Five IC Ph.D. Students Selected for Premier Workshop at Stanford University

Five School of Interactive Computing Ph.D. students were selected to participate in the Rising Stars in EECS 2017 workshop at Stanford University on Nov. 5-7 of this year.

Tesca Fitzgerald (Computer Science), Vivian Chu (Robotics), Barbara Ericson (Human-Centered Computing), Umashanthi Pavalanathan (Computer Science), and Maia Jacobs (Human-Centered Computing) will participate in the workshop, which aims to bring together top senior Ph.D. and postdoctoral candidates preparing for careers in academia. It is organized by leading professors in computer science and electrical engineering and will entail scientific discussions and informal sessions aimed at navigating the early stages of an academic career.

Along with networking opportunities for participants, the workshop includes research presentations, panel discussions, and sessions on developing interviewing and promotional skills.

The application process consisted of a research statement, bio, curriculum vitae, and recommendation letters for each student. Around 60 applicants were selected from a competitive field of 323.

Fitzgerald’s research lies at the intersections of human-robot interaction and cognitive systems. She develops algorithms and knowledge representations for robots to learn, adapt, and reuse knowledge through interaction with a human teacher. She is co-advised by IC Professor Ashok Goel and former IC Associate Professor Andrea Thomaz, now at the University of Texas.

Chu’s research interests include socially intelligent robots, interactive multi-sensory perception, natural language processing, and applying machine learning techniques for robotic learning in unstructured environments. She is co-advised by Thomaz and Assistant Professor Sonia Chernova.

Ericson is also a senior research scientist in the College of Computing. Her research is focused on computing education, specifically in trying to increase the quality and quantity of secondary computing students and the quantity and diversity of computing students. She is the Director for Computing Outreach for the Institute for Computing Education in the College.

Pavalanathan's research deals in the computational analysis of language in online social media. Her thesis work focuses on computational approaches to understanding stylistic variation in online writing. She is a member of the Computational Linguistics Laboratory and is advised by Assistant Professor Jacob Eisenstein.

Jacobs focuses on health informatics, mobile computing, and human-computer interaction. More broadly, she is interested in how mobile interfaces may be designed to address the changing needs and priorities of users. She is advised by Professor Beth Mynatt.