I am a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute interested in how we can use technology to improve education.
email: nickpdiana@gmail.com


Current Work & Interests

Graduate Student
My current research uses educational data mining to uncover student strategies. I'm broadly interested in:
  • Educational Data Mining
  • Critical Thinking
  • Computational Thinking
  • Online Learning Environments

Recent Publications

  1. An instructor dashboard for real-time analytics in interactive programming assignments. Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference (LAK '17) [Slides]
  2. Extracting Measures of Active Learning and Student Self-Regulated Learning Strategies from MOOC Data. Educational Data Mining (EDM '16)
  3. A framework for hypothesis-driven approaches to support data-driven learning analytics in measuring computational thinking in block-based programming. Learning Analytics &am; Knowledge Conference (LAK '17)

Previous Work

Research Associate
Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging
My work at the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging (CCBI) was in the burgeoning field of Neurosemantics. While there, my work focused around how our brains organize meaning, how those representations change (through learning), and what that can teach us about ourselves and the world we inhabit. The lab approaches these questions by training machine learning classifiers to decode fMRI data.



Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction (in progress)
Carnegie Mellon University, 2015-present
GPA: 3.6/4.0
B.S. in Neuroscience and Psychology
Allegheny College, 2009-2013
GPA: 3.5/4.0

Academic Honors

  • Graduated with Psychology Department Honors
  • Awarded the Iva Patterson Gilmore Prize in Psychology for writing the best psychology senior research composition
  • Awarded Distinguished Alden Scholar (GPA above 3.8) for the 2012-2013 academic year
  • Awarded Alden Scholar (Dean's List) for academic achievement for the years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012
  • Awarded the Linaberger Scholarship for musical leadership and noteworthy improvement

Abbreviated Course List

HCI Process & Theory (A)
Carnegie Mellon University, Fall 2015
E-Learning Design Principles (A)
Carnegie Mellon University, Fall 2014
Cognitive Brain Imaging (A)
Carnegie Mellon University, Spring 2014
Independent Study: Transformative Education (A-)
Allegheny College, Spring 2013
Mind and Brain (A)
Allegheny College, Fall 2012
Independent Study: Social Selective Attention (A)
Allegheny College, Spring 2012
Human Memory Processes (A-)
Allegheny College, Spring 2012
Neuropragmatism (A)
Allegheny College, Spring 2011
Research Design and Statistics (A)
Allegheny College, Fall 2010


Languages & Frameworks

Operating Systems


16 years


12 years


3 years

Employment & Service

Community Advisor
Allegheny College Residence Life, 2012 - 2013
  • Supervised, trained, and led the Residence Life staff of four upper-class residence halls, including Allegheny College's International Houses
  • Sustained and cultivated an inclusive, respectful, and safe environment for all residents by designing and implementing solutions to residential problems
Resident Advisor
Allegheny College Residence Life, 2010 - 2012
  • Facilitated the development of a community through the creation of programs relating to personal development, social justice, education, and physical and emotional wellness
  • Preserved the health of the community by mediating peers, connecting peers to resources, and enforcing college policies
Interactive Exhibits Intern
Carnegie Science Center, Summer 2012
  • Educated visitors of all ages about a wide range of science-related topics by demonstrating principles, presenting material, and interacting with the visitors and the exhibits
  • Defeated the merciless air hockey robot at its own game, asserting the enduring utility of humanity (seriously, it was some game: photographic evidence)
Staging Location Director
Organizing for America, Jan. 2012 - Nov. 2012
  • Energized the student body by giving Alleghenians an outlet for civic and political engagement
  • Directed Meadville's "Get Out the Vote" Staging Location for a local, statewide, and national campaign
  • Organized field work efforts including phone banking, canvassing, and voter registration drives
Counselor & Unit Leader
MDA Summer Camp, August 2011 & August 2012
  • Responsible for the physical and emotional well-being of my camper as well as assisting in the care of other campers with various types of muscular dystrophy
  • As a Unit Leader my second year, I supervised the emotional health of both the campers and counselors within my unit, and communicated that information to the camp coordinators
Vice President
Psi Chi: Psychology Honors Society, 2012 - 2013
  • Assisted in the planning and coordination of society meetings, outreach events, academic panels, and an induction ceremony
  • Acted as a liaison between department faculty and the society as well as a representative of psychology department students during faculty meetings