Jacqueline Kory Westlund wearing sunglasses on a mountain

Hi, I'm Jacqueline Kory Westlund.

Places you can find me:

My Research

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

I work in the field of human-robot interaction (HRI). My research focuses on developing and evaluating educational technologies: how social robots and tablet games 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, 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 and social-emotional skills in learning. I've found that HRI - being such a multidisciplinary field - is a fantastic avenue 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 press articles about my research.

Mentors and Collaborators

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 Aðalgeirsson, Samuel Spaulding, Luke Plummer, Kris dos Santos, Rebecca Kleinberger, Ehsan Hoque, Palash Nandy, David Nuñez, Mirko Gelsomin, Randi Williams, Huili Chen, Pedro Reynolds-Cuéllar, Ishaan Grovr, Nikhita Singh, Aradhana Adhikari.


Past life

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!

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

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.


This website is both a learning exercise in web development and a place for me to share stories about projects I'm working on (such as art projects, resources, and technology-related endeavors) and thoughts on a variety of subjects.