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

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

Lab Manager

Lauren Simmons
Lauren Simmons

Lauren Simmons

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

John Choi
John Choi

John Choi

Currently a senior BCSA Computer Science and Arts student and Innovation Scholar at Carnegie Mellon University, John is an artist, engineer, and entrepreneur all in one. Having over 8 years experience developing computer simulations and 4 years experience building robots, John knows what it takes to develop innovative technology projects either independently or as a team.

Robert Huerbin
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

  
Pranav Goel

Pranav Goel

Pranav is an undergrad student at Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi, India. His major is Computer Science and his area of research interest lies at the intersection of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. He is highly enthused by the recent advances in Deep Learning and is absolutely loving the chance to apply it during his internship at ArticuLab, working on the SARA project. Outside research, he loves following and playing sports like soccer and badminton, reading sci-fi and detective fiction novels and watching live-action or animated superhero themed stuff.

  
Jingya Chen

Jingya Chen

Jingya is a junior student from Tsinghua University, studying in Automobile Engineering and Car Design. She is interested in the interaction design of intelligent device and researches on the performance of the virtual assistant agent with human. She has experience in industrial design including exterior and interior design of cars and service design, and also a big fan of world history and art history. Photography is always on her top list during her spare time, and recording and recreating the daily life and her imagination are hobbies of her for a long time.

  
Zhou Xiaofei

Zhou Xiaofei

Xiaofei is an undergraduate in the department of Industrial Engineering(Human Factor orientation) of Tsinghua University. She works as a summer intern in SCIPR project. She has strong interest in psychology, design and human-computer interaction. She loves the books HARRY POTTER since she was a child. During the idle time, Xiaofei enjoys jogging, playing badminton, watching movies. reading novels and spending time with friends.

  
Kun Peng

Kun Peng

Kun is a junior majoring in stats ML and cognitive science with a minor in sound design. She will be improving machine learning models for RAPT. She enjoys traveling, photography, composing classical/electronic music and translating classical Chinese poems. When she’s not committing to her hobbies she’s always checking her phone for the updates from FC Barcelona!

  
Linh Tran

Linh Tran

Linh is a rising senior in Computer Science at the University of New Mexico. She will be working on the Alex project as a DREU participant for summer 2017. She is interested in Human Computer Interaction (HCI), machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, and research. She is curious of how they influence children cognitive learning. At the end of summer

  
Alicia Sigmon

Alicia Sigmon

Alicia is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Spanish and Chinese. In her free time,she loves playing the piano, reading, painting, and drawing. During this previous spring semester,she did research on bilingualism in the University of Pittsburgh’s Linguistics Lab. She also discovered an interest in computer science through the course Introduction to Computational Linguistics. She does not know what her goal for after graduation is yet and hopes that working in the ArticuLab on the Alex project will help her discover her future goals.

  
Sarah Mathew

Sarah Mathew

Sarah is a fifth year computer science student at Hunter College minoring in Anthropology, Math, and Japanese. She will be working on multi-party gameplay for the SCIPR project this summer. Her interests include sustainability, artificial intelligence, cognition, and game theory. Outside of the lab, Sarah likes to listen to Politically Reactive, to read (the news), and to practice contemporary dance.

  
Max Collins

Max Collins

Max Collins is a recent graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Psychology and minor in Informatics. He will begin a PhD program at the University of California at Irvine in the Fall, studying Informatics. Max is working on the SCIPR project for the summer of 2017. His academic interests lie on the relationship between humans and technology, with an emphasis on how augmented and virtual reality can enhance our lives.

  
Vivian Tsai

Vivian Tsai

Vivian Tsai studies computer science and applied math at Johns Hopkins University and is excited to be working on InMind/SARA this summer. Her latest interests include natural language processing and cryptology. When she’s not at her desk, she’s playing the piano, quoting Star Wars, or getting lost in a book.

  
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.

  
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.”

  
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.

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