Justine Cassell (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Associate Dean of the School of Computer Science for Technology Strategy and Impact at Carnegie Mellon University, Co-Founder of the Simon Initiative for Technology-Enhanced Learning, and until recently, Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in the School of Computer Science. Cassell comes to CMU from Northwestern, where she was the founding director of the Center for Technology and Social Behavior joint PhD in Communication and Computer Science, and of the Center for Technology and Social Behavior. Before Northwestern, Cassell was a tenured faculty member at the MIT Media Lab, where she headed the Gesture and Narrative Language research group. Cassell’s research focuses on understanding natural forms of communication, and then creating technological tools for those forms of communication and linguistic expression to flourish in the digital world. In particular, she is credited with developing the Embodied Conversational Agent, a virtual human capable of interacting with humans using both language and nonverbal behavior. More recently Cassell has investigated the role that the virtual peer (a child-sized version of the Embodied Conversational Agent) can play in children’s lives, and has demonstrated that the virtual peer can play an important role in scaffolding learning, particularly for those children in under-resourced schools.
More information is available on Justine’s website.