Joselyn McDonald

I am a data-driven, iterative, human-centered designer and researcher. 

My practice incorporates design research strategies, and social psychology theory and methods, to inform and evaluate my work. Currently, I'm in my third-year in the Human Computer Interaction Institute Ph.D program at Carnegie Mellon University and a research fellow in CMU's e-heart lab, directed by Dr. Geoff Kaufman. During the summer of 2018, I'll be joining the Facebook Design Research community, where I'll be considering how to support playful and meaningful forms of sharing. 

My primary research goal is to develop evidence-based strategies for incorporating humor and playfulness in human-computer interactions. My research is guided by the desire to design technologies for the 'whole-human', by meeting human emotional needs for play, delight, and desire for humor. As part of this work, I've been exploring and participating in meme-making culture across many US-based platforms. Understanding more about this digital participatory culture provides valuable insights about how humor functions in digital spaces. 


My creative practice incorporates a variety of media, including software, video, film, and electronics, in order to explore subjects of meaning to me. I have shown my work internationally and across the US, including at SXSW, The International Tangible Embedded Interaction Conference, Dartmouth's Workshop in the Woods, and Visions International Film Festival and Conference.

After earning a BA in film studies and production, I served as an Americorps VISTA. While volunteering, I developed a program that taught digital media literacy and storytelling to first generation and Native American students at Dartmouth College. This was the most meaningful work I've ever done, and I feel incredibly honored to have had the opportunity to work with First Nations communities across the United States for over two years. It was during this time that I began to engage with human-centered design work via a partnership with Dartmouth's Digital Arts department.

Following my time at Dartmouth, I earned an MFA in Design and Technology at Parsons the New School for Design. While working on my MFA, I cofounded blink blink creative circuits kits, an education technology startup. blink blink kits create fun and playful experiences with hardware for young women, by combining circuit-based projects with DIY, art, and fashion projects. 

I like to support community-based prosocial organization. I am the founder of FemTech (Design + Technology), co-founder of CMU's Design Assisted Radical Kindness (DARK), a founding member of the artist collective, Snaxx_and_Macs, and co-founder of the HCI Design Group at CMU. 

say hi : joselyn at cmu dot edu


Joselyn loves the following things (in no particular order):

Disobedient Technology


inclusion, diversity, and representation




the 'bruh' sound effect

Roller skating 

Soft - Circuits

Stop Motion Filmmaking

Cucalorus Film Festival


Computational Crafting

Wearable Technology

Super 8mm home movies

Raspberry Pi

Alt Servers



Malling Podcast