Teamwork: It’s not just for athletes.

Because when computer programmers work together to tackle society’s big issues, they’re able to solve some of the most pressing problems we face today in education, health care, energy, politics and more.

Yes, the issues that face our world are distinctly human problems. But computers can go a long way toward offering solutions.

Just ask School of Computing assistant professor Shaundra Daily, who pursued engineering degrees while participating in competitive dance. That diverse experience laid the groundwork for her current job, which includes improving the human condition from her Clemson University computing lab, called the MorphLab.

“If you look around, technology is everywhere, so that means students in our discipline have the opportunity to impact society by coming up with solutions to issues that affect our homes, our workplaces and our world,” Daily offers.

One of Daily’s latest projects includes working with young girls to design and research interactive technologies to support shifts in perspectives, attitudes, emotional dispositions and cognitive habits. The project has been backed by a $580K grant from the National Science Foundation.

The hope is that the Virtual Environment Interactions project will steer more girls toward computer science — a foundation for many fields of study. Fifth- and sixth-grade girls have their interest sparked in computers by learning to program three-dimensional characters that they can move beside or perform with. The project aims to direct the interest of an under-represented group toward much-needed computing careers, laying the foundation for innovative advances that contribute to economic growth and scientific advances.

“We want more diverse faces around the table, helping to come up with technological solutions to societal issues,” Daily explains. “So we’re working with girls to create more pathways to support their participation.”

That’s what human centered computing is all about: blending human needs with technological solutions. And that’s what Daily’s research pursues in earnest.

Says Daily: “What excites me most about this work is that we have the opportunity to tangibly impact people’s lives.”

Determined to leverage technology for improved living — Head On.