Activities as a student:
As a student, I got my first taste of research working in Dr. Taraz Lee’s lab on cognitive psychology and motor learning. Funded generously by Weinberg student fellowships, I collaborated with fellow lab members on building a brain-scanning experiment of focus of attention and athletic performance. We also worked on experiments about motivation and conscious skill knowledge, which excitedly led to a publication in Journal of Neurophysiology. Again with generous support from the Weinberg Institute, my cognitive science pals and I traveled to Montreal to attend CogSci ‘19, the largest international cognitive science conference, where we presented our work to other researchers. Outside of the lab, I studied French Horn in U-M’s music school, performing in Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas with fellow music students.
With another cognitive science student, I worked to improve the professional lives of refugees resettled in Southeastern Michigan. Our group, called Refugees to College, received much mentorship from U-M’s wider entrepreneurship community including OptiMize. I learned a lot about teamwork and leadership from that experience, and I would highly recommend current students explore what their community has to offer.
Since graduating from U-M:
Since graduating, I joined Dr. Patrick Shafto’s Cognitive and Data Science Lab at Rutgers University—Newark. I have been working on exciting projects funded by DARPA on Artificial Social Intelligence, including how players cooperate in a Minecraft-like game, and Explainable AI, including establishing trust in robots predicting medical diagnoses. To pursue my interests in machine learning more deeply, I returned to University of Michigan to study for a Master’s in Computer Science.
Career and other highlights that you're most passionate about or proud of:
One highlight was a chance to combine my interests in music and cognitive science with Dr. Somangshu Mukherji’s course on Musico-linguistics. Inspired by the idea that music and language could be produced by the same parts of the mind, I continued to work with Professor Mukherji on an honors thesis project. I demonstrated that a computer program for writing sentences can also write musical chord progressions. I hope to continue investigating computational theories for creativity and expertise in domains like music.
How has your U-M Cognitive Science degree influenced your career path?
The U-M Cognitive Science major provided an exciting, flexible, and interdisciplinary way for me to explore my developing interests as an undergrad. I am grateful for the opportunities it gave me to learn in interesting classes and acquire funding for internships and conference travel. The opportunities I had and the relationships I built with my mentors led to my passion for pursuing questions about the mind. I hope to continue building on what I learned studying Cognitive Science at Michigan with a PhD in the near future.