Industrial Engineering

Student Spotlight: Hunter Rogers

Hunter Rogers has spent her years at Clemson fostering a deep sense of community and creating an impressive reputation as a dedicated Industrial Engineering student during her path of degrees. Her current research with the Human Systems Integration Lab at Clemson centers around optimizing telemedicine systems to minimize the factor of human error and help provide patients with the best level of care. Specifically, she is part of a research team that has partnered closely with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and their Stroke Network.

Meet Hunter Rogers.

What is your title?

I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Industrial Engineering at Clemson University.

How many years have you spent at Clemson?

I’ve spent eight years here! I started undergrad back in 2012 and am currently working to complete my PhD.

What do you do at Clemson?

I am a habitual industrial engineering student. Currently, I’m finishing up my research analysis with the Human Systems Integration Lab and the work we’ve done with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

What do you love about Clemson?

My dad went here, so I’ve always been familiar with Clemson. Beyond that, I love the family aspect of having such a close-knit community. When I wear Clemson gear and am recognized as a Clemson student in public, it is such a reflection of the community here. There’s also something about the spirit of campus that I’ve always loved and how beautiful it is to just be able to sit in front of the library by the Reflection Pond.

What has been your defining moment at Clemson?

Academically, the moment that I decided I wanted to be an industrial engineer was a huge moment for me. The first time I graduated though, when I finished my undergraduate degree and had my class ring, was a huge accomplishment and brought me into the same academic arena as my family.

What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of?

Being awarded the Department of Defense’s SMART Scholarship is definitely at the top of that list. It’s a massively competitive program that funds schooling for its recipients and employs them in their field of study as a civilian employee after graduation. After applying in 2016, I found out that I was the first student from Clemson’s Industrial Engineering program to receive the scholarship.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

With the DoD SMART program, I’ll be working for three years in the Collaborative Interfaces and Teaming Branch of the Air Force Research Lab’s Human Performance Wing. After that, I’ll hopefully still be employed with the Air Force Research Lab but just be located somewhere on the West Coast closer to my family.

What is your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure is reality television, specifically The Bachelor. I only got into it about two years ago, but I’ll watch all the shows when they’re having their seasons like The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

Honestly, there’s not much people don’t know about me! I’m a very talkative person and tell everyone about my pet beagle, Finnigan. People might not know that I lived in Hawaii for a few years when I was growing up, but other than that I’m pretty much open about myself!

A lot of your research is rooted in evaluating the human factors in telemedicine. In what ways, if any, have you noticed a shift in behaviors or perspectives of healthcare professionals and patients with a large shift to telehealth in recent months?

Neurologists are being thrown into telemedicine for the first time, and there’s always difficulty with that. At least two of the twenty doctors who participated in our study wanted to see the research that followed the change and development of telemedicine. Some systems are still very rudimentary, and initial patient interactions are mostly video-based without the proper documentation needed for charting. These separate processes are definitely a deterrent for these doctors with limited time. The willingness to use telemedicine before the pandemic was interesting to see. To see how many people were involved in launching telemedicine for patient care and access in the early stages was definitely interesting. It all comes down to making sure the patient gets the best level of care, and if that means talking to them quickly and on secure platforms, healthcare providers want to be a part of that.

With your past projects, I saw an interesting intersection of research and design. How important is design in something like a user interface when working to bridge the gap between technology systems and the human factor? For your purposes, does it help if it is centered just on workability or does aesthetic appeal play a role in human response to a technology system?

Aesthetics play an important role to be sure. Anytime there is a presence of the human factor, the interface needs to be not only usable but beautiful. Making something that not only works mechanically but something that functions, that works with the human factor, is a huge part of it all. Limited training and use of the interface are factors that pose potential problems with human error, so the design needs to work. Once it is a fully functioning code, the interactions between the human user and the technology need to be evaluated, much like the research we’ve been doing with MUSC. Only after it is functioning and has strong usability can we move into crafting the program’s aesthetic. Now more than ever it’s important to have an emphasis on design, but the beauty has to come after good interaction between the human user and the technology. It is definitely a benefit to need appealing designs because it allows for me to work with people outside of my specialty like designers to fully realize a program’s potential.