It’s 2020 and I’m sure that the future will not look back kindly upon this year. I thought it might be a good time to update this blog with more information since I haven’t written much since I started my doctorate at the University of Utah.
I’m now three years into figuring out the direction of my Ph.D. I’m really invested in the research I’m doing at the Liquid Narrative Lab, and decided that my thesis will concern narrative planning incorporating emotional modeling. In easier terms, I want to use planning algorithms to factor in emotional trajectories of characters (and audiences) while planning stories. This would add in another lens for authors to use to manage the stories produced by AI planners.
I’m three years into the the Ph.D. program at the U. In these three years, I switched over to the Human-centered Computing track, which let me focus my coursework towards more relevant topics. I took some great classes here at the U, and I’m done with courses. I also finished two semesters of Teaching Mentorship, a requirement that let me hone my teaching skills. I supported 400 level courses such as Natural Language Processing and Intro to Artificial Intelligence, a step up from my previous teaching endeavors, and much bigger class sizes. I dealt with anxiety talking in front of such a large crowd, but sailed through it overall. I also finalized my thesis committee: six professors who have different backgrounds, each one pushing me to consider my research from a different perspective.
I’m almost three years into life in Salt Lake City, UT. I feel like this city is now my home. I’m too used to the amazing Wasatch mountains around me now. I spent a summer interning for SRI International in Princeton, NJ and it felt weird to be back at my home state and have no mountains around. I love indulging in the active lifestyle in Salt Lake, because watching everyone around you striving to be fit really motivates me. I ran a 10k this Spring and it was a wonderful experience: right from training for it to running it while matching pace with the fellow runners. This place has grown on me.
I’m three years into the life of an academic. I’ve presented work at conferences such as AIIDE, AAAI, ICIDS, and IUI. I’ve also started taking part in organizing parts of them: I had the opportunity to be the communications chair for ICIDS 2019, and am working towards organizing the INT workshop this year. I’ve met so many amazing people who are all my peers and doing research in this field, that when I see one of my peers publish new work, I’m filled with excitement to find out what new progress they’ve made in this still-in-its-early-stages domain.
Bonus: My dog is also three years into his life. I got him about two years ago and Joey has been an absolute wonder since!