Stefany Cruz

Hi! My name is Stefany Cruz and I am a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Engineering at Northwestern University. I work in the Ka MoaMoa lab and NU PATH LAb, where I am co-advised by Josiah Hester and Maia Jacobs.

My research focuses on democratizing wearable technologies by developing and co-designing inclusive wearables with and for marginalized groups. I work at the intersection of mobile and embedded systems, human-computer interaction, and machine learning to explore how we can build equitable, efficient, and intelligent wearable systems.

I have published papers in top human computer interaction venues such as IMWUT (Ubicomp), CHI, and medical journals such as JMIR mHealth and uHealth. I have been awarded Social Justice grants from Northwestern’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and received an Ada Lovelace Microsoft Research Ph.D. fellowship to support my work in developing inclusive, equitable technologies for social good. My research has been featured in media coverage such as CBS Chicago news, Crain's Chicago Business, Digital Journal, BBC Radio, and many more.


Northwestern University

Ph.D. in Computer Engineering
Evanston, IL

June 2024

Northwestern University

M.S. in Computer Engineering
Evanston, IL

June 2022

University of California, Riverside

B.S. in Electrical Enegineering
Riverside, CA

June 2019

Pasadena City College

A.S. in Physics and Mathematics
Pasadena, CA

May 2016


Stefany Cruz, Josiah Hester, Stephen Xia, Maia Jacobs. Opportunities For Wearables to Support Mental Well-being in Low-Income Latine Communities (Under review).

Stefany Cruz, Stephen Xia, Maia Jacobs, Josiah Hester. The Need For Equitable System Design: Lessons Learned from a Co-design Study. Workshop on Hot Topics in Ethical Computer Systems Co-located with ASPLOS 2024. (Hot Ethics/ASPLOS 2024) San Diego, CA.

Stefany Cruz, Claire Lu, Mara Ulloa, Alexander Redding, Josiah Hester, Maia Jacobs. Perceptions of Wearable Health Tools Post the COVID-19 Emergency in Low-Income Latin Communities: Qualitative Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research mHealth and uHealth (JMIR mHealth|uHealth’24).

Stefany Cruz. A Design Framework For Equitable Wearables. UbiComp/ISWC 2023 Doctoral Colloquium (DC). ACM Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp’23) Cancun, Mexico.

Stefany Cruz, Alexander Redding, Connie Chau, Claire Lu, Julia Persche, Josiah Hester, Maia Jacobs. EquityWare: Co-Designing Wearables With And For Low Income Communities In The U.S., Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems(CHI 23), Hamburg, Germany.

Rawan Alharbi, Lingfeng Li, Stefany Cruz,Sougata Sen, Bonnie Spring, Aggelos Katsaggelos, Josiah Hester, Nabil Alshurafa. SmokeMon: Unobtrusive Wearable for Measuring Smoking Topography. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT/UbiComp'23)

Stefany Cruz, Logan Danek, Shinan Liu, Christopher Kraemer, Zixin Wang, Nick Feamster2, Danny Yuxing Huang, Yaxing Yao, Josiah Hester. Augmented Reality’s Potential for Identifying and Mitigating Home Privacy Leaks. Workshop on Usable Security and Privacy (USEC) 2023.

Kortbeek, V., Bakar, A., Cruz, S., Pawełczak, P., Hester, J., Yildirim, K. 2021. Battery-free Programming for Everyone, Everywhere.Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT/UbiComp'21)


  • Social Justice Mini-Grant, $2,500, 2022
  • Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship, 2021
  • CRA-WP Grad Cohort for Women Workshop, 2020 (Postponded to 2021 due to Covid-19)
  • CRA-WP Grad Cohort for URMD Workshop, 2020
  • NSF SenSys/BuildSys Student Travel Grant, 2019
  • GEM PhD Fellowship, National Gem Consortium, 2019
  • National Science Foundation ECCS Research Grant, $5,000, 2017
  • Hispanic Serving Institute Summer Bridge Research Grant, $5,000, 2016
  • MESA Pasadena Student Achievement Award, $1,000, June 2016
  • Student Achievement Award, $500, May 2016


R&D Electrical Systems Engineering Intern

Applied Medical

Tested, trouble shot, and validated product functionality and ensured coverage of various test cases for Applied Medical's Voyant 2 Electro Surgical Generator.

June 2018 - August 2018

Undergraduate Researcher

University of California, Riverside - Department of Electrical Engineering

Built and programmed crazyflie 2.0 Nano quadcopters using the ROS environment and implemented UWB (Ultra Wideband) Technology for precision real time location using two way ranging .

August 2017 - December 2017

Undergraduate Researcher

University of California, Riverside - Department of Bioengineering

Programmed Atmel ATtiny84 microcontrollers to implement Pulse Width Modulation to the MEC (Multidisciplinary Evolutionary Components) system library for automating instrument processes and reduce the need fro human interference .

June 2016 - August 2016