Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund wearing sunglasses on a mountain, arms outstretched with a happy smile

Hi, I'm Jacqueline.

I am an independent scholar, writer, artist, and consultant.

I am open to new opportunities and projects! If you are interested in working with me, please do drop me a line.

Places you can find me:

My Research

I completed my PhD at the MIT Media Lab in the Personal Robots Group under Dr. Cynthia Breazeal in 2019. I earned my Master's of Media Arts and Sciences in September 2014.

My research is in human-robot interaction (HRI) and educational technology. I focus on how social robots, tablet games, and other technology can help engage and support children in learning, reading, talking, and emoting. I ask questions about how to create more effective robotic learning companions, how children understand social robots, how context and framing affect child-robot interactions, how children's relationships connect to their learning, and the ethics of using robots in children's lives.

This is a pretty good summary of what I do.

Motivating my work are broader questions about the nature of personal identity, how we understand and perceive others, and the importance of empathy, relationships, and social-emotional skills in learning. I've found that HRI—being such a multidisciplinary field—is a fantastic venue for studying how people understand and interact with the world.

I was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a Media Lab Learning Innovation Fellowship to support my research at the Media Lab.

If you like, read the numerous blog posts I've written or press articles about my research.

Mentors, Collaborators, & Undergraduates

And many more: Sooyeon Jeong, Edith Ackermann, Leah Dickens, Hae Won Park, Goren Gordon, Michal Gordon, Samuel Ronfard, Jin Joo Lee, Nick de Palma, Siggi Aưalgeirsson, Samuel Spaulding, Luke Plummer, Kris dos Santos, Rebecca Kleinberger, Ehsan Hoque, Palash Nandy, David Nunez, Mirko Gelsomini, Randi Williams, Huili Chen, Pedro Reynolds-CuƩllar, Ishaan Grover, Nikhita Singh, Aradhana Adhikari.


Earlier activities

I'm an alumna of Vassar College. I earned my BA in Cognitive Science in 2011, with a minor in Computer Science. While at Vassar, I was a member of the Interdisciplinary Robotics Research Laboratory, participating in the Undergraduate Research Summer Institute in 2008 and 2009. During my semester abroad at the University of Sydney, Australia, I interned at the Brain and Mind Research Institute. In the summer of 2010, I interned at NASA Langley Research Center in the Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars Program—you can read about the Autonomous Vehicle Lab I helped establish.

At Vassar, I was on the foil squad on the Women's Fencing Team, captaining the team my senior year. I also helped start a Science & Science Fiction Writer's Club.

I spent my first post-college summer as an intern at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the Engineering Boot Camp, working with laser space robots.

Following that, I worked for a year as a research intern exploring human emotion and learning in Dr. Sidney D'Mello's Emotive Computing lab in the Institute of Intelligent Systems at the University of Memphis and at the University of Notre Dame.