PEOPLE

Professor

Justine_Cassell

Justine Cassell

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-Director of the Simon Initiative, and until recently was 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 ECA can play in children’s lives, as a part of a Story Listening System, an interactive support for learning language and literacy skills.

More information is available on Justine’s website.

Postdocs

Yoichi Matsuyama
Yoichi Matsuyama

Yoichi Matsuyama

Yoichi Matsuyama is a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University. His research interest lies in computational models of human conversations, which combine artificial intelligence, cognitive science and human-computer/robot interaction. At the ArticuLab, he is leading the SARA (Socially Aware Robot Assistant), the Yahoo! – CMU InMind, and the RAPT (Rapport-Alignment Peer Tutor) projects. His Ph.D dissertation project was the SCHEMA, a multiparty conversation facilitation robot, specifically its computational models of facilitation strategies and language generation, as well as its robotic platform development. Prior to CMU, he was a researcher at the Perceptual Computing Group, Waseda University in Tokyo. He received B.A. in cognitive psychology and media studies, M.E. and Ph.D in computer science from Waseda University in 2005, 2008 and 2015 respectively. He was a visiting researcher at the iCub Facility, Italian Institute of Technology, also a committee member of ACM SIGGRAPH Asia.

Zhen Bai
Zhen Bai

Zhen Bai

Zhen Bai is a post-doctoral fellow at the ArticuLab. She leads the Sensing Curiosity in Play and Responding (SCIPR) project, which focuses on exploring the design space of playful learning environments that foster curiosity, exploration and self-efficacy for science education. Zhen is passionate to design innovative interfaces that augment our cognitive, emotional and social experiences in a playful and accessible way. Her research interests include augmented reality, tangible interfaces, design for children, developmental psychology, education, and computer-supported collaborative work. She received a B.Sc. in Computer Science from Beijing University of Technology in 2006, M.Eng. in Software Engineering from Peking University in 2009, and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Graphics & Interaction Group at the University of Cambridge in 2015. Her Ph.D. research focused on designing augmented and tangible interfaces that support symbolic play for young children with and without autism spectrum condition.

Florian Pecune
Florian Pecune

Florian Pecune

Florian Pecune is a post-doctoral fellow at the Articulab, working on SARA and Yahoo! – inMind projects, both of which focus on building a socially-aware personal assistant. He is mainly interested in designing embodied conversational agents able to build and maintain long-term relationships with humans by adapting their behavior according to the context of the interaction. Prior to the Articulab, he earned a Master`s degree in Cognition and Engineering from Paris 8 University and received a Ph.D in computer science from Telecom Paristech. His Ph.D research focused on building a decision-making model based on both social and task-oriented concerns. In his spare time, he loves to play and watch soccer or any kind of sports. If he is not in his lab or on a soccer field, he is probably playing some board or video games with friends.

Ph.D Students

Tanmay Sinha
Tanmay Sinha

Tanmay Sinha

Tanmay is a doctoral student in Language Technologies Institute in the School of Computer Science. His research interests lie at the intersection of (i) learning science and design of personalized educational technologies that aim to foster competencies such as collaboration and character qualities such as curiosity in group work, (ii) artificial intelligence & machine learning approaches to develop such “socially-aware” technologies that can self-improve with the social interaction over time, (iii) frameworks from social network analysis to analyze underlying group dynamics & processes such as peer influence, which stem from the social interaction. Tanmay finished his Masters program at ArticuLab, working on assessing the impact of socio-cognitive factors in greasing the wheels of interpersonal interaction, building rapport and enhancing learning. His research has been a recipient of “Best Student Paper” award at IVA 2016,  and “Shared Task Winner” at EMNLP 2014. [http://tinyurl.com/TanmayCV]

Samantha Finkelstein
Samantha Finkelstein

Samantha Finkelstein

Samantha is a doctoral student in human-computer interaction who is interested in education, collaborative learning, rapport, and virtual agents. She is interested in studying how real children interact, build relationships, and learn with each other, and how we can design pedagogical virtual peers who can collaborate with and support human children in learning. Samantha is involved with the Program for Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER) at Carnegie Mellon, as well as the computer science outreach group Women@SCS. When she’s not researching (what?) she’s probably out swing dancing, playing social board games, or crafting magnetic poetry.

Michael Madaio
Michael Madaio

Michael Madaio

Michael is currently a PhD student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at CMU, focusing on the learning sciences, and is a member of the Program for Interdisciplinary Education Research. He is primarily interested in the ways that technology mediates learning interactions between students, and how a more robust understanding of the dynamics of student collaboration can lead to a more effective design of learning technologies. Prior to the PhD, he completed a Masters of Science in Digital Media at Georgia Tech, focusing on educational technologies, where he was advised by Dr. Ian Bogost. While at Georgia Tech, he conducted research at the Center for 21st Century Universities on faculty usage of educational technology. Before that, he graduated from the University of Maryland with a Masters of Education and a Bachelors of Arts in English Language and Literature, and taught English at a public high school in Maryland for several years.

Master Students

Visiting Scholar

Jiajia Li
Jiajia Li

Jiajia Li

Jiajia is a Visiting Research Scholar in Articulab and a second-year Ph.D candidate in Communication University of China, majoring in Digital Media Art. She is good at Design, Animation, as well as Fine Art. Besides, She is eager to how technology can be connected with other subject, including Art and Education. In her spare time, She likes singing, drawing and joining SIGGRAPH program as a volunteer.

Lab Manager

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith is the lab manager of the ArticuLab. She is interested in exploring how novel, cross-disciplinary technologies and virtual learning environments can be used to broaden student participation and improve learning outcomes. Prior to joining the ArticuLab, Lauren was a research assistant at the RAND Corporation, Philadelphia Folklore Project, and most recently at the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied non-cognitive factors in student engagement. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with minors in Arabic, Social Welfare Advocacy, and Psychology from Indiana University—Bloomington in 2014. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, travelling, and amateur beekeeping.

Staff

David Slebodnick
David Slebodnick

David Slebodnick

David graduated the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Media Arts and Animation.After a few animating and illustrating jobs in educational games, he started with the Articulab in January 2013 to work on the Alex project. In his leisure time he enjoys anything from outdoor activities to drawing and painting.

Graduate Research Assistants

  
Robert Huerbin

Robert Huerbin

Robbie is the lead research assistant at the ArticuLab, where he primarily works on data collection and analysis for the RAPT project, and also assisting interns on all of the lab’s projects as needed. He is interested in research related to rapport, social anxiety, and autism, as well having interest in applying the psychology field of study to improve the criminal justice system. He recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016, with a B.S. in Psychology and minors in Japanese and Fiction Writing. Outside of the lab, he is a webcomic artist, graphic designer, and illustrator who enjoys watching and producing animation. He also enjoys improv acting and videogames.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

  
Prachi Mahableshwarkar

Prachi Mahableshwarkar

Prachi is a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon, majoring in Neuroscience with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience. She will be working on the SCIPR project starting in spring 2017 and is very excited to be involved in such influential work! Outside of academics, she is part of the Carnegie Mellon Bhangra team, and loves French music!

  
Michelina Astle

Michelina Astle

Michelina is a junior at Chatham University with a major in Psychology, on the pre-medical track to become a child psychiatrist. Past work includes data analysis for the RAPT project in the Spring of 2016 before she shadowed in a hospital in New Zealand this past summer. She is currently working on the data analysis team of the RAPT project. Michelina is the student director of the Chatham Scholars program and, in her free time, enjoys Magic the Gathering and reading.

  
Lauren Yan

Lauren Yan

Lauren is a junior Cognitive Science major, hoping to pursue a career path that involves either children, international relations, or ideally both. Her main research interest is all research that involves children, and anything that involves a cross-cultural aspect is a plus. In her free (and not-so-free) time, she most enjoys lying in bed and listening to music, preferably on a very cold day. She also likes to practice cooking, specifically working to perfect a fried egg.

  
Kanisha Vaughn

Kanisha Vaughn

Kanisha Vaughn is a junior at CMU, majoring in Cognitive Science, with a concentration in Neural Computation. She loves learning about the most is how different psychological and emotional disorders affect cognitive function, particularly disorders such as anxiety and panic. In my spare time, Kanisha simply enjoys cooking, Sudoku, and the occasional Harry Potter book.

  
Danny Choo

Danny Choo

Danny is a passionate and aspiring designer who believes that contemporary design should not only obsess about the aesthetics, but should also provide better ways to communicate and interact amongst people. That is the reason why he calls himself a communication/interaction designer instead of visual designer. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Human-Computer Interaction at CMU. Prior to the program, Danny worked as the visual UX designer at Samsung Electronics, focusing on voice UX interaction via SmartTVs. His interests are in design and technology and how those two can come together to create an impact in people. Through this research/design opportunity with ArticuLab and SCIPR project, he plans to gain a deeper knowledge in cognitive computing and how that can interplay with children’s behaviors in eliciting curiosity.

  
Caitrin Bogart

Caitrin Bogart

Caitrin is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Linguistics and French with a minor in German. When she’s not working, she dabbles in Hindi, Norwegian, Korean, and Spanish. Her interests include translation, phonetics, second language acquisition, and musicals. She’s excited to be working in this lab.

  
Ryan Doran

Ryan Doran

Ryan is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Linguistics and Mandarin Chinese. He is excited to be working with language variation and dialect on the ALEX project as an intern. His academic interests lie in second language acquisition, and his on-going research involves analyzing Mandarin L2 learners acquiring communicative competence via variable structures. When he is not working in the lab, Ryan enjoys critiquing movies and eating Chipotle.

  
Rishabh Chatterjee

Rishabh Chatterjee

Rishabh is a freshman majoring in Computer Science. He loves working with numbers and is obsessed (sometimes foolishly) with finding patterns in occurrences. He is currently working on the technical implementation team in RAPT, working to build and iterate on the design of the virtual agent tutoring dialogue system. In his free time he likes to play golf, cook, and travel.

  
Claire Chen

Claire Chen

Claire is a freshman majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Besides hardware, she is also interested in the interaction between people and technology. Currently, she’s working on the ALEX project as a programmer. Outside the lab, she enjoys watching anime and TV shows, whilst attempting to learn lock picking.

  
Kaily Bruch

Kaily Bruch

Kaily is a sophomore Psychology and Biological Sciences major atCarnegie Mellon. She is very excited to be working on the SCIPRProject during Spring 2017. In her free time, Kaily is a member ofthe Carnegie Mellon Women’s Soccer team and loves to eat andtravel!

  
Yeuk Yu Lee

Yeuk Yu Lee

Tiffany is a Junior majoring in Statistics and minoring in Computer Science. She loves building all kinds of websites, apps, packages and am obsessed with finding a balance between usability and aesthetics in designs. She is currently a programmer in SARA Project, coding and designing interfaces for user studies. Outside of school, she loves exploring new sports. Her recent favourites are Krav Maga and long boarding.

  
Simrin Guglani

Simrin Guglani

Simrin is a freshman Information Systems major from Pittsburgh who is currently working on the Alex project in the Articulab. Outside of the lab, she enjoys golf and badminton. Inside the lab, she enjoys excel and Elan. Simrin loves to learn random, useless skills that she will never need, and she can cook a mean packet of Maggie noodles.

  
Alvaro Granados

Alvaro Granados

I am majoring in neuroscience with a concentration in premedical studies at the University of Pittsburgh, and I will graduate this December. For my looming graduation, my thesis entails both fascinating and challenging material. I am reading oscillations in the brain’s magnetic field to locate the supplementary motor area in UPMC patients. I seek to spare this area from injury during surgery. My career aspiration is to be a neurosurgeon. In my free time I enjoy reading the history of neuroscience. Working in the ArticuLab is a special opportunity for me, because I immigrated from Peru with my family, pursuing the American Dream. Thankfully, in America I learned the joy of using my knowledge to teach others and make their lives easier.

  
Naomi Berman

Naomi Berman

Naomi is a senior undergraduate majoring in Linguistics with a minor in HCI and will be interning with the Alex project for the second time this spring. Naomi is very interested in the integration of sociolinguistic theory with practical technological solutions that address current social issues. When they are not studying, Naomi may be found under a pile of blankets or hanging out with their pet snake.”

  
Musumbi Martin

Musumbi Martin

Musumbi is an undergraduate Linguistics and Urban Studies double major at the University of Pittsburgh working on the ALEX Project in ArticuLab. He is interested in how dialectal differences can affect the learning process, and how educators may understand and work through these differences. In his free time Musumbi enjoys walking, composing music, and playing video games.

  
Kaylen Sanders

Kaylen Sanders

Kaylen is a senior Linguistics major at the University of Pittsburgh, with minors in Computer Science and Nonfiction Writing. She is excited to be involved in the Alex project and is interested in the intersection of language and technology. In her free time, she loves finding new music, reading articles and blogs online, and sipping lattes.

  
Vivian He

Vivian He

Vivian He is a freshman majoring in Information Systems. She will be working on the SCIPR for spring 2016, and is especially interested in how technology can be used to enhance human experience overall. During her free time, Vivian enjoys doing all sorts of design works and making music.

  
Lera Neviadomska

Lera Neviadomska

Lera is a first-year Information Systems student at Carnegie Mellon University hailing from Kiev, Ukraine. She is currently involved with the ALEX project and interested in user-friendly interface creation, especially in educational context. She is also involved with Scotch’n’Soda theatre and volunteers as a middle school mentor. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music, travelling, and exploring the surroundings.

  
Sasha Volodin

Sasha Volodin

Sasha is a freshman Information Systems major (like a couple other people here). She is an intern at the SARA project, where she is working on the user study. She is interested in socially aware AI and the future of virtual assistants. In her free time, Sasha enjoys reading, working out, and writing about herself in the third person.

  
Rae Lasko

Rae Lasko

Rae is a sophomore studying Cognitive Science and HCI. She is interested in informing ambiguous interfaces, such as voice, with knowledge gained from studying human interaction. Her work on RAPT has primarily been focused on analyzing data collected from human peer tutoring studies.

  
Chileshe Otieno

Chileshe Otieno

Chileshe is an intern in the SARA project, which he joined out of fascination with SARA’s exploration of interaction beyond text. Chileshe Otieno is a freshman in the Information Systems program at Carnegie Mellon University. He is an accomplished denizen of the internet, and a mild fitness enthusiast.

  
Joe Segel

Joe Segel

Joe is a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University studying Information Systems. He is working on the ALEX project and is interested in the connection between portable devices and people, especially the ever-growing necessity of cybersecurity in today’s globally connected society. Outside the lab, he spends his time playing water polo and keeping up with all of the latest Marvel movies and shows.

  
Conlon Novak

Conlon Novak

Conlon is a freshman at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Information Systems, and is thrilled to be a part of the Alex project. Outside of the lab, he enjoys hackathons, puzzlehunts, ultimate frisbee, and complaining about Pittsburgh’s weather. Given the opportunity, Conlon would love to spend a semester abroad writing short stories, taking photos, and eating exotic foods.

  
Caroline Wu

Caroline Wu

Caroline is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Music. She is a part of the RAPT project. As a piano teacher, Caroline is very interested in advancing peer-tutoring strategies. She enjoys singing in a cappella and reading.

  
Abbey Mui

Abbey Mui

Abbey is a first year student at Carnegie Mellon University studying Information Systems in Dietrich College. She hails from the Greater Boston Area in Massachusetts.  She is most interested in how children interact with machines and how they learn from them.  She is intrigued by how intuitive it is for children to pick up how to interact with machines.  She is currently working on the Alex project, under the direction of Samantha Finkelstein.  Outside of schoolwork and research, she is involved on campus with Fringe, Sustainable Earth, All-University Orchestra, and Women’s Club Lacrosse.  In her free time, she enjoys hiking and exploring Pittsburgh!

  
Lynnette Ramsay

Lynnette Ramsay

Lynnette Ramsay is a junior undergraduate majoring in Psychology with a minor in linguistics. She is currently working on annotation for the Rapport project as a volunteer intern. Her past work includes an independent study on Tank the Roboceptionist with Reid Simmons (CMU Robotics institute). She is also currently a research assistant in the Infant Language and Learning Lab headed by Erik Thiessen. She aims to one day have a career in researching education technology or working as a licensed school psychologist. Lynnette is a member of ALLIES, Big Straw magazine (an Asian interest publication), FORGE, and the Catholic Newman Club. In her spare time, Lynnette enjoys knitting, hula hooping, watching cartoons, and spending time with family.

  
Zoey Feng

Zoey Feng

Zoey is a sophomore at CMU majoring in Business and Administration. She will be working on the SCIPR project during Fall 2016. She had previously worked for AbilityFirst for three years and helped with promoting language and social skills for developmentally disabled children and teens. This past summer she went on a backpacking trip in Africa. Zoey loves traveling, surfing,  and softball.

  
Angela Liang

Angela Liang

Angela Liang is a junior at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Cognitive Science and minoring in Human-Computer Interaction. As part of the SCIPR project, she is interested in the use of virtual technologies in the context of education. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and knitting.

  
Michelle Deng

Michelle Deng

Michelle is a senior at Carnegie Mellon, majoring in Cognitive Science with a minor in Computer Science. She will be working on the SCIPR project for fall 2016. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, practicing yoga, hanging out with her friends, and photography.

  
Lu Sun

Lu Sun

Lu is a junior student majoring in Communications. She has great interests in design and Human Computer Interaction. She works on the SCIPR project this summer. She enjoys dancing, taking photos during her free time.

  
Daya Lee

Daya Lee

Daya is an undergraduate student studying HCI and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. She is currently working on the Alex project and is interested in human to virtual human interaction. in her free time, she enjoys listening to music, writing novels, and singing.

  
Alex Bainbridge

Alex Bainbridge

Alex Bainbridge is a Sophmore Information Systems Major at Carnegie Mellon. He is an intern on the SARA project and is working on the natural language generation aspect. He also enjoys working on shows for Scotch ‘N’ Soda and reading about cyber security.

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