Here is my Curriculum Vitae.

I was born in Braila, Romania and got my B.Sc. in Computer Science from Jacobs University Bremen in Germany, after which I came to Carnegie Mellon for my PhD in Robotics. Highlights of my activities and awards are below.


  • I enjoy teaching kids about robots and CS, and inspiring them to love math. And although I have worked with children with diverse backgrounds, my primary focus has been on girls and underpriviledged children. I do this at local schools, like the Ellis School for Girls or the Hawken School. We also organize robotic kit building and programming sessions, for instance with gifted elemetary school students from low-income districts like Wilkinsburg, or with Gwen's Girls. We give numerous tours of the Personal Robotics Lab to children of all ages, the youngest being the 2-year olds at the CMU daycare!
  • I am the General Chair of the Student Leadership Council of the Quality of Life Technology Center. My main goal is to encourage collaboration among students and the application of ideas from one field to another.
  • I organized a series of three workshops around the topic of human-robot collaboration, one for each of the areas required make collaboration a reality: human-computer interaction (at HRI13), robotics (at RSS13), and machine learning (at ICML13).
  • I serve/served on the Program Committee for R:SS, AAAI Robotics Track, AAAI Fall Symposium, and STAIRS, and review for IJRR, AURO, WAFR, HRI, ICRA, IROS, IJCAI, Africon, Humanoids, IEEE T-RO, IEEE RAM.


  • Our paper at ICRA 2015 - "Motion Primitives via Optimization" - was a best student paper award finalist.
  • I am a Siebel Scholar, class of 2015.
  • I was a best reviewer award finalist at R:SS 2014
  • I received the Dan David Scholarship for Artificial Intelligence, 2014.
  • I was awarded the "CITEC Award for Excellence in Doctoral HRI Research" at HRI 2014.
  • Our paper at R:SS 2013 - "Generating Legible Motion" - was a best paper award finalist.
  • I was awarded the Intel PhD Fellowship in 2013.
  • Our paper at Ro-Man 2012 - "Online Customization of Teleoperation Interfaces" - was nominated for the best paper award.
  • Our paper at R:SS 2012 - "Formalizing Assistive Teleoperation" - was a best paper award finalist.
  • I was a Google Anita Borg Scholar for 2012-2013.
  • I was an HRI Pioneer in 2011.
  • I was lucky enough to be offered a D.Phil full scholarship at University of Oxford's Computing Laboratory in 2009.
  • I won the Jacobs University Excellence Scholarship 2008, which supported me through an exchange semester at Carnegie Mellon.
  • I won multiple prizes at Math Olympiads and contests in high-school. Taking part in these helped shape my career path, and I am very grateful.

Teaching and Mentoring

  • Sidd and I are co-teaching 16-843 Manipulation Algorithms in Fall 2014.
  • I am/was on the qualifier committe for Kyle Strabla, Deyang Zhao and Juan Pablo Mendoza.
  • I mentored Shira Bauman for a Master's independent study, now at MITRE, and worked with Liz Cha (now PhD at USC).
  • I mentor/mentored Rachel Holladay, Neal Jassal, and Shastri Ram in their undergraduate research.
  • I mentored Kenton Lee for his RI Summer Scholars Internship, now PhD at UW.
  • I was a research team leader for OurCS, a workshop that involves undergraduate girls in computer science research.
  • At Carnegie Mellon, I was a teaching assistant for Mathematical Fundamentals for Robotics (Prof. Michael Erdmann).
  • At Jacobs, I was a teaching assistant for General Computer Science I and II (Prof. Michael Kohlhase), General Electrical Enginering I and II (Prof. Werner Bergholz), and Computability and Complexity (Prof. Herbert Jaeger).

Invited Talks

  • "Interaction as Manipulation", MIT, 2014.
  • "Interaction as Manipulation", Georgia Tech, 2014.
  • "A Mathematical Formalism for Legible Robot Motion", University of Southern California, 2014.
  • "Robot Motion for Seamless Human-Robot Collaboration", Cornell University, 2014.
  • "A Personal Robot for a Better Quality of Life", Carnegie Science Scenter, 2013.
  • "Learning to Collaborate with People", Machine Learning Lunch (Carnegie Mellon), 2013.
  • "Robot Motion for Seamless Human-Robot Collaboration", Stanford University, 2013.
  • "Enabling Physical Systems to Collaborate with Their Users", Intel (Hillsboro, OR), 2013.
  • "Optimal Motion for HRI", DLR, Germany, 2013.
  • "Robot Motion for Seamless Human-Robot Collaboration", Georgia Tech, 2013.
  • "The Practical Side of Optimization", Guest Lecure, Carnegie Mellon, 2012.
  • "Assistive Teleoperation: Prediction and Arbitration", Center for Foundations of Robotics (Carnegie Mellon), 2012.
  • "Optimal Planning for Robotic Manipulation", Intel Science and Technology Center, 2012.
  • "Learning from Experience and Demonstration for Manipulation Planning", Google, 2012.
  • "Optimization in the Real World", Guest Lecture, Carnegie Mellon, 2011.
  • "Manipulation Planning: How do we learn from experience?", SELECT Lab (Carnegie Mellon), 2011.
  • "Trajectory Optimization with Goal Sets", Center for Foundations of Robotics (Carnegie Mellon), 2011.
  • "Learning to Solve Constraint Satisfaction Problems", The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), 2009.