Graduate Student, MDes Program
- B.S. in Computer Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mikayla Buford is a computer scientist, researcher, designer, and streamer. She studied computer science at the University of Wisconsin where she engaged in research as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar in human-robot interaction. Mikayla's primary coursework focused on human-computer interaction and mobile UI/UX design. Outside of computer science, she studied Afro-American literature, Black feminism, and science fiction.
In the summer of 2019, Mikayla was selected to be a research intern of the MIT Media Lab as a part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Summer Research Program. There she designed an interactive sculpture of a Black woman with an Afro to teach users how to respectfully explore one’s curiosity about Black hair. The project, entitled, (Don't) Touch My Hair, was inspired by her experience as a Black woman and the history of discrimination against Black women's bodies.
In the summer of 2020, Mikayla worked as a research intern for Microsoft Research in which she conducted a design study of individuals designing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand the practices, motivations, challenges of these individuals designing in crisis. Additionally, Mikayla began working with the Microsoft MakeCode team to livestream programming tutorials using the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express for kids worldwide.