Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund wearing sunglasses on a mountain, arms outstretched with a happy smile

I am an independent scholar, writer, and artist.

I have a multidisciplinary background with expertise in cognitive science, computer science, education, psychology, ethics, and robotics. I hold a PhD and MS in Media Arts & Sciences from the MIT Media Lab, and a BA in Cognitive Science from Vassar College. I am a research scholar with the Ronin Institute. Watch my TEDx talk: Kids can't be taught, but they love to learn!

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Tech, Learning, and Design Consulting

My specialty is being able to talk and work across disciplines—I build bridges. I am available for consulting on a range of topics—such as educational technology, interaction design, data analysis, grant writing, and more. Get in touch.

Jacqueline Kory-Westlund in a red dress holding a red and blue striped robot and smiling

My Research

I completed my PhD at the MIT Media Lab in the Personal Robots Group under Dr. Cynthia Breazeal in 2019. I was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a Media Lab Learning Innovation Fellowship to support my research at the Media Lab.

My research has centered on human-robot interaction (HRI), educational technology, and young children's learning. For example, I have explored how social robots can be used to engage and support children in learning, how to create more effective robotic learning companions (e.g., with relational AI), how children understand and empathize with social robots, what long-term interactions with robots are like, and the ethics of using social robots in children's lives. I am interested in how technology is used in the "real world" to facilitate learning (as opposed to during experimental studies under the supervision of researchers), especially by different populations (e.g., by families and homeschoolers vs. in schools). I am intrigued by the connections between people's relationships and their learning, and how technology can be used to encourage human flourishing.

Motivating my work are broader questions about the nature of personal identity, how people understand and perceive others, and the importance of empathy, relationships, and social-emotional skills in learning.

Read about my research on social robots for kids, my experiences in grad school, or news about my work.

Latest posts and projects

river rocks partly submerged in still water Was it worth revising and resubmitting a paper ... again? After rejections from several journals and over 30 revisions? But writing is a process. If the words aren't right yet, it's my job as a writer to make them right.

a child puts her arm around a fluffy red and blue robot and grins In my dissertation research on relational technology, I found that girls and boys frequently treated a relational robot differently... but why? What are the implications for designing relational technology in the future?

pink clouds on a pastel sky, smoke rising below from a volcano, lit from the last sunlight of day Nearly all the photos on my blog are photos I took. Here's where to find my photo-centric posts from 2010-2012, with a special section on the Vassar Palmer Gallery exhibit Through the Student Lens in 2011, which featured two of my photos.

close up of a red button by a green pocket and an orange pocket Who wouldn’t want a coat covered in buttons, colors, and pockets? I certainly wanted one—so here it is! Take a look at the patchwork coat I’m making!