It’s not easy being a graduate student. I think most people would agree, especially those who have experienced it. There are long hours, nights with little to no sleep, horrible eating habits, and few thanks. However, sometimes there are some rewards, some perks to the job. One of the greatest benefits I get to experience in the fields of Cognitive Science, Computer Science, and Robotics is the opportunity to travel – sometimes to far away and exotic places. Last year I had the privilege of going to Xi’an, China, and the year before that I went to Santiago, Chile. Each of these were continents I had never been to!
This year is starting strong. In a month I’ll be headed to the exotic destination known as Phoenix, Arizona. Not exotic enough? Rattlesnakes and cactus not cool enough? Well, in March I’ll be headed to Christchurch, New Zealand. Not only will this be another new continent for me, but it will also the farthest away from home I’ll ever be.
Why am I going to these places? In Phoenix, I will be attending the AAAI Conference, at which I will have a poster at the workshop on AI, Ethics, and Society (http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~tw/aiethics/AI_Ethics/Introduction.html). If you are in Phoenix, come see my poster about “Relational Enhancement: A Framework for Evaluating and Designing Human-Robot Relationships.” Then, in New Zealand, I will be attending the HRI Pioneers Workshop (http://www.hripioneers.info/hri16/index.html) at the International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. This will be an exciting opportunity to discuss my current and future work, meet other PhD students in HRI, and get some guidance and mentorship. I will be discussing my work entitled, “Robot Assistance in Medication Management Tasks.”
This is all quite exciting. Next time I’m shuffling my feet towards yet another cup of coffee and mumbling to myself that I’m crazy for choosing to be back in school, I just need to remember that sometimes there are some awesome rewards. And maybe, just maybe, some day I’ll get a nice piece of paper out of all of this that says I know what I’m talking about. Maybe.