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.
I also have experience organizing both academic and recreational activities for large groups of audience. I have been selected as a Student Volunteer (SV) for Frontier's Neuroergonomics Conference 2018 as well as ACM CHI 2016 and 2017, the most prestigious conference on human computer interaction with more than 3600 attendees. In addition, as the President of Persian Students Association (PSA) and Vice President of International Graduate Students Association (IGSA) at Drexel, for three years, I have been involved in planning and executing activities for a community of more than 14000 students with event sizes of up to 400 guests.