Getting involved in research at the People and Robots Lab

Hello and thank you for your interest in getting involved in the People and Robots Lab!

Let me start by saying that the best part of my job as a professor and lab director is to work closely with students on research projects and to see them grow as independent researchers. It is a pleasure and privilege to play a role in students’ development. The success of this process depends on making sure that you are a good fit to our Lab and the Lab is a good fit to you and all the necessary mechanisms are in place. The information below will help you and me in determining that.

For Current UW–Madison Students

Graduate Research. If you are a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, please send me an email with some basic information about your background and interests and set up an appointment for us to meet. We usually have two kinds of positions for graduate students: long-term research assistantships (RA) and short-term project assistantships (PA). If you are interested in an RA position, the best course of action is to enroll in CS/Psych-770 Human-Computer Interaction in the fall (offered every fall), to follow up with an independent study in the spring, and discuss a long-term plan with me sometime in the middle of that spring to see if your interests align with the ongoing projects in the lab. If you are interested in a PA position, please send me some information on past positions you might have held, the kind of work you are interested in doing (e.g., software development, hardware design, etc.), and the timeframe for which you are looking to work. We’ll take it from there! If you are an incoming student, the best time to get in touch with me would be right before or when you arrive on campus.

Undergraduate Research. If you are an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the best way to get involved in research is to e-mail me with a copy of your resume and brief description of your goals, and we will start a process of matching you with a graduate student mentor. Students with a strong development experience and enthusiasm for research are a good fit to becoming undergraduate research assistants. Your sophomore year is the best time to get started with research, and your junior year is the second best, although advanced freshmen and seniors who plan to stay in Madison after graduation are also encouraged. If you are interested in doing research over the summer, please send me a brief email describing your interests, coursework, research experience (if any), and timeframe in which you are looking to do research.

Paid Positions for Undergraduates. If you are looking for a paid research assistantship (RA) position, we regularly have open positions for experimenters, data coders, developers, and editors, which we post on the UW Student Job Center.

For Prospective Students/Postdoctoral Researchers

Graduate Admissions. If you are not currently at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and are interested in starting graduate study in the computer science, industrial engineering, and psychology programs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I would recommend following the admissions guidelines. We usually recruit new students every year, and I would be very happy to discuss research opportunities after admission.

Internships, and Other Non-Degree Positions. If you are not currently at the UW–Madison and are not targeting a degree program, it would be very hard for us to get you involved with research, unfortunately, as the overhead of setting up a position such as an internship (payroll, visas, etc.) is very high, and we usually lack the resources to do so except under special circumstances (e.g., you are a member of a collaborating lab).

Postdoctoral Research. If you are looking for a postdoctoral researcher position, please email me and let’s chat!