Sherry Yi

UX Researcher
Art hobbyist, animal & nature lover
perpetually curious



Works in Submission

Lane, H. C., Gadbury, M., Ginger, J.; Yi, S.; Comins, N., Henhalpl, J., Rivera-Rogers, A. (accepted for 2022). Triggering interest with Minecraft: Effects of a hybrid summer camp on STEM interest and engagement. Technology, Mind, and Behavior: Innovations in Remote Instruction.

Refereed Journal Articles

Yi, S. (2021). Playful learning in the 21st century: Motivational variables, interest assessment, and games. SN Social Sciences, 1(6).Yi, S. (2020). ‘Is this a joke?’: The delivery of serious content through satirical digital games. Acta Ludologica, 3(1), 18-30.Ma, S., Anderson, R. C., Lin, T.-J., Zhang, J., Morris, J. A., Nguyen-Jahiel, K., Miller, B. W., Jadallah, M., Scott, T., Sun, J., Grabow, K., Latawiec, B. M., & Yi, S. (2016). Instructional influences on English language learners' storytelling. Learning and Instruction, 49, 64-80.

Non-Refereed Journal Articles

Yi, S. (2021). A general guide to downloading, accessing, and implementing MinecraftEdu resources. The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. CUNY Academic Commons. Retweeted by Minecraft: Education Edition

Refereed Book Chapters

Yi, S. (2019). Beyond button smashing: Utilizing Minecraft and other video games as synchronous learning tools for science learning. In Yoon, J. & Semingson, P. (Eds.), Educational technology and resources for synchronous learning in higher education. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.Lane, H. C., & Yi, S. (2017). Playing with virtual blocks: Minecraft as a learning environment for practice and research. In F. C. Blumberg & P. J. Brooks (Eds.), Cognitive development in digital contexts. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.

Selected Published Proceedings

Yi, S., Yao, Y., & Maldonado, H. (2021, June). Studying interest during a pandemic: A case study of evaluating interest of young children through a tangible learning game. ACM Interaction Design and Children Conference..Yi, S., Gadbury, M., & Lane, H.C. (2021, June). Identifying and coding STEM interest triggers in an out-of-school learning context. Poster presentation at the 2021 International Society of the Learning Sciences. Bochum, Germany.Yi, S. (2020, November). What’s interesting and what’s not? Using learning contexts to inform educational videogame design. In Finding Your Place in the Learning Sciences Community (pp. 117-118). Madison, WI, USA: Learning Sciences Graduate Student Conference.Yi, S. (2020, June). World of motives: Seeking the “why” in videogame play. In M. Gresalfi & I. S. Horn (Eds.), The Interdisciplinarity of the Learning Sciences, 14th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2020, Volume 1 (pp. 493-496). Virtual Nashville, TN, USA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.Yi, S., & Krist, C. (2019, October). At work and in games: Case study of sandbox video game behavior reflecting work behavior. In J. H. Kalir & D. Filipiak (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2019 Connected Learning Summit Conference (pp. 230). ETC Press. Irvine, CA, USA: Connected Learning Summit.Yi, S. (2019, September). Chopped, learning scientist edition: Stimulating innovation, collaboration, and creativity through friendly competition. In Contexts, Complexity, and Communities: Reflecting on and Reshaping Research on Learning (pp. 299-300). Evanston, IL, USA: Learning Sciences Graduate Student Conference. Inspired two workshops ran by others, one at an university and the other in an office settingYi, S., Lane, H. C., & Delialioğlu, O. (2018, August). What if we were twice as close to the Sun? Interview findings from a science summer camp serving underrepresented youth. In F. Khosmood et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games. San Luis Obispo, CA, USA: Foundations of Digital Games. Long paper, 37.1% acceptance rate

Research Experience

2021 - 2022
Tangible Play Inc.
Mixed methods UX researcher

What-if Hypothetical Implementations in Minecraft
2017 - 2021
Lane Laboratory
Funded by the National Science Foundation 1713609 & 1906873

'Making' a Difference
2016 - 2017
Funded by the Illinois Learning Science Design Initiative

Class Projects

2016 - 2017
Mobile/Web Application

A Case of the Mondays
Desktop Game

Contest Events

Cold Business
Unreal Engine Prototype

Campus 1871 Finalist

Feedback Chicago
ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza (200 Selected Participants) – Chicago, IL– Chicago, IL
• Report issues and track the status and progress of community problems in a reimagined city mobile application.

SafeWalk 2.0, Finalist (Top 5 out of 25 teams)
ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week (200 Selected Participants) – Chicago, IL
• Builds on an existing system and integrates low-cost Bluetooth technology with student I.D.s and volunteer vests in areas with high level of crime and violence in Chicago.
• Mobile application and website records when students pass a volunteer ‘checkpoint’ to aid parents’ and guardians’ peace of mind.

Amber Lane: Online Campus Clothing Store
Cozad New Venture Competition (Pitch) – Champaign, IL
• A college exclusive e-market for women’s clothing that highlights events, communities, and businesses on a local level._

Personal Projects

2021 - Present
Retail Giftshop

Mobile Game Concept

Community Involvement

June 12, 2019
For Week of Possibilities, the interns at AbbVie's Innovation Lab visited the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club for a book reading session (image above).The Business Technology and Solutions Innovation Ambassador training in June at Lake County (image below) - learning that innovation sometimes happens when thinking inside the box!

Graduate Student Society
2017 - 2020
I founded GradSS as a response to a need. Graduate school can be an extremely isolating experience and there were no active social student organizations that welcomed students from all majors and backgrounds.The vision for GradSS is to create and sustain a long-lasting network of graduate students across departments and to promote interdisciplinary collaborations.

Graduate Student Conference: ' Education in Uncertain Times'
March 9, 2018
I led the 9th annual graduate student conference at the College of Education alongside 6 amazing colleagues (top image).We received submissions from all over the United States, as well as those in the U.K., Saudi Arabia, and India. Roughly one-third of the conference presenters came from off-campus locales, and eight lecturers joined the peer-reviewed event through online conferencing.This was one of the most logistically challenging events I've worked on. I'm very proud of how our team planned and executed the event.

American Cancer Society
2016 - 2021
My volunteer work with ACS mostly revolves around fundraising, the biggest being Harry Potter-themed events in the fall. We raised a total of $2,056 in 2017 from our second trivia event and $6,809 in 2018 from our first murder mystery dinner party.Every year I worked with 4 of the most talented, creative, and kind people from the community: Jill Rannebarger, Marijane Cronk, Chris McConkey, and Michael Giger. The team gives the venue a complete makeover, transforming from Elk's Lodge to Hogwarts overnight, and the majority of items sold at the event are entirely handmade.Chocolate frog or a Demeter’s Kiss, anyone?

Asian American Cultural Center Leadership Awards, 2014

Osmo / Tangible play inc.

Use tangible pieces to create a unique, hands-on learning experience.

Osmo combines physical play with innovative reflective AI technology, actively engaging children in the learning process.As a Mixed Methods UX Researcher, over the course of 1.5 years I led 18 projects and worked with Product, Design, and Marketing teams and leadership.My research contributed to the creation of 5 new game products and the revamp of 4 UI/UX designs.

My research insight has helped teams decide on key game features, product titles and descriptors, areas for improvement, and more.These insights were generated from polls, surveys, conjoint studies, interviews, focus groups.

Studying Interest During a Pandemic: A Case Study of Evaluating Interest of Young Children Through a Tangible Learning GamePoster | ACM conference proceeding

We conducted a study using Math Wizard and the Magical Workshop to examine interest in math of children ages 6 to 8 years old.Over a course of two weeks, volunteer families played Math Wizard for 15-minutes daily. We administered six surveys to measure participants' attitudes toward math at three time periods. The entire learning experience was conducted remotely.I was responsible for the design of the study, communication with families, and dissemination. For the analysis of interest and for the purposes of Cohen's Kappa, I trained two others unrelated to the project and we each coded 525 freeform responses.Hand-coded responses revealed that the greatest increase of interest triggered from Mid-to Post-Experience was 'Affect' from parents.

Getting a new piece of tech set up can be confusing and time consuming. My research reduced both.My solo effort on the Onboarding design revamp project led to increased account conversion by 1.4x from 2019 to 2021, increased overall initial game installs, and decreased bugs and glitches during the holidays. My research potentially impacted 30 million registered users and, subsequently, every parent that makes a new Osmo purchase.

Using performative benchmarks and KPI metrics, comparatively measured the health of games like the Little Genius Kit + Early Math Adventure (6 games total) and Genius Starter Kit + Family Game Night (7 games total).I made direct impacts on games like Math Wizard & the Magical Workshop and Fantastic Food Truck during their Alpha and Beta stages, as well as parent experiences like Parent App by informing Product teams about points of confusion and user needs.

How does Osmo work? What age is this product for? Why is there a "choking hazard" label?I've led projects that examine user perceptions of packaging for products like Osmo Super Studio Disney Princess and the Math Wizard series.

Other projects I've led are about product entering a new market, such as Byju's Learn Station, and new concepts in ambiguous spaces.Some projects that I'm most excited about have not yet been released to the public.


Your newest vegetable friend.

Pettuce are quirky, fun, and sentient vegetables.I designed the species and led a team of STEM undergraduates to turn Pettuce into a mobile pet collection application.The project was halted in its customer discovery phase.I would love to incorporate Pettuce into my work some way in the future.

My pixel art of different species


N.VSN (pronounced envision) is an educational mobile app for high school science learners.

Our goal is to engage students with the learning material through modern and affordable technology, such as virtual reality via Google Cardboard.We were among the finalists during Campus 1871, a weekend long startup competition of about 100 Midwest students. We were able to build a working prototype stimulating a VR surgery room, one that could be of use for pre-med or medical students.

A Case of the mondays

Find yourself as a cupcake office worker that ends up in sticky ethical work situations. every decision matters.

The game aims to challenge stereotypes we have on identity and raise player consciousness of incessant, everyday use of technology.I was responsible for the game's graphics and story development.A Case of the Mondays was my team's final project, with Sahil Kumar and Nicholas Linares, for EPSY590: Engaging and Interactive Educational Technologies taught by Dr. H. C. Lane.

The whole cast (from left to right): Muffin, Peach, Rubber Duckie, Cupcake, Pliers, Pancake

Excerpt from Script

CUPCAKE: Isn’t food dye harmless?MUFFIN [CUPAKE's boss]: That’s what I thought too, but not Redemn. I spoke with a doctor friend of mine and she told me it’s mold causing to foods like us. Once you have enough of Redemn in your system, you start to mold inside out.CUPCAKE: Mold causing? Isn’t that illegal?MUFFIN: It used to be. Redemn was banned back in the 1920’s, but they lifted the ban sometime after. I’m not sure why. Big Mama must’ve tapped into some source of Redemn to mass produce those cookies. A lot is riding on the line here, Cupcake. I’m talking hundreds of jobs. But a part of me knows this isn’t right. I can’t help but think, “What if my son ate those cookies?” We’re poured in so much time and resource into this project. I just don’t know.CUPCAKE's choices:
1.) You should do what’s right. Redemn should be banned.
2.) They don’t write in the job description, but… the company comes first, Boss.
3.) It’s okay. Not all questions have answers.

Demo day


Can't understand what's going on in a large lecture?
Tired of the professor speeding through slides?
Us too.

Turning disruption educational. Sidetalk is a back channel application that allows students to post questions in lectures real-time.It was designed for engineering courses at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where enrollment easily averages over 100 students per class.Alongside Sahil Kumar and Isha Dutta, our team developed a mobile interface prototype in CI 482: Social Learning and Multimedia taught by Dr. Mark Dressman. I was responsible for the storyboard for the UX/UI interface.

We tested the app with peers and friends to figure out what features were the most desired.

Improvements from Version 1 to Version 3:- Stoplights indicate how the students are following along during the lecture. Red indicates, "I'm lost!" while yellow is, "I sort of understand," and green equates "I understand."- The number of red’s, yellow’s, and green’s are automatically tallied for each slide. These numbers are available to the lecturer at the end of each lecture as part of the day’s dataset. - Students are now able to view and navigate through PowerPoint slides. Questions 1, 2, 3, and 4 are placeholders for text questions. - The chat feature highlights questions from students. The most popular questions appear on top.

The following semester, the team picked up the project again in CI 489: DELTA Capstone Project taught by Dr. Emma M. Mercier.Our previous instructor, Dr. Mark Dressman, kindly agreed to let us test Sidetalk his classroom of 80 undergraduate students. Our team conducted a series of interviews with Dr. Dressman, his teaching assistants, and our target audience.

Over the span of a semester, we ran multiple user testings to check the application’s design quality, practicality, and functionality.To our surprise, undergraduate students were more than willing to give us feedback on our idea.I revised the design accordingly to address issues such as anonymity and colorblindness.The furthest we developed the prototype was a website which allowed an URL to be uploaded beforehand and utilized a comment thread.

Cold Business

How is a business run? Why do businesses fail?

Cold Business is an educational desktop game created to support adolescent learning and to practice computational thinking, mathematical modeling, and entrepreneurship.Cold Business was the focus for my independent study with my Ph.D. thesis advisor Dr. H. C. Lane in Spring 2016 and submitted for Unreal Engine's Dev Grant.

Unlike games that focus on manual labor and purely satisfying customer needs, Cold Business brings the realities of running a business to the forefront.Players run their own ice cream shop complete with their own invented names and flavor combinations. In addition to providing adequate service to customers, the player must account for daily and yearly revenue and expenses such as the employee’s salary and tax.The mock prototype is powered by Unreal Engine and the game design is aligned with the Common Core standards and the National Content Standards for Entrepreneurial Education.

Gameplay:The player’s ice cream business sits next to two neighbors: a thriving business and a failing one. Students are encouraged to make observations on the business models present and the instructor may intervene to direct class discussions toward certain business topics.Future additions include customization of game space, hiring and managing A.I. employees, seasons that effect sales of certain items, the ability to sell coffee, drinks, and other additional items. The full document providing gameplay and curriculum details is available upon request.

Concept planning (left to right): Crafting station and ingredients, game features and behavior, and layout for the business interior