a test engineer at John Deere. Her research interests include the development of new wearable systems, the materials and fabrication methods used, and shaping future human-computer interaction and user experience. Her projects in the lab are with thermal microclimates and soft exoskeletons. Her personal interests are traveling, reading, and drinking craft brews made from her brother-in-law at Barrel and Beam.
Esther is a PhD student in human factors and ergonomics. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering from Purdue University and Cornell University respectively. Her research interests include human factors aspects of medical/ healthcare products and human wearable technology interactions. She enjoys competitive ballroom dancing, designing ballroom dance costumes, dining, and traveling.
Nika is a master’s student in the apparel studies track in the people, history, and culture concentration. Her research interests are in the social, cultural, and psychological aspects of dress, with a specific focus on these aspects in relation to wearable technology. She received her BS in fashion merchandising with a minor in anthropology.
Noah Garon is a first year apparel design student. He has previously worked with Arduino and other coding software, and is interested in designing and making wearable technology products. In his free time you can find him sewing, working on DIY projects, and exploring his new home here in the Twin Cities.
Rachael is a master's student in apparel studies and NASA Space Technology Research Fellow. Before moving to Minnesota she worked as a research fellow for the Wyss Institute and Harvard University's BioDesign Lab developing wearable assistive and augmentative devices. Her current work focuses on the research and design of active compression garments. Her general interests are engineered knitwear and wearables that assist and/or augment human physiology and movement. Otherwise she loves yoga and cats.
Steven is an undergraduate student completing work towards a major in mathematics with a minor in chemistry. His research interests include e-textiles, fabric research and development, human-computer interaction, and general wearable technology. After completing his undergraduate degree, he plans on attending graduate school to further explore his research interests.
Md. Tahmidul Islam Molla is a PhD student in apparel studies at the University of Minnesota. He completed his master’s degree in textile and apparel management from the University of Missouri and his bachelor’s degree in textile engineering from Bangladesh University of Textiles. His research interests encompass wearable technology, textile engineering, and advanced manufacturing technology. His current work focuses on the development of manufacturing methods for e-textiles. He enjoys spending time with friends, sports, photography, volunteering, and traveling.
Kai Johnson is an undergrad pursuing degrees in bioproducts and biosystems engineering and apparel design. She is interested in advancing the use of technology and environmentally sustainable practices in the fashion industry. On campus, she is involved in Engineers Without Borders and conducts research in a nanotechnology lab. In her free time, Kai enjoys doing martial arts, gymnastics, and rock climbing.
J. Walter Lee is a first year MS student in human factors and ergonomics. He received a BA in psychology from the University of Minnesota. He previously worked in the e-learning sector of the U of M School of Public Health, as well as in the healthcare industry as a medical scribe in a hospital emergency department. His interests include wearable technology in medical settings, user experience design, and human-computer interaction. In his free time, Walter enjoys improving his sewing skills and visiting local museums.
Simon Ozbek is a master’s student in the human factors and ergonomics program. He received a BS in psychology and a minor in product design from the University of Minnesota. His research interests involve human factors aspects of pervasive and affective computing with human wearable technology. Outside of school, he enjoys a variety of DIY projects, reading, and 3D printing.
Robbie Pettys-Baker is a master’s student in the apparel studies program, in the people, history, and culture track. He received a BS in apparel design from the University of Minnesota. His research interests involve LGBTQ+ populations and their perceptions and influence on apparel. He spends his free time designing, sewing, and playing video games.
Nick is a master's student in electrical engineering, and is concurrently enrolled in NASA's Pathways Program at the Johnson Space Center. His academic interests include prototyping and designing circuits, human systems integration, and deciphering technical topics for anyone to understand. Outside of school and work, you will probably find Nick gliding at the nearest ice skating rink, swimming or fishing at a lake, or pretending to understand sports.
Sophia is pursuing a master's degree in apparel studies. She received her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Olin College and spent over a year working on audio-animatronics at Disney. Sophia's passion for merging engineering and fashion has brought her to the University of Minnesota and the Wearable Technology Lab. Her interests include sewing, cooking, traveling the world, and playing with her puppy, Guinness.
Cade Zacharias is a 4th year undergrad computer engineer. He has previously worked with 3D printing, micro-controllers, circuit analysis, and computer programming. His interests lie largely in the intersection of computing and physical interaction. Outside of the lab, he is active in the Capoeira Club, and he is musician in a local band.
Wearable Technology Lab
1985 Buford Circle
240 McNeal Hall (directions and maps)
1985 Buford Avenue