My name is Aileen Benedict. I am a fourth-year PhD student and GAANN Fellow at UNC Charlotte. I am in the Computing and Information Systems program and am currently interested in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, psychology, art, and many other things. I also enjoy playing video games, listening to music, drinking tea, and doodling all over my notes.

Currently working on: Recommender System for Typhlo Music Therapy
Currently reading about: Human-Centered AI and Recommender Systems (particularly in Music, Health, and Education)

Through the GAANN Fellowship, we will not only be learning about research, but also about how to teach. Dr. Ras is my research advisor and teaching mentor, and I am very excited for this opportunity!

Why am I here?

Because everything is exciting. Hooray.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

Albert Einstein

I’m a dreamer. And many of my aspirations have been fueled by stories:

“An android assistant with a defective personality chip, sense of humor, and sarcastic charm; a healthcare robot that looks like a marshmallow and acts like a friend; and an android’s daughter who learned how to feel – these fictional characters all led me to where I am today. These are the stories that inspired me as I grew up and pushed me to pursue studies in computer science. I wanted these dreams to come true. I wanted that sarcastic android to exist. I wanted to see that squishy robot roaming around, helping patients. And I wanted to be the one to help bring these stories to life.”

This was a part of my Statement of Purpose and I suppose the reason I’m here still remains the same. There is so much that interests me and so many ideas to pursue. I hope to use this curiosity to make things that are helpful. :’)

The rest of my statement is below.