A Message from the Chair

Scott Shappell
Dr. Scott Shappell, Department Chair

Welcome to the Department of Human Factors and Behavioral Neurobiology (HFBN)! Although I’ve heard it said a million times, these are truly exciting times here at ERAU. For those of you who have a history with our department, you simply wouldn’t recognize it today. From its first in the world Bachelor of Science program in Human Factors over two decades ago to the first of its kind Bachelor of Science program in Aerospace Physiology today, ERAU and the HFBN department have witnessed the birth of human factors AND aerospace physiology!

In addition to our outstanding undergraduate programs, we also offer a Master of Science and Doctoral program in Human Factors. Both are among the nation’s leading programs and are fully accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Indeed, even as a small private institution, we have quickly outpaced much larger institutions in the fields of human factors and aerospace physiology and continue to grow. In just the last decade alone, our department has doubled in size in both enrollments and faculty. Even with record-setting growth, our 22 faculty continue to offer personalized student-faculty engagement with the highest levels of academic and research enrichment.

Perhaps what makes our growth and landmark programs so exciting is that our majors are responding to the real needs of industry and the business world. As a result, our uniquely tailored academic programs have resulted in outstanding jobs after graduation. In other words, we don’t simply offer degrees; we offer careers and have a long-proven track record of creating leaders in academia, government, military, and industry.

Department Graduates at-a-Glance


Ph.D. in Human Factors Graduates


M.S. in Human Factors Graduates


B.S. in Human Factors Graduates


B.S. in Aerospace Physiology Graduates 

B.S. in Human Factors

Eric Vaden
Eric Vaden, Undergrad ProgramCoordinator

Our undergraduate B.S. degree program in Human Factors remains the only one of its kind. While more HF curriculum is appearing in other engineering or psychology programs, ERAU accounts for the full breadth of the discipline in its core course requirements.

This breadth and depth of HF coverage allows our students to pursue careers in many industries including aviation, automotive, medicine, and technology . In addition, recent graduates have successfully joined graduate programs at both the PhD and Master’s levels. Students were employed in internships this summer at Advent Health, The Boeing Company and Howmet Aerospace, Inc.

Our undergraduates are finding full-time employment across the U.S., working with engineers to more effectively accommodate human operators and improving such operational factors as system safety and user experience.

Currently we have 80 human factors undergrads and 293 human factors and psychology minors enrolled in out program. We graduated 34 students in the 2021/2022 academic year and are set to welcome an incoming fall 2022 class of 18 to 20 new undergrads.

M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Factors

Beth Blickensderfer
Beth Blickensderfer, Grad Coordinator

The ERAU DB graduate degree programs in Human Factors (M.S. and Ph.D.) have a history of preparing students for careers as human factors professionals in any domain where humans interact with technology. This includes advanced technologies from the aerospace industry to healthcare industries and so many others in between.

This summer, students engaged in internships at the Federal Aviation Administration, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Meta, Boeing, Gulfstream, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Air Force Research Labs, SoarTech, and Priority Design.

Our over 300 M.S. graduates are employed across the U.S., working hard to improve human-machine system designs including companies such as Honeywell, Boeing, Amazon, Disney, and both military and civilian government agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau and many more! Several of our Human Factors M.S. alumni are currently in Ph.D. programs. These include Emily Parcell (Georgia Tech), Imani Murph (North Carolina State University), Elizabeth Allen (Rice University), Sadie Cooke (Virginia Tech), and Giovanna Camacho (University of Virginia). Our PhD program has graduated 22 students as of Summer 2022.

They are employed in industry, medical facilities, government labs, and academia. With, 3 new arrivals in Fall, the Ph.D. program has 15 current students. Looking forward to another fantastic year!

Aerospace Physiology Overview

A Novel Degree Paving the Way to a Growing Career

Aerospace Physiology
Aerospace Physiology Students test out the DaVinci Surgical Robot at AdventHealth Hospital. ERAU holds educational affiliation agreements with both Halifax and AdventHealth Hospitals allowing students to participate in experiential learning and shadowing at both locations.

by Dr. Alesha Fleming

Being the only Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Physiology (AP) degree in the country, the BSAP program is a unique major that examines the function of the human body in normal and extreme environments such as space and high altitude. Depending on students’ interests and desired career paths, they may choose between two tracks: the biochemistry track and the human physiology track.

The biochemistry track focuses on research and affords students the opportunity to participate in faculty lead projects, some of which have already led to peer-reviewed publications. On the human physiology track, students with a greater interest in medicine may participate in a clinical rotation course and gain real-world hospital experienced including scrubbing in to surgeries, or assisting in labor and delivery. Since the BSAP program’s inception in 2017, students have received several highly prestigious awards, internships, research recognitions, and acceptances to graduate programs.

This year’s internship acceptances include two NASA Space Life Sciences Training Program (SLSTP) internships and two research-based Mayo Clinic Internships. Graduate school acceptances included several DO, MD, MA, MS, DC, and PhD programs including but not limited to Weill Cornell Graduate School, Baylor University, and the University of Southern California. Though most of our graduates choose to pursue graduate degrees upon completion of their undergraduate studies, some choose to go directly into industry. Our last graduating class included students commissioning into the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, and at least three students accepting positions as bench scientists or researcher scientists at private and public institutions, including one at the University of South Florida.

Human Factors Overview

HF Students took EcoCAR Mobility Challenge for a test drive – and we liked it

Human Factors students and faculty

Four Human Factors graduate students traveled to Phoenix, AZ,in May 2022 to compete in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, organized by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors. Since 1988, these automotive competitions have provided real-world opportunities and experiences for college students across North America. Cameron LaCourse, Victoria Trabysh, Molly Mersinger, and Elaine Choy were part of ERAU’s Human-Machine Interface/User Experience Team.

They were challenged with developing a prototype that teaches drivers how to use Adaptive Cruise Control effectively and efficiently. The team spent three semesters conducting user needs research, competitive analyses, user testing, and iterative designs. These efforts culminated into the prototype mobile application, called SAFERent.

It is an interactive guide that incorporates visual, auditory, and tactile modes of learning. During competition, the team participated in two events: (1) Prototype Demonstration and (2) Prototype Development Presentation. During the demo, six judges, who were industry professionals experienced in UX, ranked ERAU’s prototype as sixth out of 11 other universities. One judge, Joe Lenneman (GM), had mentored the team the previous semester and was excited to see that his feedback was incorporated. During the presentation, Cameron and Molly expertly explained to the judges how the team developed their final prototype following Human Factors best practices and research-based methods.

The same six judges ranked their presentation third out of 11. Lastly, Victoria, Molly, and Elaine also competed for GM’s Women in STEM Award by delivering presentations on their contributions in and outside of EcoCAR. While they did not win the award, they truly represented themselves and ERAU Human Factors extremely well. The HMI/UX Team’s faculty advisors, Dr. Alex Chaparro and Dr. Barbara Chaparro, are extremely proud of this team and how far they have come since inception just two short years ago. The team has been selected to compete in the next EcoCAR competition starting Fall 2022. The whole team is looking forward to the next challenge and showcasing how much of an impact Human Factors can have in the automotive industry.

Students in Victory Lane with the EcoCar
Inside of the EcoCar

Featured Alumni: Graduate

Jordan Rogers, Ph.D.

Jordan Rogers

Ph.D. Human Factors

Graduation: 2020
Job: HF Engineer at Intuitive

I have developed and demonstrated expertise in human factors< engineering and user research in a variety of environments, including consulting, hospital environments, and medical device development.

I am experienced in research design and method selection, project management, usability testing, technical writing and presenting, and medical device regulations (e.g., IEC 62366 and AAMI HE 75).

I earned her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Human Factors from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. My doctoral research explored how robotic surgery may influence surgical teamwork and team outcomes.

In my current role as a Human Factors Engineer at Intuitive, Jordan works among cross-functional teams to support product development of advanced robotic systems.

Dalila Szostak, M.S.

Dalila Szostak

M.S. in Human Factors

Graduation: 2009
Job: Head of UX, Trust & Safety at Google

I am Head of UX for Google Trust and Safety where I manage a global team of design, research and content strategy leaders with the goal of shaping the user experience of all the products, systems and tools that counter abuse in Google platforms and help keep people on the internet safe.

I bring deep UX expertise from conducting hundreds of research projects in 10+ countries, scaling research by creating impactful foundational and evaluative programs and being an educator, in particular supporting the growth of UX in Latin America. In my UX career, I have a track record of delivering purposeful AI driven digital products, helping people find their way (TomTom Go), staying connected with family and friends (Android and Project Fi) and being able to contribute to the open web while combating online harassment and disinformation (Assembler, Perspective API and Outline -- see Jigsaw products).

I also enjoyed the meaningful "physical" projects I contributed to in the areas of aviation (Boeing), Autonomous Driving (Intel, Toyota, Ford) and VR (Jigsaw). I accomplished these monumental tasks only through collaborating with inspiring UX experts, building bridges with my business and technical partners and gently but firmly challenging the status quo.

Human Factors: Lab Overview

Applied Cognition and Training Science (ACATS) Lab

Applied Cognition Lab

Lab Director: Dr. Beth Blickensderfer

The ACATS Lab examines how principle of cognitive psychology and training science can address issues in aviation and healthcare through the use of simulators to examine specific behaviors and scenarios. We use empirical methods to determine the interpretability of displays, evaluate pilot performance and develop evidence-based training programs for aviation and healthcare applications.

Topics Covered: Aviation Weather, Healthcare, Gamification of Training, Knowledge Assessment, and Teamwork

Applied Perception and Performance Lab (APPL)

Applied Perception Lab

Lab Director: Dr. Alex Chaparro

The APPL examines how performance of secondary tasks like testing or engaging in conversation impact driving ability and detection of driving hazards. APPL works closely with other groups such as EcoCAR Design Challenge team who are creating and evaluating user training methods for adaptive cruise control.

Topics Covered: Autonomous Driving, Effects of Distraction on Driving, Designing for an Aging Population, Visual Performance, EcoCAR Design Challenge, Visual and Auditory Interaction, and Audio-Visual Speech Perception

Game-Based Education & Advanced Research Studies (GEARS) Lab

Gears Lab

Lab Directors: Dr. Christina Frederick and Dr. Shawn Doherty

The GEARS Lab studies personality, motivation, training, education, performance, and teamwork in technological environments, as well as through games and simulations. Students work on variety of projects that span theory and application by working directly with lab faculty and graduate students.

Topics Covered: Escape Rooms, Gamification, Virtual Reality, Team Interaction, Human Relatedness, Motivation, Human Performance

Research Engineering and Applied Collaborations in Healthcare (REACH) Lab

Reach Lab

Lab Director: Dr. Joseph Keebler and Dr. Elizabeth Lazzara

The REACH Lab strives to improve the medical field and the overall healthcare process by applying psychological and human factors principles and methods to a variety of issues in the medical domain. To gain experience, students work on a variety of projects that span theory and practice through partnerships with healthcare institutions across the country.

Topics Covered: Care Transitions, Teamwork, Simulation-Based Training, Medical Errors, Psychometrics, Performance Evaluations, and Medical Accident Investigation

Research in User eXperience (RUX) Lab

Rux Lab

Lab Director: Dr. Barbara Chaparro

The Research in User eXperience (RUX) Lab examines how human factors influence consumers’ user experience when interacting with products, processes, and technology through empirical methods. To gain practical experience, students work on a variety of projects in different areas and domains, both within the university and in industry.

Topics Covered: User Testing, Augmented/Mixed/Virtual Reality, Website Design, Product Evaluation, Heuristics Evaluations, and Human Factors in Student Life

Small Teams Analog Research (STAR) Lab

Star Lab

Lab Director: Dr. Joseph Keebler

The Small Teams Analog Research (STAR) Lab examines the cutting edge of human teams and technology. We conduct applied and experimental research to understand predictors and processes of team performance and effectiveness. Students work alongside professors and graduate students to understand how
teams function in real and simulated environments.

Topics Covered: Team Decision Making, Team Training, Team Performance, Gaming Teams, and Multi-Team Systems

Aerospace Physiology: Lab Overview

Aerospace Physiology Lab

Aerospace Physiology Lab

Lab Director: Dr. John French

The Aerospace Physiology Lab examines human adaptability to the extreme conditions of aerospace environments. Current research focuses on mild hypoxia effects in spatial disorientation and unique uses of vibro-tactile (haptic) navigational cueing. Past sponsors of our work have included the Army SBIR, the FAA, and
industry partners, totaling over $2 million. In the future, we have planned research with NASA and pharmaceutical companies.

Topics Covered: Space Motion Sickness, Spatial Disorientation, Psychopharmacology, Haptic Navigation Cues, Hypoxia, Sleep, Fatigue Mitigation

Omics Lab for Health and Human Performance

Omics Lab

Lab Director: Dr. Amber M. Paul

The Omics Lab focuses on nucleotide-based omics analyses of various organisms and utilizes omics-based approaches to predict immune responses following extreme environmental exposures. We are open to all studies requiring BSL-2 capabilities and multi-organism omics-based analyses following extreme environmental exposures.

Topics Covered: Molecular Biology, Immunology, Endocrinology, Neurology, Aerospace/Terrestrial Physiology, and Space Biology

Space Microbiology Lab

Space Microbiology Lab

Lab Director: Dr. Hugo Castillo

The Space Microbiology Lab examines how cells respond to both microgravity and space-related radiation fluxes to understand their possible effects in a host. Students learn how to identify changes at the gene-expression level that explain physiological and behavioral responses – highly valuable skills for biomedical and aerospace careers.

Topics Covered: Bacterial Homeostasis Control Under Space Conditions, Microbial Physiology in Extreme Environments, and Transcriptional Regulation in  Response to Environmental Stress

Congrats 2021-22 Graduates!

Andrew Griggs

Andrew Griggs

Fall 2021 HF Ph.D.

Jacqueline McSorely

Jacqueline McSorley

Spring 2022 HF Ph.D.

Nadine Ragbir

Nadine Ragbir

Fall 2021 HF Ph.D.

William Shelstand

William Shelstad

Spring 2022 HF Ph.D.

Logan Gisick

Logan Gisick

Spring 2022 HF Ph.D.

HF Masters (Fall 2021)

  • Caitlyn Black
  • Victoria Gustafsson
  • Janel Ingraham
  • Jade Lovell
  • Alexis Marshall

HF Bachelors (Fall 2021)

  • Ethan Bellinger
  • Allison Bosworth
  • Taylor Curlee
  • Savannah Densley
  • Dalton Dunsworth
  • Jorja Gwaltney
  • Derricka Irons
  • Katie Kirkpatrick
  • Drennen Majzun
  • Jose Mathew
  • Emily Minton
  • Sarah Olko
  • Victoria Olko
  • Cameron Severin
  • Cynthia Smith
  • Lindsey Taylor
  • Jason Williams
  • Wilbert Wright

HF Masters (Spring 2022)

  • Ashley Arboleda
  • Daniel Botero
  • Giovanna Camacho
  • Elaine Choy
  • Abby D’Lugin
  • Cassandra Domingo
  • Crystal Fausett
  • Alexandria Gombas
  • Arindam Gupta
  • Kelly Harris
  • Kendall Leonard
  • Erika Mandile
  • Olivia Roa
  • Maggie Scott
  • Carmen Van Ommen
  • Kimberly Williams

HF Bachelors (Spring 2022)

  • Anita Agustsdottir
  • Saba Smiri
  • Gianna Castano
  • Yoona Cho
  • Amber Cole
  • Dylan Dupree
  • Sydney Ellis
  • Lani-Antoni Flores
  • Clint Henagan
  • Nicholas Horn
  • Blake Jillisky
  • Jared Kane
  • Tyler McGinnis
  • Gage Poindexter
  • Weerachet
  • Sinlapanuntakul
  • Carlos Sosa

AP Bachelors (Spring 2022) 

  • Taylor Adelman
  • Trey Bruno
  • Bailey Burden
  • Justus Burke
  • Marissa Burke
  • Chloe Crichton
  • Bayleigh Graham
  • Amelia Hartnett
  • Janelle Hicks
  • Samantha Lanning
  • Erik Larsen
  • Nicholas Lee
  • Victoria McKinney
  • Alyssa McMandon
  • Audrey Osburn
  • Shayla Penna
  • Jakob Robertson
  • Asia Sanders
  • Olivia Siu
  • Brandi Small
  • Macee Sugrue
  • Lauryn Taylor
  • Nicole Tucker
  • John Veracka

Crystal Fausett

Crystal Fausett, M.S.

ERAU HF Ph.D. Candidate

Congrats 2022 Award Winners

Annual RADM Fred Lewis I/ITSEC Postgraduate Scholarship Award Winners

This scholarship is awarded to students pursuing interests in Modeling & Simulation as well as Training & Education. This scholarship, created by RADM Fred Lewis, previous National Training & Simulation Association president, was introduced to promote leadership and invest in this growing professional workforce.

Congratulations Crystal & Paige on your scholarships!

Paige Lawton

Paige Lawton

ERAU HF Ph.D. Candidate

Congrats 2022 Department Award Winners!

Student Awards

 From left to right: Weerachet Sinlapanuntakul, Ali Gombas, Giovanna Camacho, Crystal Fausett, Erik Larsen, Taylor Adelman, Janelle Hicks (Not Pictured: Yoona Cho)
From left to right: Weerachet Sinlapanuntakul, Ali Gombas, Giovanna Camacho, Crystal Fausett, Erik Larsen, Taylor Adelman, Janelle Hicks (Not Pictured: Yoona Cho)

Outstanding Academic Achievement Award

Human Factors:
  • Undergraduate: Yoona Cho
  • Graduate: Giovanna Camacho
Aerospace Physiology:
  • Undergraduate: Taylor Adelman

Outstanding Researcher

Human Factors:

  • Undergraduate: Weerachet Sinlapanuntakul
  • Graduate: Crystal Fausett

 Aerospace Physiology:

  • Undergraduate: Erik Larsen

Outstanding Service Award

Human Factors:

  • Graduate: Ali Gombas  

Aerospace Physiology:

  • Undergraduate: Janelle Hicks  

Professor of the Year

Alesha Fleming
Dr. Alesha Fleming Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for B.S. in Aerospace Physiology

Paper Plane Folding