2017 November

NOVEMBER 20, 2017

Public Policy Matters

House Passes Tax Reform; Senate Bill Advances
By Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC

Inside HFES

The Issue Is HFES Membership
By Valerie J. Berg Rice, HFES President

The Issue Is HFES Strategic Goals
By Valerie J. Berg Rice, HFES President

Transition, Growth, and New Leadership
By Julie Freeman, Interim Executive Director

Get Ready to Submit Your HFES 2018 Annual Meeting Proposal

Nominations for HFES Fellows Are Invited

Register for the 2018 Health-Care Symposium

List Your Consulting and Expert Witness Services

The Mentoring Game at HFES 2017
By Dan Moon, Cornell University; Valarie Yerdon, University of Central Florida;
and Merle Lau, Ruhr-University Bochum


2017 Technical Group Awards

Other News

HFES Members Help Create Technical Standards Through ASTM International
By Pat Picariello, Director, Developmental Operations, ASTM International


Public Policy Matters 

House Passes Tax Reform; Senate Bill Advances

By Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC

On November 16, the House of Representatives passed H.R 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, by a vote of 227-205. The bill passed with no Democratic votes and with 13 Republicans voting against the bill. Also on November 16, the Senate Committee on Finance passed its own version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on a 14-12 party-line vote. The full Senate will take up the bill after Thanksgiving. The process continues to be almost exclusively Republican-driven. Once the Senate passes its version, a conference committee would be needed to develop a bill that could pass both chambers.


Significant differences remain between the Senate and House bills. The House bill would consolidate individual tax brackets into four, whereas the Senate bill retains seven brackets that would expire after eight years. Each bill treats small business tax liability and the estate tax differently. Perhaps the most significant difference is the repeal of the insurance individual mandate included in the Senate version, which is absent in the House’s version. Both bills eliminate the deduction for state and local income tax, though the House bill preserves an itemized property tax deduction.


Some Republican members of Congress have indicated that they might be willing to push for amendments and other changes to the tax packages that have an impact on students, higher education institutions, and nonprofits. Institutions concerned about specific proposals − such the elimination of education tax incentives, the proposed excise tax on endowments, the elimination of private activity bonds, changes to charitable giving, and modifications to unrelated business income tax − should continue to weigh in with their congressional representatives. Additionally, outreach by HFES members and concentrated outreach by constituencies such as graduate students is critical as the process continues to gain momentum.


In response to concerns about tax reform impacts on graduate students, HFES joined more than 50 leading scientific societies in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging them to preserve graduate student tax benefit provisions. As the Senate begins debate on its proposal, HFES anticipates joining with the scientific community on similar advocacy efforts on behalf of its membership.


Summarized below are the provisions in the House and Senate proposals most likely to affect students, institutions of higher education, and other nonprofits.


Education Benefits and Credits

Where they differ: The House proposes the elimination of the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning Credits and creates a modified American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). The House version would also eliminate Section 117(d), which enables institutions to provide tuition reductions or waivers to employees and their dependents and, under 117(d)(5), to graduate students. This would create a new tax liability for institutions and students.


The Senate version maintains the deduction for student loan interest and does not make changes to student education tax credits or education savings plans (Coverdell, 529s). Additionally, the Senate version maintains workforce educational benefits eliminated in the House proposal, including Sections 117(d) and 127.


Main impacts: The House version would harm part-time students, graduate students, and lifetime learners. It would create a new tax on many graduate students, in some cases doubling their tax liability. Students would also lose the ability to deduct student loan interest payments. The Senate version maintains many of the current education benefits and is significantly preferable to the House version.


Charitable Contributions

Where they differ: Both versions propose expanding the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married filers; the Senate version maintains a head-of-household filing status. The House version phases out the estate tax, whereas the Senate version expands the exemption and maintains the tax. Both versions also eliminate the charitable deduction of 80% of the amount paid for the right to purchase tickets for athletic events.


Main impacts: The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) has estimated that these changes would reduce the total number of charitable contributions deducted in 2018 by nearly $100 billion. Additionally, JCT estimates that the number of taxpayers claiming the charitable deduction will drop from roughly 40 million to 9 million. The charitable giving community has been advocating for a universal above-the-line deduction that would enable all filers to deduct charitable contributions


Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)

Where they differ: The House version clarifies that the exclusion of income from fundamental research for tax-exempt organizations applies only when the results are freely available to the public. The Senate version contains more expansive changes to UBIT, including a proposal to treat income from licensing of any name or logo of the organization as an unrelated trade or business income.


Additionally, tax-exempt organizations would be required to calculate each unrelated business activity, requiring all losses and gains to be calculated by activity rather than in the aggregate. Organizations would no longer be able to offset a deduction from one business activity from income from a different unrelated business activity in the same taxable year. Both versions would subject nonprofits to taxes on the value of providing their employees with certain fringe benefits, such as transportation benefits.


Main impacts: Nonprofits are not opposed to paying taxes for unrelated business income. However, these changes will create additional tax and administrative burdens, leading to fewer resources for serving students.


Excise Tax Based on Investment Income of Private Colleges and Universities

Where they differ: Both the House and Senate versions contain a provision that would subject certain private colleges and universities to a 1.4% excise tax on net investment income. The provision would apply only to private colleges and universities that have at least 500 students and assets of at least $250,000 per full-time student. Public institutions would not be subject to the provision. The Senate version also contains a provision that would consider assets held by an organization related to the institution.


Main impacts: Endowments give schools the ability to fund undergraduate scholarships, student services, research, and patient care. Including a tax on educational institutions sets an unwelcome precedent.


Private Activity Bonds (PABs) and Advanced Refunding Bonds

Where they differ: The House version eliminates private activity bonds; both versions eliminate advanced refunding bonds (refunding bonds issued more than 90 days before the redemption of the refunded bonds).


Main impacts: Private activity bonds are often used by nonprofits to finance capital projects such as classrooms, lecture halls, and energy plants. The ability to access PABs and advanced refunding bonds is a critical financing tool for nonprofits.


Other Areas of Concern

The House version eliminates the historic rehabilitation tax credit, and the Senate version would reduce the expenses eligible for the credit. Both versions would subject tax-exempt organizations to a 20% excise tax on executive compensation that is in excess of $1 million paid to any of its five highest-paid employees. The House version also includes a change to the exclusion of housing benefits from tax liability. The House made a change to the Johnson Amendment, which would permit 501(c)(3) organizations to endorse or oppose political candidates.


Final Thoughts

The tax process is moving quickly, although many obstacles remain. Deficit concerns, debates over deductions, and other differences could all sink the process. We have seen Congress respond to pressure from the higher education and nonprofit communities. Examples include changes in the calculation of the endowment excise tax on private colleges to target fewer schools and the acknowledgement by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brady of the need to make changes to the tax treatment of tuition assistance. A final package may emerge from the Senate or be hashed out in conference.


HFES will continue to monitor developments and provide updates to its members as necessary.


Sources and Additional Information

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, a leading Washington, D.C.-based government relations and consulting firm, represents the public policy interests of scientific societies and institutions of higher education. Lewis-Burke's staff of about 20 government relations professionals works to promote the federal research and policy goals of HFES and the HF/E community.

Inside HFES

The Issue Is HFES Membership

By Valerie J. Berg Rice, HFES President

               Valerie J. Berg Rice

HFES will exist only as long as there is sufficient membership and funding to keep the Society functioning. HFES membership has been decreasing slowly, as is the case in many professional societies. This year, I challenge our current membership to bring like-minded professionals into our sphere.

We have professional education programs in human factors/ergonomics, and individuals who practice our profession full time, yet there are individuals in every profession that exists who would like to improve their products, places, procedures, and processes. Invite them. Sponsor them. Mentor them. Invite them to join in your network, to attend your meetings, or merely to think about design in a new way. Put together a symposium for the conference or teach a preconference class. Perhaps their presence will encourage an entirely new group of practitioners. This is, in part, how we HF/E professionals have moved into every new area of practice, including health care, cyber security, and designing for children.

Consider why you are a member of HFES and what you hoped to gain. Help us, as a professional society, to meet your needs and expectations if we have not done so. Help us by volunteering or even by simply communicating to us what you find most (or least) beneficial.

People join a professional society to enhance their network, take charge of their career, and broaden their knowledge. I believe people also join to communicate with like-minded individuals, as sometimes our families and coworkers don’t completely understand our work! I believe we join and participate in a professional society to get new ideas and stay fresh within the field. I think we join in order to identify new places and people to work with, enabling us to move up in the profession or prevent possible unemployment. I believe we join to receive (and to offer) encouragement from one another about our work and our place in society.

After attending an HFES meeting, I always return to my home and work

  • Proud of what I am doing

  • With at least one new idea for research or implementation/intervention

  • Amazed and impressed with the work others are doing

  • With at least one new colleague whom I really enjoy talking/sharing with

  • Wanting to share some of what I’ve learned with local colleagues and friends.

I challenge each of you to identify others and invite them to join us in our collective approach to improving the world through human-centered design. I invite you to share your outreach to students, colleagues, or friends by letting us know what you have done. Let’s make this Society, this profession, and this approach an even stronger force than it is right now. I look forward to hearing from you and I look forward to welcoming you (and whoever you invite) into this great profession!

Inside HFES 

The Issue Is HFES Strategic Goals

By Valerie J. Berg Rice, HFES President

For the last two years, under the guidance of Past Presidents Bill Marras and Nancy Cooke, HFES has joined in examining how we, as an organization and as professionals, address the questions posed by the National Science Foundations’ Big Ideas and the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges. During this year’s HFES Annual Meeting, we asked presenters to tell us where their work fits within the themes of Sustainability, Health, Security, and Joy of Living proposed in the Grand Challenges of Engineering in the 21st Century. The results are as follows:

Sustainability – 18
Joy of Living – 29
All of the Above – 31
Vulnerability – 57
Human Health – 186
None of the Above – 356

Approximately half of the presentations (53%) did not address the four themes of large societal issues. Yet, this is good news, as nearly just as many did address them! In addition, I contend that addressing design issues that help a product, place, process, or procedure match human capabilities and limitations so that it is more efficient, effective, easier to use, and improves safety and/or performance ultimately makes the world a better place. I know that even having work-related software that is easier to use increases my Joy of Living!

With these ideas in mind, the Executive Council reviewed and renewed the HFES strategic goals for the first time since 2010 (see the box below). Note that Goals A, C, D, and E involve increasing our reach and relevance through collaboration, and that Goal A specifically addresses current and emerging societal problems. Addressing the world’s micro and macro issues through creating and matching new and modernized technologies with the human is what we do, it is what we are good at, and it is a noble set of goals and aspirations. Although one would think the age-old issue of including usability testing (with actual users) and considering people during development phases for products and processes would be standard by now, it is not so.

Therefore, as HF/E professionals, we continue to press forward the “cause” of building structures that are at once functional, strong, and protective and that support physical and psychological health; creating pathways that let users move with ease through physical or digital routes; and generating technologies that diminish human frailties. We do this through collaboration with individuals from other fields, so that our competencies complement one another and together we create more than we could in isolation.

I invite you to read through the HFES Strategic Goals and to think about what you do every day. I encourage you to see the greater good that comes from your work. As a former Army officer and president of HFES, I suggest you “stand proud” about what you do. Finally, I propose that you ask others (students, colleagues, other professionals) to join you in making the world a better place “by design.”


HFES Strategic Goals − Revised 2017
Goal A. Advance the science and practice of HF/E to address current and emerging societal problems.

Objective 1. Identify the salient societal challenges, the system requirements, and the implications of HF/E in those challenges.

Objective 2. Identify opportunities for the science and practice of HF/E to address societal solutions.

Objective 3. Expand HF/E into new domains that would benefit from its science and practice.

Goal B. Promote the education of HF/E science, methods, and applications.

Objective 1. Provide continuing education forums for HF/E professionals.

Objective 2. Provide HF/E training forums for non-HF/E professionals.

Objective 3. Provide access to HF/E educational materials.

Objective 4. Provide specialized HF/E forums for students and members.

Objective 5. Ensure the structure and content of the Annual Meeting, and other specialized meetings, are relevant and current.

Objective 6. Maintain and review criteria for high-quality HF/E higher education programs.

Goal C. Promote the evaluation and exchange of information among HF/E researchers, educators, and practitioners, along with opportunities for professional growth and collaboration.

Objective 1. Provide forums where HF/E researchers, educators, and practitioners can easily interact.

Objective 2. Provide forums for HFES members that address business development, research development, and the application of HF/E.

Objective 3. Provide guidance to local and student, chapters to facilitate networking activities.

Objective 4. Provide formal and informal mentoring programs and activities for HFES members at all stages of their careers.

Goal D. Promote awareness about the distinct value of HF/E to the general public, industry, other societies, and government.

Objective 1. Develop materials regarding the positive impact of HF/E for the general public.

Objective 2. Develop examples of the economic value of HF/E for government and industry officials, and publication in industry and management journals, on Web sites, blogs, and other sources of information.

Objective 3. Promote the importance of HF/E as a scientific priority research proposal announcements, applications, and review panels by government agencies, foundations, industry trade associations, and professional societies.

Objective 4. Provide information to government officials and their staff on issues important to the HFES.

Goal E. Increase HF/E reach and relevance through multidisciplinary collaboration.

Objective 1. Enhance other disciplines’ understanding of HF/E through multidisciplinary collaboration.

Objective 2. Create and foster an environment that encourages and facilitates multidisciplinary collaboration and integration of solutions into large societal issues.

Objective 3. Provide topic-centric forums to encourage multidisciplinary collaboration.

Goal F. Increase diversity across the Society, including the membership and leadership, and participation in conferences and publications.

Objective 1. Identify diversity gaps and needs within HF/E.

Objective 2. Assess and address the experience across under-represented groups engaged in Society events.

Objective 3. Provide diversity education and guiding principles for the Society.

Objective 4. Develop programs that target underrepresented populations and encourage participation in HFES.

Objective 5. Identify individuals from underrepresented groups that can be mentored or trained to increase diversity across the Society leadership.

Objective 6. Increase the diversity of nominees from under-represented groups for leadership positions, awards, and Fellow status.

Inside HFES 

Transition, Growth, and New Leadership

By Julie Freeman, Interim Executive Director

                   Julie Freeman

With Lynn Strother’s retirement on October 27, HFES has entered a new era. The office that she occupied for more than 30 years is being filled by someone new. And that someone is me—Julie Freeman. For the next several months, I will be serving as interim executive director. In case you are wondering about me and what I will be doing while serving in this capacity, I would like to introduce myself.

It is a great honor for me to serve as the HFES interim executive director. Like many people, I thought that ergonomics meant only the ideal design for an office chair. I had no idea about all the applications of human factors/ergonomics research. I will never become an expert about this field, but I am excited to learn more about its contributions.

First, an admission—I am not a scientist or researcher. Originally a communications professional, I worked for more than 25 years as a full-time association executive. Since 2013, I have worked as an interim executive director.

Association work is both gratifying and challenging. It is gratifying because it is a people profession. Professionals seek membership societies because they want to grow professionally. When an association provides the content and community that they seek, they become loyal members and sometimes even accept leadership positions.

But membership societies also face a number of challenges. They must continually offer affordable, accessible, valuable member programs. Professionals no longer join just because it is the thing to do. They are constantly asking the question, “What’s in it for me?” The membership society had better be ready to provide a convincing answer.

My first task as interim executive director is to work with staff to ensure that the HFES programs you value—the publications and conferences—maintain their quality and relevance. We need to be sure that you can access the information you seek on the Web site. Our new site—like all new sites—is both an upgrade and a work in progress. We are working to fix any bugs that have been discovered since the site was launched. And staff will continue to answer your questions and respond to service requests in a timely and helpful fashion.

HFES will also continue its relationship with Lewis-Burke, a Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm. Since 2014 Lewis-Burke has worked with government agencies and legislators to raise the profile of the Society, its members, and the profession among federal policy makers. It seeks to preserve funding for human factors and ergonomics science and ensure that members have a meaningful impact on federal public policy.

Maintaining program quality is a priority, but it is only one of my responsibilities. I will also be working with the staff and Executive Council to ensure the Society’s continued financial viability. Are there new programs HFES should consider adding? Or any current ones that we should abandon? How can we raise the visibility of the profession among the general public? Can we organize our operations to be more efficient and cost-effective?

No, I don’t have a magic wand, nor a box of sure-fire solutions. But I do have two ears, and I plan to use them. I have been listening to the ideas of the staff and the Executive Council; I am open to any ideas that you, as a member, would like to offer about the programs and services you want your professional society to offer.  With the ideas I collect from members, HFES staff and leaders, as well as other association professionals, I will present some options to the Executive Council as they make decisions about the Society’s future.

Thank you for your continued membership and support of HFES. I have been impressed with the many members who volunteer their time to work in committees, chapters, technical groups, and other leadership positions. That volunteer involvement is one of HFES’s strengths. It ensures that members’ voices help to shape our programs.

In the coming months, please feel free to share your ideas with me (julie@hfes.org) about how HFES can provide the services you seek from your professional association. And I hope that we could work together to implement the ideas with most promise. Together we can build on the Society’s success to make it an even more valuable Society for its members.

Inside HFES 

Get Ready to Submit Your HFES 2018 Annual Meeting Proposal

The Call for Proposals for the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on October 1-5, 2018, will be posted on the HFES Web around the third week of December. All members and nonmembers are invited to submit their work for consideration.

The deadline for submitting any type of proposal is February 5, 2018. The proposal should be up to five formatted pages, as specified in the Call for Proposals. Papers that have been published previously or presented at another professional meeting may not be submitted.

All research and analyses described in your proposal must be complete at the time the proposal is submitted. The sole exception to this policy is for student work submitted for consideration in the Student Forum track, in which case the proposer may report on work in progress.

Note that for all accepted submissions, one of the authors must attend the meeting to present the work. All presenters are required to pay the meeting registration fee.

Authors of accepted proposals will have the option to print a full paper or an extended abstract in the Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2018 Annual Meeting. HFES requires a transfer of copyright unless the work was performed by employees of the U.S. or other government, or if 100% of the work was performed under government contract. However, the author may reuse the material for any purpose without restriction or fee.

We look forward to receiving your submission and to seeing you in Philadelphia!


Inside HFES  

Nominations for HFES Fellows Are Invited

The Fellows Selection Committee invites nominations for Fellows to be elected in 2018. "Fellow" is a special class of Society membership, as established in the Bylaws, Article I, Section 4. Individuals may apply for Fellow status on their own behalf, or they may submit a nomination on behalf of another.

Election to Fellow status is an honor that recognizes outstanding achievement, consistently superior professional performance, exceptional contributions, service to the Society, and other meritorious accomplishments. Any Full Member of the Society in good standing (except members of the Fellows Selection Committee) may apply or nominate by completing the application forms for Fellow.

The Fellow Nomination Package — including instructions, nomination and recommendation forms, and supporting information — may be obtained from the Fellows application page. Please note that some updates have been made to the forms, so be sure to use the ones with "11-14-17" in the file name. You may also contact HFES Director of Member Services Carlos de Falla. The completed package (nomination form, recommendation form, candidate's vitae or résumé, and supporting documentation) must be received at the HFES Central Office on or before February 1, 2018.

Inside HFES 

Register for the 2018 Health-Care Symposium

Online registration and hotel reservations are now available for the 2018 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care, which will be held March 26–28 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place in Boston, Massachusetts. Register today and book your room to take advantage of the special nightly rate of $250 (single/double).

Now in its seventh year, the symposium offers a unique opportunity for attendees from across the health-care industry, academia, consulting, and regulatory agencies to engage in discussions about emerging issues in health care, the challenges facing us in the near future, and how human factors/ergonomics researchers can meet those challenges and work to improve and advance patient safety. Several workshops are also being offered (separate registration) to provide even more expertise in health-care human factors/ergonomics.

Inside HFES 

List Your Consulting and Expert Witness Services

HFES is pleased to provide a searchable directory of HF/E consultants and expert witnesses. If you're a current Full Member or Fellow who provides these services, HFES invites you to purchase a listing in the online Consultants Directory, which is freely available to anyone who visits hfes.org.

The fees for an annual listing are $150 for individuals and $250 for companies; listing renewal rates are $100 for individuals and $200 for companies. A company must have at least two HFES Full Members or Fellows on full-time staff.

If you are a current HFES member and would like to place a listing, log in to your HFES account and select "Create a Consultant Listing" on your Welcome page. If you have any questions, please contact the Member Services Department at membership@hfes.org or 310/394-1811.

Inside HFES 

The Mentoring Game at HFES 2017

By Dan Moon, Cornell University; Valarie Yerdon, University of Central Florida; and Merle Lau, Ruhr-University Bochum

From left to right: Logan Clark, Shanqing “SQ” Yin, Kelly Neville, and Kermit Davis


Kicking off the student experience of the 2017 Annual Meeting was a special event during Student Career and Professional Development Day. A spin-off of the popular TV show The Dating Game was the focus of attention for this session, called “The Mentoring Game.” It featured three students (mentee contestants) who each presented several questions to three potential mentors, forming a pool of nine mentor contestants. The audience witnessed three rotations during the session, with a clear view of the mentor-mentee contestants. The identity of the mentor contestants was hidden from the potential mentors by a partition.

The first contestant, Logan Clark from the University of Central Florida, introduced himself to the audience and took his seat before three mentors, Kermit Davis (University of Cincinnati), Kelly Neville (Soar Technology), and Shanqing “SQ” Yin (KK Women's and Children's Hospital), took theirs. When asked to describe what mentoring meant to him, Logan stated a mentor provides “guidance for the journey.” Questions presented to the mentor contestants included the following:

  • Can you describe your work? Where do you find the most enjoyment and fulfillment?

  • What do you see as long-term gains from having mentors?

  • If you weren’t in human factors, what would you do?

  • What would you say is your mentoring style?

  • What would you say is the hardest thing to overcome as an HF professional?

  • Which amusement park ride best describes your approach to mentoring? Ferris wheel, roller coaster, bumper cars, or carousel? Explain.

Kermit stated he is an occupational ergonomist who values mentoring students because he finds it rewarding to direct them to places where, in time, they themselves become leaders and productive members within their career field. Mentoring promotes success in the HF profession and in the work environment. If he wasn’t in HF, he would pursue a career in aerospace engineering, where he could potentially go to space. He said prefers a more hands-on approach because he enjoys direct involvement in his mentees’ progression. Demonstrating perseverance, despite the difficulties of competition, was the hardest challenge he faced, as well as becoming established in a very competitive field and overcoming the pressures in academia for a professor. His interest in aerospace engineering was a significant factor in his ability to keep up with advances in technology. When asked what kind of amusement park ride would best describe him, Kermit replied, “a carousel, guiding people through the ups and downs, round and round.”

Kelly noted that her career focuses on training and human-technology interfaces. If not in HF, she said she would work in a different psychology field. She enjoys working with experts and learning about what expertise looks like in different fields. Kelly most values facilitating collaborations in her line of work. Her mentors—the people who gave her opportunities and encouragement—helped her to achieve success. Kelly’s mentorship style, she said, is to treat mentees as peers and work with them as collaborators and colleagues. Two persistent challenges have been transitioning her work into real-world operations and getting studies of real-world work to be accepted as valid research. If she were to describe herself as an amusement park ride, Kelly said she would be a “roller coaster…embracing the fear” and enjoying a ride with a lot of variety.

Logan’s final mentor contestant was SQ, a humorous individual with a focus on the health-care industry. If not in HF, SQ said he would have been an aerospace engineer. He finds value in “working in an area where my work can help with medical practices with children. I enjoy seeing my work reflected in the increased safety of children.” SQ perceives “learning English” as his hardest challenge. On a more serious note, he stated that discovering personal identity and drive was the true challenge. Throughout his career, SQ found that having different mentors and the ability to ask them different questions was his most valuable experience.

SQ feels his approach to mentoring is hands-off. He believes advice should be more about introducing possibilities, rather than direct instructions, and also about encouraging experiences through experimentation and networking. When asked about what amusement park ride he would be, SQ responded, “bumper cars, because of the value in interaction and discourse.”

At the end of the first round, Logan chose Kermit to be his mentor

The second mentee contestant was Elnaz Amiri from San Jose State University. The three mentor contestants were Andy Dattel (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), Ashley Hughes (University of Illinois), and Frank Lacson (Pacific Science & Engineering Group). When asked for her personal definition of a mentor, Elnaz replied, “A guide through a rough journey, to reduce the bumps.” She presented these questions to the mentor contestants:

  • What gives you passion about your job every day?

  • What would you say is the largest obstacle I may face?

  • If you were not an HF professional, what would you do?

  • What type of mentor would you say you are?

  • Which is more important for a successful mentoring relationship? The match between the mentor and mentee in terms of research interests, or with regard to communication style and personality? 

Andy said he loves the daily uncertainty of his career, in the sense that every day is exciting. He relishes working with students and their curiosity – seeing their progression and development. As the hardest challenge he had to face, Andy claimed it was dealing with change and being able to adapt, knowing it’s going to be okay. From his perspective, the expectations that continued to fluctuate throughout his career were very difficult.

Andy’s mentorship style is advice-driven, where he would rather avoid spoon-feeding solutions to his mentees. A mentor helps navigate the bumps, but students must learn to overcome challenges on their own. A successful relationship between a mentor and mentee, Andy believes, lies in a gray area, especially if it did not appeal to the mentee's own research interests. As such, finding the right relationship in terms of research interest is as important as the compatibility of personalities. Andy stated another career he considered was to be a Broadway actor.

In her responses to the questions, Ashley said she loves that her work will make a difference and will have an impact in applied problem-solving areas, particularly in health care. She was a first-generation college student, so her hardest challenge was finding a sense of professional identity. She believes in a hands-off approach to mentorship, but only after she has determined that a foundational skillset had been established by the mentee. Ashley said her style of mentoring was that of a “wooden rollercoaster,” where she prepares and builds up her mentees’ skills first, and then lets them go on to learn and grow. For a successful mentor-mentee relationship, she stated, both communication style and personality compatibility are important. When asked what other career prospects she considered, Ashley answered that looking back now, it would have been gastroenterology; but at the time, she probably would have gone into sales.

Frank said that enjoys conducting HF outreach to the user groups that he encounters in his industry position: from end users starting off their career to established professionals and their perception of what is HF (and what it isn’t). Linking HF benefits to system stakeholder objectives is a particularly challenging, yet exciting, aspect of his job. The most challenging part of Frank’s professional life, he related, is to become self-aware of changes in his strengths and weaknesses and to accept that failure is a great learning experience.

Frank noted that he approaches mentoring as a two-step process: providing lessons learned and best practices for putting out the fires in life, and stablishing a flexible strategy once a clear mind occurs from applying the previous step. For a successful mentor-mentee relationship, he said, combining different experiences and different personalities is important because of the new insights people can learn from one another. If he did not have his current career, Frank would have become a cook (one of his hobbies) or a decision-making researcher.

At the end of the second round, Elnaz chose Frank to be her mentor.
Our final contestant, Dominique Engome Tchupo from the University of Rhode Island, had to choose among Arathi Sethumadhavan (Core Human Factors), Richard Holden (Indiana University), and Farzan Sasangohar (Texas A&M University). Dominique described a mentor as “Someone who will push you, has a similar path, and will guide you to places you don’t know of.” Dominique presented the following questions to each mentor:

  • Describe your work and what you like best about it.

  • What have you valued most from your mentors?

  • Outside of HF, what are your spare-time hobbies?

  • What would you say is a quality a mentee should have?

  • What is your preferred method of communication and your mentorship style?

Arathi responded that she is a health-care consultant who loves that her work in human factors has an impact on the lives of patients and their caregivers worldwide. She believes a great mentor becomes one’s trusted adviser and helps one to navigate crucial career and life situations. The one quality she expects her mentees to have is drive. Arathi thinks mentees should make the most of their time with their mentors by having clear agendas and discussion points prior to meetings. She believes in a hybrid hands-on/hands-off approach, wherein she likes to make herself accessible whenever her mentee needs her but expects the mentee to take the initiative and plan the meetings. Arathi said she prefers communicating over the phone with her mentees. As for her passion outside of work, she replied “exploring an unfamiliar city in a new country where I don’t speak the language."

Rich is involved in academia and industry, specifically in the realm of health care. His noted that his work focuses on transforming health care through technology, through which he loves to interact with people dealing with vulnerable situations and also in everyday lives.

Rich said he believes in a mentorship style in which he puts mentees first as well as pushes, directs, and guides them to make amazing contributions to the field. His mentorship style involves “choice identification,” where no answers are given to the mentee, only options. Rich finds value in being a role model himself. An important quality he seeks in a mentee is the ability to find comfort with discomfort. What do they do when the roadmap is uncertain, new, and challenging? Rich said his preferred communication method is face to face interaction. His hobbies include outdoor activities, board games, nerdy tech games, and reading.

Farzan works in academia, he noted, and his research focuses on personnel performance as well mental and physical health in the health-care domain to advance the goal of improving patient safety. He loves working in an intellectual community, interacting with bright students, and contributing to their development.

Farzan’s mentorship style to focus strongly on long-term goals; he encourages his mentees to look far into the future as a way to encourage them and take the stress off short-term goal management. The primary qualities he seeks in a mentee are being coachable, playful with ideas, enthusiastic, approachable, and having the ability to listen to constructive feedback. He communicates with his mentee using any method. Farzan’s interests outside his professional life include travel, spending time with his kids, and watching sports.

At the end of the third round, Dominique chose Rich to be her mentor.

All three mentor-mentee pairs received a Starbucks gift card to continue their conversation during the meeting. The Mentoring Game session was both informative and entertaining. The student audience gained perspectives on mentoring from the questions asked by the mentees and the answers from the mentors. The response to this first-ever mentoring event was very positive. Stayed tuned for next year’s mentoring-themed game show!



2017 Technical Group Awards

The following Technical Group Awards were presented at the Annual Meeting. HFES congratulates all of the recipients.

Aging Technical Group – Arnold M. Small Best Paper Award
Kenneth Blocker; coauthors: Kathleen Insel, Kari Koerner, and Wendy Rogers
“Understanding the Medication Adherence Strategies of Older Adults with Hypertension”

Augmented Cognition Technical Group – Raja Parasuraman Student Grant Award
Joseph Nuamah
“Augmenting User Interface Usability Testing with Electroencephalography”

Aerospace Systems Technical Group – Best Student Paper Award
Jayde M. King; coauthors: Yolanda Ortiz, Thomas Guinn, John Lanicci, Beth Blickensderfer, Robert Thomas, and Nicholas DeFilippis
“Assessing General Aviation Pilots’ Interpretation of Weather”

Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making Technical Group – Best Student Paper Award
First Place
Katy Odette; coauthors: Javier Rivera, Florian Jentsch, and Elizabeth

"Robot Self-Assessment and Expression: A Learning Framework"

Second Place
Olivia Newton; coauthors: Stephen Fiore and Joseph LaViola
"An External Cognition Framework for Visualizing Uncertainty in Support of

Situation Awareness"

Third Place
Carl Pearson; coauthor: Christopher Mayhorn
"The Effects of Pedigree and Source Type on Trust in a Dual Adviser Context"

Computer Systems Technical Group – Mark L. Resnick Best Paper Award
Alex Vieane; coauthors: Gregory Funke, Eric Greenlee, Vincent Mancuso, Brett Borghetti, Brent Miller, Lauren Menke, Rebecca Brown, Cyrus Foroughi, and Deborah Boehm-Davis
“Task Interruptions Undermine Cyber Defense”

Honorable Mention
Sharan Ram; coauthors: Anjan Mahadevan, Hadi Rahmat-Khan, Giuseppe Turini and Justin G. Young
“Effect of Control-Display Gain and Mapping and Use of Armrests on Accuracy in Temporally Limited Touchless Gestural Steering Tasks”

Honorable Mention
Hunter Rogers; coauthors: Amro Khasawneh, Jeffrey Bertrand, and Kapil Chalil Madathil
“An Investigation of the Effects of Latency on the Operator’s Trust and Performance for Manual Multi-Robot Teleoperated Tasks”

Honorable Mention
Isis Chong
“Influence of Privacy Priming and Security Framing on Android App Selection”

Honorable Mention
Julian Brinkley
“A Desktop Usability Evaluation of the Facebook Mobile Interface Using the JAWS Screen Reader With Blind Users”

Honorable Mention
Nathan Morar; coauthor: Chris Baber
“Joint Human-Automation Decision Making in Road Traffic Management”

Education Technical Group – Young Researcher Award
Daniela E. Vazquez Klisans
“Psycognia: The Development of a Passive Gaming Environment for Use in Undergraduate Psychology Classes”

Health Care Technical Group – Best Student Paper Award
First Place (tie)
Jonathan P. Umansky
“Workload in Nursing”

First Place (tie)
Mary Yovanoff; coauthor: David Pepley
“Improving Medical Education: Simulating Changes in Patient Anatomy Using Dynamic Haptic Feedback”

Second Place
Yaqiong Li
“Team Interactions and Health IT Use During Hospital Multidisciplinary Rounds”

Third Place
Mary Yovanoff; coauthor: David Pepley
“Personalized Learning in Medical Education: Designing a User Interface for a Dynamic Haptic Robotic Trainer for Central Venous Catheterization”

Human Performance Modeling Technical Group – Best Paper Award
First Place
Douglas W. Lee; coauthors: Daniel W. Fitzick and Ellen J. Bass
“Simulating Human Performance of Task Sharing: Modeling Task Delay ad Delegation of Authority”

Second Place (tie)
Cara B. Fausset; coauthors: Samuel Cheng, Alexandra N. Trani, Clayton J. Hutto, Chris R. Hale, Tom McDermott, Molly Nadolski, and Dennis J. Folds
“Developing a Model of Team Skill Decay”

Second Place (tie)
Alexandra N. Trani; coauthors: Clayton J. Hutto, Cara B. Fausset, Samuel Cheng, Chris R. Hale, Thomas McDermott, and Dennis J. Folds
“Modeling and Simulation of Skill Decay at the Organizational Team Level”

Best Student Paper
First Place
Jyason B. Boubin; coauthors: Christina F. Rusnock and Jason M. Bindewald
“Quantifying Compliance and Reliance Trust Behaviors to Influence Trust in Human-Automation Teams”

Second Place
Xi Zheng; coauthors: Matthew L. Bolton, Christopher Daly, and Lu Feng
“A Formal Human Reliability Analysis of a Community Pharmacy Dispensing Procedure”

Product Design Technical Group – Stanley H. Caplan User-Centered Product Design Award (see September Bulletin article for more details)
Abbott Laboratories
Ila Elson, Antonio Bonilla, Rajesh Patel, and Elvira Weis
“Alinity™ ci-series Diagnostic Systems”

Hill-Rom Company
Centrella Project Team

Perception & Performance Technical Group – Best Student Paper Award
Jackson Duncan-Reid; coauthor: Jason S. McCarley
“Collaborative Metacognition in a Signal Detection Task”

Best Student Poster Award
Elliot Nauert; coauthor: Douglas J. Gillian
“Individual Measures on time Perception Predict Performance in a Timed Reaching Task”

System Development Technical Group – David Meister Best Paper Award
Christopher J. Garnick; coauthors: Jason M. Bindewald, and Christina F. Rusnock
“Designing an Automated Agent to Encourage Human Reliance”

Other News 

HFES Members Help Create Technical Standards Through ASTM International

By Pat Picariello, Director, Developmental Operations, ASTM International

Fresh from their recent 2017 HFES Annual Meeting discussion panel, “Industrial Exoskeletons – Are We Ready for Prime Time Yet?” HFES members Christopher Reid (Boeing) and Maury Nussbaum (Virginia Tech) have joined a diverse collection of industry stakeholders to form ASTM International’s new exoskeletons and exosuits committee (designated F48). This consensus-based effort will craft technical standards for these leading-edge technologies to help expand their market relevance. Reid, Nussbaum, and other experts are featured in this brief new video. The effort is also featured in this November cover story in Standardization News magazine.

The group will be setting a spring date soon for its first official meeting. Efforts are already under way to create a standard that will help the industry come to consensus on terminology, with other potential standards (test methods, specifications, guides, etc.) to come in the future.

If you are interested in joining the new committee or learning more about how human factors/ergonomics is an integral part of the activity, please contact me at ppicariello@astm.org.