Work With Me

I am always looking to work with enthusiastic students! I particularly encourage students from any of the underrepresented groups in Computer Science to talk to me about potential projects. I look for students who demonstrate commitment, creativity, communication skills, and courage to learn something new (the 4 C’s, as I call them!). When contacting me via email for the first time, to show that you have read this page, please include the word “courage” in your email title. There are two ways for students to participate in the lab:

Affiliate students are generally interested in a smaller commitment to the lab, such as a summer or a single semester of working together. To be accepted as an affiliate student, you should complete the the new student challenge and discuss it with me in office hours. Affiliate students are asked to work under the guidance of a current Ph.D. student on an established project. Specific onboarding tips and work guidelines are outlined in the ProDUCT lab student guide.

Student researchers are expected to commit three consecutive semesters (summer may be counted as one of these) to working in the lab, with at least two of these semesters being for credit or pay (see funding section below). In addition to all of the points outlined in the ProDUCT lab student guide, the following behaviors are expected of student researchers:

  • Complete the new student challenge and discuss it with me.
  • Attend the weekly lab meeting in Keller 2-242, Fridays 10:00-11:00 AM.
  • Commit at least 9 hours per week to your research work (similar to how you would treat any other 3-credit course)
  • Attend office hours every week to update me
  • Have your name on a submitted publication by the end of the 3 semesters (e.g., pub example 1 and pub example 2)

These guidelines are based on observing the experiences of other students in the lab. My goal is to help you succeed as a researcher, and the above are concrete steps to help you get there.

Depending on your current program or affiliation, here is some additional guidance in deciding how to get involved:

Undergraduate students seeking to gain research experience in my lab should choose between the “affiliate” and “student researcher” ways of getting involved. Honors thesis students should plan on a “student researcher” level of commitment as in my experience a meaningful honors thesis is difficult to carry out in an affiliate capacity. Any students hoping to move on directly into a Ph.D. should also plan on the “student researcher” level of commitment for a strong recommendation from me. If you are unsure as to which option may be more appropriate to you, I would suggest starting with “affiliate” as you can always transition to “student researcher” if you find that you want a more significant involvement (by following the expectations set above for student researchers).
If you are a Masters student interested in working with me on a Plan A, Plan B, or a similar capstone for another program, you should follow the “Student Researcher” instructions in the section above. Unfortunately, I cannot take on Masters students for smaller commitments, such as “affiliate.”
If you are a local high school student interested in getting involved in research, you should follow the “Affiliate” instructions section above. Of course, I would also love to work with students who are interested in working with me a “Student Researcher” capacity, but I can only do so with students who are able to meet all of the expectations (including lab meeting attendance).
Students seeking a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Minnesota should apply to the graduate school, specifying an interest to work with me in the application and the essay. Additionally, I encourage you to reach out to me via email after submitting your application, to tell me a little bit more about yourself and why you are interested in working with me. University of Minnesota graduate school admissions are decided by a committee of faculty holistically based on many factors including: grades, research experience, quality of other applicants, recommendation letters, etc.
If you are currently a University of Minnesota Ph.D. student and are looking to change advisors or are in a complementary program such as Human Factors, I suggest following the “Student Researcher” instructions above. As we get to know each other’s work styles better, we will jointly make a decision about your future status.
Generally, my ability to accommodate post-doctoral students and visitors is limited by funding. I do not have such funding at this time, but should funding become available, I will update this page with the necessary information. However, visitors with funding from other sources should certainly reach out via email to see if collaboration would make sense.

Students should also be aware of the funding practices of our group, in order to plan accordingly:

There may be funding opportunities for student researchers. One such opportunity is an NSF-funded REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) fellowship, which may be available on specific funded projects or during summer, department-wide, theme-focused REU sites (however, one thing to note is that all REUs require students to be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.). Talk to me directly if you are interested in an REU. Another opportunity is the university UROP program, which is open to all students. I highly recommend that each of my undergraduate students apply for this program, as it not only provides a stipend but may also be used to defer the costs of conference travel if your paper is accepted.
Generally, I do not fund Masters students. However, I may make exceptions for students who make substantial and continuous contributions to funded projects. I will also recommend you for other opportunities for funding, if appropriate, such as TA positions if you meet the requirements and there are available positions.
Ph.D. Students, whom I accept directly to work with me, will have funding as a fellowship, RAship, or TAship through the first 5 years (10 semesters) of their Ph.D. as long as they are making acceptable progress in the program. For Ph.D. students who want to join my lab, but are not directly accepted by me into the program will not be guaranteed funding, but I will certainly recommend you for TA positions when appropriate.

Research is really fun! I would be honored to be your mentor and guide in this process.