How to Turn Confrontations in the Classroom into Teachable Moments

Sodiq Adewole (Systems and Information Engineering) and James Bywater (Curry School of Education)

This project aims to develop opportunities for teachers to practice dialogue techniques in realistic but safe, virtually simulated environments. Rather than forcing young teachers to first encounter these conflicts in real situations, Adewole and Bywater will build a simulator to enable teachers to practice having difficult conversations using immersive 3D virtual reality. The system will create realistic settings that involve conversations between the teacher and a diverse group of artificially intelligent virtual students.

Faculty Advisors: Donald E. Brown (School of Engineering) and Jennifer Chiu (Curry School of Education)

Project proposal


Therapist in Your Pocket: Reinforcement Learning Approaches for Contextual, Personalized Emotion Regulation Recommendations

Mawulolo Ameko (Systems and Information Engineering) and Miranda Beltzer (Psychology)

In this project, we will learn and evaluate adaptive emotion regulation (ER) strategies for socially anxious individuals by developing methods that combine network analysis with reinforcement learning in an off-policy setting. This interdisciplinary collaboration between psychology and engineering permits a deeper understanding of the dynamics of ER in real life. By bringing machine learning tools to a big dataset of ER “in the wild,” this project has the potential to create more effective eHealth tools to provide personalized mental health services on a large scale at low cost, helping to alleviate the burden of mental illness.

Faculty Advisors: Laura Barnes (School of Engineering) and Bethany Teachman (College of Arts and Sciences)

Project proposal


Improving the Diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease through Graphical Modeling of Brain MRI

Jamie Blair (Radiology and Medical Imaging) and Arshdeep Sekhon (Computer Science)

This project will explore the use of MRI methodology to evaluate patterns of pathological spread in Parkinson's disease (PD) and the application of those patterns as part of a new MRI-based staging schema for PD. Blair and Sekhon will utilize advanced machine learning methodology coupled with multi-modal magnetic resonance imaging of living PD patients to achieve this aim. Evidence contributing to understanding patterns of neuronal loss in PD patients and the development of new staging schema will improve diagnostic accuracy as well as clinical outcomes in PD. 

Faculty Advisors: Thomas Jason Druzgal (School of Medicine) and Yanjun Qi (School of Engineering)

Project proposal


Evaluating air pollution exposure and environmental justice by integrating novel high-resolution nitrogen dioxide and human activity datasets

Angelique Demetillo (Environmental Sciences) and Cho Jiang (Urban and Environmental Planning)

This project aims to advance knowledge of air pollution exposure by combining multiple novel high-resolution datasets. In particular, very-fine-scale atmospheric measurements of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and human movement data for thousands of individuals in the polluted city of Los Angeles, California. Demetillo and Jiang hope to produce observationally-derived air quality exposure estimates at human spatial and temporal scales, quantifying air pollution exposure burdens with unprecedented precision.

Faculty Advisors: Andrew Mondschein (School of Architecture) and Sally Pusede (College of Arts and Sciences)

Project proposal


Women and Cyber Recruitment of Extremist Groups: A Text Analysis Approach

Mojtaba Heidarysafa (Systems and Information Engineering), Kamran Kowsari (Systems and Information Engineering), and Tolu Odukoya (Politics)

This projects will explore how terrorist groups' online recruiting efforts differ between men and women. Through text analysis of recruiting and propaganda tweets, and recruiting information placed on Telegraph (an increasingly important recruitment tool for ISIS), Heidarysafa, Kowsari, and Odukoya hope to study how this and related organizations draw in women. Understanding this variance in recruiting methodology would allow intervention in a more targeted way during the recruitment process, since most existing techniques are tailored toward men. This is an important and timely correction since female recruits are increasingly used to attack soft targets like markets and schools.

Faculty Advisors: Laura Barnes (School of Engineering), Donald E. Brown (School of Engineering), and Philip Potter (College of Arts and Sciences)

Project proposal


The Effect of Alarm Modalities on Drivers’ Performance in Dangerous Scenarios

Nauder Namaky (Psychology) and Erfan Pakdamanian (Systems and Information Engineering)

This project will explore the development of a novel methodology to predict critical situations and optimally alert autonomous vehicle drivers such that they are able to respond in a timely and informed fashion. Namaky and Pakdamanian will develop an adaptive deep neural learning algorithm that takes into account drivers’ cognitive states in conjunction with external hazards. Using this, they will develop an alarm system that leverages active physiological data from a driver to tailor alarm type (e.g. haptic, visual, auditory or combination based on the effectiveness) in order to best shift drivers into an engaged cognitive state without causing anxiety that may impair driving performance.

Faculty Advisors: James Coan (College of Arts and Sciences) and Inki Kim (School of Engineering)

Project proposal


Learn more about past Presidential Fellows