I've officially finished at MIT!
I've even got a ring to prove it. And some cool letters to tack on to my name.
I defended my dissertation in December. I finished all the revisions my committee had requested in February. The official graduation was in June.
My grad school admissions essay started off with the line, "I'm going to grad school because it'll be fun." I was right. At the MIT Media Lab, I worked on fluffy robots that helped young kids learn language skills through storytelling and play, an endeavor that included forays into art, robot voice acting, philosophy and ethics, psychology, child development, cognitive science, programming, electronics, statistics, and not a small amount of writing. It was a wonderful opportunity to both dabble and dive deeply.
Reaching this milestone wouldn't have been possible without the help and support of a great many people, most of whom I hope I remembered to add to the acknowledgements section of my dissertation. (If I forgot someone, there is written in the final document a promise of compensatory cupcakes.) You can find a pdf copy of my dissertation here.
As for what's next...
- Presenting two assessments for measuring kids' perceptions and social acceptance of social robots at IDC'19 later this week.
- Writing various academic papers covering some of my research from the past several years.
- Continuing my part-time career as robot voice actor, recording storybooks for the social robots in the Personal Robots Group.
- Gardening and playing with my kids.
- Miscellaenous other projects that may soon see daylight. Stay tuned.