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Ameneh Shamekhi is a PhD student in the Computer Science program at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science, advised by Professor Timothy Bickmore. In 2012, Ameneh received her Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran.

Ameneh’s specific field of study is human-computer interaction, and she is a part of the Relational Agents Group at Northeastern. In this group, Ameneh and her colleagues are developing virtual agents to train, promote behavior change, and keep accompany with users through a long-term, emotional and interactive relationship. She is also investigating the use of physiological sensors to recognize and track users’ emotions in human-agent interaction to improve task outcomes in domains such as coaching, counseling, psychotherapy, health care and self-monitoring.


  • BS, Sharif University of Technology – Iran

About Me

  • Hometown: Tehran, Iran
  • Field of Study: Human Computer Interaction
  • PhD Advisor: Timothy Bickmore

What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?

The thing I love about my graduate education and research, is the fact that we can always dig deeper into any topics, and investigate the roots. Learning the scientific methods that enable us to approve the validity and reliability of any quantitative or qualitative research methods, made me realize the power of science and enjoy exploring my research questions.

What are your research interests?

My research interest is to investigate different ways that computers can recognize human affective state. Particularly, I’m interested in the use of respiration and voice data to detect human’s emotional state, and extract usable knowledge to improve self-awareness.

In general, “human computer interaction” is a branch of computer science that best fits my personality and interests, and since I started my undergraduate studies in computer engineering, I had a feeling that I’d like to work on projects in which humans are closely involved, and research contains more human-related stuff. I have always had the need to feel what I am doing has a clear application in humans’ lives, and now, working on many health-related technologies fulfills my need partially.

What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?

We are exposed to tons of data in today’s world, and I believe all of that data is keeping us busy and less aware of ourselves. One of the services that technology can provide, is helping people be more aware, and mindful of what is really happening inside and outside of them. I’d like to use the human voice and respiration data to provide such information to improve self awareness. This information could also be used as an input to health behavior change intervention systems.

What are your research or career goals, going forward?

I have a relatively long to do list before I achieve my PhD. First, I need to work on my current project to publish is as a journal article. Then I’d like to write my proposal by the end of the summer. I would also like to do another internship in one of the top-tier companies to expand my applicable knowledge, and gain a better sense of the real issues and challenges in the tech-world.

Where did you grow up or spend your most defining years?

I grew up in Tehran, capital of Iran, the city that I love and believe is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.