I build theories about how people think [HRI'22],* learn,* and interact [THRI'23] with the world around them. Then, I apply these theories to develop robot-assisted interventions [HRI'22, HRI'21] to better support users of various cognitive and technical abilties.

Currently, I am a doctoral researcher at Yale University in robotics and a member of the Social Robotics Lab advised by Brian Scassellati. Prior to Yale, I was the Assistant Dean for Research and Curriculum Development at Long Island University (LIU) and a Lecturer of Computer Science at LIU Brooklyn and Vaughn College. Beyond lecture halls and research labs, I am the Director of the MIA Foundation, a non-profit that partners with local businesses and provides annual scholarships to support employment for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

* Manuscript(s) in submission 2024; see a list of past and ongoing projects here.

Long-Term, In-Home Social Robot for Adults with ASD

Leveraging our previous successes in the development of socially assistive robots for ASD interventions [1], we developed the Interruption Skill Training and Assessment Robot (ISTAR), an in-home autonomous training system that helps adults with ASD to practice handling workplace-relevant interruptions [2, 3]. ISTAR is rigorously evaluated by surveys of employers and adults with ASD, and a week-long study in the homes of adults with ASD during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the first in-home robot-assisted intervention for adults with ASD.

Fighting Social Isolation During COVID-19

One facet of my research focuses on creating robust systems capable of autonomous operation in dynamic, unstructured settings like homes. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted several opportunities in our daily lives for which robots can play a social role [4].

In response, we developed a robot teleoperation system tailored for elementary school-aged children, allowing them to engage in physical play even when physically separated [5]. This approach empowers children to control the actions of robots in their friends' homes and communicate with them. The outcomes of our research, along with user feedback, suggest that robots can offer a fun and safe means for individuals to connect socially during a global pandemic. For more information about this project, visit Robots for Good.


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Awarded 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

The NSF-GRFP is a prestigious grant awarded to approximately < 10% of student applicants pursuing research-based graduate degrees.

$46,000 x 3 yrs · Discovering the neural mechanisms of dyadic social interaction using human-robot interaction

Yale SRL article Yale CS article NSF-GRFP Awardee List NSF-GRFP Award Info
Awarded 2020 NASEM Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

The Ford Fellowship is a competitive grant awarded to < 5% of Ph.D. or Sc.D. students applicants by the National Academics of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

$27,000 x 3 yrs · Discovering the neural mechanisms of dyadic social interaction using human-robot interaction

FFPF Award Info