Tesca Fitzgerald


Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Room / Office: Watson 502
Office Address:
51 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 208285
New Haven, CT 06520
Email: tesca.fitzgerald@yale.edu
  • Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
  • B.S., Portland State University


Broadly, my interests include interactive robot learning, cognitive robotics, human-robot interaction, transfer learning, and active learning.

As our expectations for robots' adaptive capacities grow, it will be increasingly important for them to reason about the novel objects, tasks, and interactions inherent to everyday life. Rather than attempt to pre-train a robot for all potential task variations it may encounter, we can develop more capable and robust robots by assuming they will inevitably encounter situations that they are initially unprepared to address. My work enables a robot to address these novel situations by learning from a human teacher's domain knowledge of the task, such as the contextual use of an object or tool. Meeting this challenge requires robots to be flexible not only to novelty, but to different forms of novelty and their varying effects on the robot's task completion. My research focuses on (1) the implications of novelty, and its various causes, on the robot's learning goals, (2) methods for structuring its interaction with the human teacher in order to meet those learning goals, and (3) modeling and learning from interaction-derived training data to address novelty.

Selected Awards & Honors:

  • 2014-2017 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • 2017 IBM Ph.D Fellowship
  • 2017 Georgia Tech GVU Center Foley Scholars Award Recipient
  • 2017 Rising Stars in EECS
  • 2014 Microsoft Research Graduate Women's Scholarship
  • 2013 Georgia Tech Institute Fellowship

Selected Publications:

For a complete list, please visit my Google Scholar.