Overview

I’m a PhD student interested in researching embodied computational models of human behavior, especially perceptual, linguistic, and social skills. Using knowledge of how humans perceive and operate on the world and the social beings around them can inform the creation of more intelligent, adaptive, and communicative systems. I am particularly interested in the potential application of these skills in socially assistive robotics and robots for education. My other interests include human-robot interaction, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and social learning across cultures.

Education

Ph.D. in Computer Science

2020 - present
University of Colorado at Boulder

I’m in my first year of PhD study as part of the HIRO and CAIRO labs here at Boulder, co-advised by Profs. Alessandro Roncone and Bradley Hayes. I’m also a co-investigator in the Institute for Student-AI Teaming (ISAT).

  • 2020 Chancellor’s Fellow

B.S. in Cognitive Science (Honors)

2016-2020
Yale University

I majored in Cognitive Science with a concentration on Mind & Computation. My thesis, Grounded Natural Language for Collaborative Robotics, was advised by Prof. Brian Scassellati.

  • GPA: 3.92/4.00
  • Graduated Magna Cum Laude

Research experience

Graduate Researcher

2020 - present
CU Boulder, Department of Computer Science

Graduate research assistant and co-investigator as part of the Human Interaction & Robotics Group and the Collaborative AI & Robotics Lab.

Undergraduate Research Assistant

2017 - 2020
Yale University, Department of Computer Science

Research assistant in the Yale Social Robotics Lab (aka Scazlab).

Projects

These are some of my most recent projects.

Towards equitable robot tutoring -- an intersectional analysis of human-robot interaction in racially diverse classrooms, with Dr. Alessandro Roncone and Dr. Tiera Tanksley - 2021-present (ongoing). We investigate the potential of autonomous pedagogical interventions for students from racially minoritized backgrounds. More specifically, this work will evaluate the performance of AI partners with early middle school Students of Color from low-income urban districts within the context of small group tutoring, with the goal of providing foundational insights on the specific needs of underserved students. Our long-term goal is to design and deploy socially and intellectually engaging AI partners that support both content learning and the development of constructive learning behaviors that will prepare students for their continuing educational careers.
Teaching Grounded Language Skills via an Interactive Robot Tutor, with Dr. Bradley Hayes - 2021-present (ongoing). We propose and develop a classroom-based social robot tutoring system that targets reading comprehension skills using methods inspired by successful embodied reading pedagogical practices. This system will incorporate skill tracing of comprehension skills in order to identify problem areas, and to help students ground their reading in concrete experiences.
Grounded Natural Language for Collaborative Robotics, with Jake Brawer and Dr. Brian Scassellati - 2019-2020. Social and communicative barriers between humans and robots limit human-robot collaboration from reaching the fluency and intuitiveness of human-human interactions. I helped to address this limitation by creating a cognitively-inspired semantic grounding model for language generation, based largely on recent work in psychophysics and psycholinguistics. I collected a corpus of original referring expression data from human participants and analyzed it to ensure the model was based on sound and consistent principles of human speech. This model allowed the robot to dynamically generate natural and informative requests for tools and other task-relevant objects from a human partner.
Lights! Camera! Action! Learning a Lighting Policy for Robot Photography, with Joe Connolly and Simon Mendelsohn - Fall 2019. We design and evaluate an autonomous lighting adjustment system for a robot photographer. The system utilizes deep reinforcement learning to learn how to adjust studio lighting for portrait-taking based on the environment, camera pose, and subject pose.

Teaching & Mentorship

Advising Fellow

2018 - 2020
Matriculate

Free college advising for low-income high school students (ASC-certified)

First-year Counselor

2019 - 2020
Yale University

Academic and residential advisor to first-year students

Yale Summer Session Counselor

Summer 2019
Yale University

Residential advisor to high school students in summer course program

Computer Science tutor

2018 - 2019
Self-employed

Artificial Intelligence (Yale CPSC470) and Data Structures & Programming Techniques (Yale CPSC223)

ONEXYS Mathematics Leader

Summer 2017
Yale University

Teaching college math fundamentals for incoming Yale students from low-income backgrounds

Publications

  • Teaching grounded reading skills via an interactive robot tutor
  • K. Bishop, B. Hayes and A. Roncone
    Workshop on Robots for Learning, HRI 2021

    Technical Skills & Proficiency

    Python and its many ML libraries (PyTorch, Tensorflow, OpenCV, etc.)

    ROS (Robot Operating System) package development

    Reinforcement Learning for real-world problem-solving

    Natural Language Processing for robotics applications

    C/C++, Java, Lisp

    Systems programming & software engineering