Mary Etta West
PhD Student • Visual Lab
Computer Science

Mary Etta West is an electrical design engineer crafting experimental technologies for applications in computing education, wearables and robotics. She is from Las Vegas, Nevada, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, and then went on to design products and tools, and to create resources for the world's largest solar plant: Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System as well as for SparkFun Electronics and Boulder Engineering Studio.  Mary's current research explores equality, equity and identity expression in tech and maker culture. She is a first-year computer science PhD student working with the VisuaLab, the Laboratory for Playful Computation and the Human Interaction and Robotics (HIRO) Group. Mary is advised by Danielle SzafirJoel Swanson and Ben Shapiro. 

Opaletta is a line of electronic and programmable jewelry currently in development with her design company Oublietta Electronics. She believes electronics could be more wearable and fashionable and extend the possibilities for self-exploration and identity expression. She is driven to accomplish this not only with jewelry but with MR/AR, connected and programmable clothing, closet management, garment selection and fabric manipulation.  When Mary isn't printing PCBs or experimenting with new materials, she can be found in Stardew Valley. 



  • Eldy S. Lazaro VasquezNetta Ofer, Shanel Wu, Mary Etta WestMirela Alistar and Laura Devendorf. 2022. Exploring Biofoam as a Material for Tangible Interaction. In Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’22), Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1525-1529. (June 13-17, 2022—Virtual Event, Australia). 

  • S. Sandra BaeClement ZhengMary Etta WestEllen Yi-Luen Do, Samuel Huron, Danielle Albers Szafir (2022). "Making Data Tangible: A Cross-disciplinary Design Space for Data Physicalization." Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA. (April 30 - May 5, 2022—New Orleans, USA.), see video preview, and short presentation video.
  • W. Payne, Y. Bergner, M. WestC. Charp, R. B. Shapiro, D. Albers Szafir, E. Taylor, & K. DesPortes. 2021. danceON: Culturally Responsive Creative Computing for Data Literacy. (to appear) In Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2021)/ Yokohama, Japan–May 8-13, 2021) [Best Paper Honorable Mention]. DOI:

  • Annie Kelly, Christine Chang, Chris Hill, Mary West, Mary Yoder, Joseph Polman, Shaun Kane, Michael Eisenberg, and R. Benjamin Shapiro. 2020. “Our Dog Probably Thinks Christmas Is Really Boring”: Re-mediating Science Education for Feminist-inspired Inquiry. ICLS 2020:  Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of the Learning Sciences.10.22318/icls2020.935 (Nashville, Tennessee (virtual)–June 19-23 2020). pdf

  • S. Sandra Bae and Mary Etta West. 2021. Cyborg Crafts: Second SKIN (Soft Keen INteraction). In Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI '21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 87, 1–3. DOI: (Salzburg, Austria (virtual) Feb. 14-19, 2021).