Alexandra To

PhD Candidate in HCI at Carnegie Mellon University

I use storytelling and design to illuminate patterns of racial oppression in technology.

I recently defended my PhD in HCI and am seeking both academic and industry positions!

Research Overview

I am a qualitative HCI researcher, designer, and social justice activist. In my work I use qualitative methods to explore and study experiences of marginalization. I then utilize design methods to empower people in marginalized positions.

I have additional experience with UX research, educational games research, and expert crowdsourcing research.

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PhD Thesis

"Empowering Uncertainty Resolution for Marginalized Populations"

My thesis focuses on how marginalization can harmfully amplify the negative impact of uncertainty. I focused on two contexts of marginalization: 1) STEM learning environments for female and/or students of color and 2) social coping with interpersonal racism for adults.

Download Thesis Proposal

Selected Research Projects

Several hands place sticky notes on a table at a PD workshop

Coping After Racist Experiences (CARE)

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Critical Race Theory for HCI

A table with a four-person board game laid out

Sensing Curiosity in Play and Responding (SCIPR)

An infinity-like diagram that demonstrates the game design process flow

Tandem Transformational Game Design

Many character images from the Arkham Horror game

Character Diversity for Digital and Non-Digital Games

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Flash Teams & Orgs


Get in touch with me to chat about research collaboration, speaking engagements, open positions you think I should consider, or to learn more about my work!

I am currently unable to take on new undergraduate or Masters students while I finish my PhD thesis. However, I'd be happy to chat or consult on a project you are leading! You may be interested in either of my advisor's labs, the OH! Lab (Dr. Jessica Hammer) or the eHeart Lab (Dr. Geoff Kaufman).

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Email: aato [at]