Helena Mentis in SIGCHI Leaders

Helena Mentis

Assistant Professor, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Helena is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), a faculty member in the Human-Centered Computing Graduate Program, a faculty member in the Interactive Systems Research Center, and the director of the Bodies in Motion Lab. Her research contributes to the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. and conversational platforms.



1. What is your role on the SIGCHI executive committee? Why are you interested in serving the community in this role?

I am the Executive Vice President. What this means is I support the President in shaping and leading the EC’s agenda and goals. I love this role as I have the opportunity to have impact in all of the activities the EC initiates.

(Link to bylaws)

2. What is the impact SIGCHI has on the HCI world?

One of the most important roles SIGCHI has is representing HCI within the ACM. SIGCHI is the second largest SIG and that means we have an important voice in how the ACM operates. For instance, ensuring that HCI is included as an important component of the ACM’s statement on computer science education.


3. How is SIGCHI essential for keeping and growing the HCI community?

SIGCHI as an organization is an umbrella for all of the different communities that are interested in how humans interact with technology. It works to our field’s advantage to join together and complement one another’s efforts.


4. Is there room for improvement in SIGCHI as an entity? How might we think about SIGCHI a bit differently?

Of course! Responding to different needs ensures that we can continue to grow. We have been making many changes these past two years just for this reason. One thing that we have been trying to improve is communication between our membership and the EC and other leadership entities. I would say that until I joined the EC, how SIGCHI was run and worked was pretty much a black box to me. I don’t think our membership should feel so cut off from the EC. The leadership are members of the community as well as there should be open and transparent functioning and communication.


5. What is your favourite part about being a SIGCHI member?

Feeling like I’m part of a greater community. This has been my academic home for close to 20 years now and I want to see it grow and expand its influence even more.


6. Write down 3 awesome reasons why everybody should be part of the SIGCHI community.

    1. Support other HCI researchers and students around world.
    2. Lend your voice to SIGCHI’s strength within the ACM.
    3. Contribute your work to advance HCI knowledge.


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