Spotlight on Maria C.R. Harrington


photo of Maria C.R. Harrington

Maria C.R. Harrington Profile

"Creating environments conducive to educational success by encouraging intrinsic learners, supporting creative problem solving and empowering students to construct, design and invent elegant and efficient solutions."

Maria C.R. Harrington is currently a Teaching Fellow and a Ph.D. student in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh .  Since the spring term of 2000, she has been an Adjunct Professor / Visiting Lecturer in the department, teaching Human Computer Interaction (1052) and the Introduction to Information Science (0010) classes to undergraduates.  She is committed to teaching and it shows: One former student said, "HCI? Harrington's class? Didn't you just love it! Wasn't that the best! I use everything she taught."

Harrington said, "The educational sector is wonderful, because you are in a position to empower the next generation. Teaching is a pure joy! As a HCI professional with over ten years of experience in the financial and C 3 I technology market places, and as an entrepreneur with educational consulting exposure, I have tremendous practical knowledge to share with my students. My teaching objective is to consistently achieve excellence with every student. Some of the questions I ask myself are: Did the student learn something of real value? Will they be a more successful and self-actualized person as a result? Did I have a substantial and positive impact?"

Maria started her Ph.D. in Information Sciences in the spring term of 2003. She said, "My young daughter started first grade, and so it was time to consider future paths and career directions. I knew that I could return to the corporate world or I could continue to teach. Earning a Ph.D. would give me the credibility I would need to make a career in higher education. It was the clearly the best choice. I can balance my intellect and my heart on this road. Furthermore, I knew that my creativity would be a great asset in a research environment. Lastly, I am deeply honored and grateful to be in a position where I have the opportunity to learn from the faculty at SIS, they are truly unique, exceptional, and are in my opinion the best people in the world."

I hope to finish my Thesis by next spring, 2006. My current research focus is on formalizing complex HCI models that can be used for collaboration, education and virtual / augmented realities, especially those that are simulated virtual environments of the natural world. I am enchanted by the possibility of creating simulated virtual ecological environments for education, art and research. The research may focus on answering questions about what combinations of tools are needed to help the child independently explore an environment, develop insights, encourage creative problem solving, and to intrinsically seek knowledge.

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