The 8th Annual Regional Human Factors Conference returns to California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) on Saturday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 205 of the University Student Union. Admission is free.
Human factors, also known as ergonomics or human engineering, is a scientific discipline which examines human behavior and capabilities in order to design products, equipment and systems for safe, effective human use. CSULB’s human factors faculty members are at work on such topics as basic human performance, human-computer interaction, aviation psychology, workload, situation awareness and interface design for air traffic controllers and pilots.
This conference is organized by the CSULB Student Chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (CSULB-HFES), and sponsored by CSULB-HFES, the Center for Human Factors in Advanced Aeronautics Technologies (CHAAT), Associated Students, Inc., CSULB and the College of Liberal Arts Student Council. It is a forum for the exchange of ideas in all areas of human factors as well as a chance for students to meet professionals in the field of human factors.
Each year, three keynote speakers are invited to present on their work. This year’s speakers include:
“It will be a very diverse set of speakers,” said Tom Strybel, CSULB-HFES student chapter advisor. “Audiences will get a broad overview of what human factors professionals do.”
The conference also will host a poster and breakout sessions. In the poster session, students and professionals present their research and human factors projects.
“Participants also have the chance to see student work at the noon poster session where the students will be present to answer questions,” he explained. “That’s really great for the students. It’s good not only for the students to meet the professionals but also for the professionals to see what our students can do. ”
The speaker breakout session is an opportunity for students and professionals to meet one-on-one with keynote speakers. Students are especially interested in these sessions because they can ask questions about their jobs and challenges of working in the field of human factors.
The CSULB human factors program features such labs as the Center for Human Factors in Advanced Aeronautics Technologies (CHAAT), one of 13 NASA University Research Centers across the United States which measures human performance in such complex systems as the Next Generation Airspace Transportation System (NextGen) and the Center for Usability in Design and Assessment (CUDA), which evaluates software and web interfaces for ease of use, effectiveness and satisfaction to users.
Strybel hopes the conference will offer both current human factors majors and prospective human factors students the chance to learn about career opportunities. “They get to see what they can do with a degree,” he explained. “Many students are unaware of the field of human factors. This conference offers students a good chance to see some of the professional areas available to human factors (graduates).”
The student chapter selects speakers. He is proud of the strength of the campus’ student chapter. They are very strong and very active. The student chapter has been recognized as the outstanding student chapter by the national organization. “CSULB’s Student HFES Chapter is the prime organizer of the annual event,” he said. “This organization is extremely active; it has been awarded the Outstanding Student Chapter Gold Award by the national HFES for the past seven years,” he said. “The conference has been a very successful event for us as more and more groups and individuals participate.” The student chapter has been asked to host the International Human Factors Society Conference in this fall.
Strybel believes the continued success of the conference reflects the growth of human factors at CSULB. “When our master’s program in human factors was established in 2005, it was a small program,” he said. “It has grown tremendously, thanks to the support of CSULB, NASA and aerospace firms such as The Boeing Co.”
He encourages the campus community to participate in this year’s conference. “Audiences will hear some very interesting speakers,” he said. “Anyone with an interest in space or human factors will find a lot to like in this conference.”