I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Digital Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine, and an incoming Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. I research and design technologies that promote language and literacy development, STEM learning, and wellbeing for children and families.

I currently focus on AI-powered conversational agents, exploring whether and how these speech-based technologies play the role of a language partner or learning companion for children, thereby impacting children’s social interactions and developmental processes.

Within this question, I focus in particular on the impact on children growing up in underrepresented communities, co-designing with local families and community organizations to ensure that the media we develop are best suited to build on the community’s linguistic and cultural assets. I am greatly honored to have been named the UC Irvine Public Impact Distinguished Fellow in recognition of the potential of my research to significantly enrich people’s lives.

My research has appeared in premier academic venues across psychology, education, and HCI (e.g., Child Development, Computers & Education, and the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems), receiving a number of best paper nominations and awards. My research partners include PBS KIDS, Sesame Workshop, and IBM. My work has been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

I have mentored over 30 undergraduate and graduate students at UCI, helping first-generation and immigrant students win national fellowships and university research awards, present and publish their findings in peer-reviewed outlets, and gain admission to graduate programs at Harvard, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, and other top universities.

What’s New

Two Papers Accepted to ACL 2022

We have two papers accepted to ACL 2022, both focusing on automatic question generation in educational settings: