My name is Justin Lai and I was a graduate student (Master's) in the mechanical engineering department at MIT after completing my Bachelor's in mechanical engineering in the same department. My research considered how people design through processes and in practice, how to teach students to design products for people. Areas of focus included: user-needs analysis, creativity, tacit knowledge, communication, and social science methods.
Two significant teaching projects I have been a part of are 2.97 Designing for People and Discover Product Design—now serving as an advisor. Additionally, I was a part of a team who developed resources for portfolio creation, Ideation Lab Portfolio Resources.
After grad school, I worked for three years (2011–2014) as the Invention Education Associate at the Lemelson-MIT Program with the InvenTeams initiative.
I now work at Punahou School in Honolulu, HI. In the summers, I teach Gr 4-5 LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3. In the school year, I teach Gr 6-8 various engineering and rapid prototyping classes. I also coordinate/coach various FIRST Robotics teams across FLL, FTC and FRC. All this is done with an awesome team of colleagues and the generous support of the school.
Email me at justinlai at mit dot edu
Written work (links to come. email if you'd like)
IASDR Conference Paper: Introducing User Centered Design to Mid-Career Professionals: Experiences to Build Upon
Research Summary (PhD application statement of purpose)
Poster from DCC08
Paper for Technical report for DCC08
Paper for DCW08
Conferences that I have attended
Design Creativity Workshop, June 2008, Georgia Tech (no link)
International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference, October 2009, Seoul, South Korea (no link)
Advice for grad life: applying, surviving, and thriving