Master’s student Cheryl Lao receives 2022 Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Cheryl Lao, a master’s student at the Cheriton School of Computer Science, is one of 16 recipients across North America and one of four from Canada to receive a 2022 Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship. As a recipient of this prestigious award, she will receive $10,000 USD for education expenses and a year-long Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

Each year since 2016, Adobe Research’s Women-in-Technology Scholarship program has recognized outstanding female undergraduate and master’s students in North American universities studying computer science, computer engineering, and closely related fields.

photo of Cheryl Lao

Cheryl Lao is an MMath student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, advised by Professors Craig Kaplan and Daniel Vogel. She is part of the Exii (Expressive Input & Interaction) lab, where she researches immersive interfaces for artists and designers.

Cheryl began her master’s degree at Waterloo in September 2020, a thesis-based research program in which she is co-supervised by Professors Craig Kaplan and Daniel Vogel. She completed an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in computer science with high distinction at the University of Toronto in 2020.

“Congratulations to Cheryl on receiving this scholarship,” said Professor Vogel. “She is conducting an exciting master’s project that combines human–computer interaction studies with computer graphics research. Her work, which is both technically ambitious and visionary, targets fundamental challenges for the future technology of virtual reality and spatial augmented reality interfaces.”

“Cheryl held a research internship at Adobe last summer,” adds Professor Kaplan, “where she conducted HCI research on typographic layouts in Adobe’s Graphics Intelligence and Learning Lab. She also designed and conducted an experiment and survey to identify visual preferences in typography.”

While an undergrad, Cheryl launched the University of Toronto’s Computer Graphics Club, as well as volunteered with the Toronto SIGGRAPH chapter and the international SIGGRAPH community.

“Cheryl has served as a student volunteer team leader at the SIGGRAPH conference, and has taken on significant programmatic roles,” Professor Kaplan said. “These included organizing and moderating live panels with industry and academic leaders for the Toronto SIGGRAPH chapter, as well as being a panelist at a women in computer graphics session at SIGGRAPH 2020. Cheryl is the kind of computer science student who not only seeks opportunities to conduct research early in her career, but also the kind of individual who contributes to the betterment of the research community.”

In addition to her internship at Adobe, during her undergraduate degree Cheryl worked as a software developer intern at Autodesk and Intel, and as a software design student at Nokia. She is also a talented ceramic artist and photographer, important creative skills she brings to computer graphics and human-computer interaction research.

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