When I was a kid I once read that many of the stars that we see in the night sky are long dead and we are just seeing their light travel through space. I am still fascinated by that fact and that is why I still am on my journey. A journey that started some time around 15 years ago!
During this journey, I built up the foundation by finding a new hobby. Coding! And later came the fascination by AI which resulted in three successful Machine Learning projects. (1, 2, 3) Before starting the next chapter at Drexel University, I freelanced commercial applications and websites as well as teaching Programming and English. At Drexel, I started my work with my advisor, Dr. Erin Solovey, and was involved in variety of projects.
I started my journey at Drexel by being involved in a collaboration with Arizona State University on using fNIRS for Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS). After improving my skills as a researcher, I started working in the Brain and Creativity Study, a collaborative work with CMU HCII, Harvard University, and UCSD. In the later years, I started mentoring undergraduate students in the lab on their projects: fNIRS Data Visualization and Mind Wandering in SART, a part of ITS study which won a NSF grant in 2018. I also mentored three students on my personal project, Trust in Embodied Virtual Agents (EVAs). In addition to designing the study, I developed the required interface, conducted online and in-person experiments, and gathered and analyzed (both qualitative and quantitative) user data. This work has been presented in two CHI workshops (1, 2), a Frontiers conference, as well as being published in a Springer Nature journal.
My coursework at Drexel taught me skills in Psychology and Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) which significantly changed my views on human psychology for the better. Even after I finished my coursework, receiving my M.Sc. in Computer Science from Drexel University, I kept educating myself on those topics by participating in multiple experiments at Drexel and University of Pennsylvania. In the busy summer of 2018, I conducted the in-person experiments of my project while working as a graduate assistant for the NSF funded REThink program, as well as working as a student employee for Robot Springboard program. Through these two programs I learnt a lot about the American school system and the struggles of underrepresented groups; especially among girls.
SV at CHI