Professor Mary (Missy) Cummings

Professor Mary (Missy) Cummings is the director of HAL. She received her B.S. in Mathematics from the US Naval Academy in 1988, her M.S. in Space Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1994, and her Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2004.

A naval officer and military pilot from 1988-1999, she was one of the U.S. Navy's first female fighter pilots. She is currently an associate professor in the Duke University Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, the Duke Institute of Brain Sciences, and the Duke Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. She is also an affiliate professor with the University of Washington’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department.

Her research interests include human supervisory control, human-unmanned vehicle interaction, human-autonomous system collaboration, human-robot interaction, human-systems engineering, and the ethical and social impact of technology.


Michael Clamann, PhD

Michael Clamann is a senior research scientist at HAL. He received a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University in 2014. He received a M.I.E. in Industrial and Systems Engineering and a M.S. in Experimental Psychology from North Carolina State University in 2011 and 2002, respectively. For his dissertation research he investigated ways to implement advanced haptic controls to help train fine motor skills. His current research interests include human-automation interaction and haptic control.

He has worked in industry as Human Factors Engineer since 2002, supporting government and private clients in domains including aerospace, defense and telecommunications. He is also a Certified Human Factors Professional (CHFP).

 Alexandar Stimpson, PhD

Alexander Stimpson is a postdoctoral associate at Duke University working in the Humans and Autonomy Lab. He received a B.S. Degree in Biological Engineering from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA, in 2007, and S.M. and Ph.D. Degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA, in 2011 and 2014, respectively. His dissertation work focused on the application of machine learning models to inform training assessment and intervention. His current research interests include human supervisory control, decision support systems, artificial intelligence, and data mining.


Andrew Hutchins

Andrew Hutchins is a PhD student in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) Department at Duke University. He is also a research assistant in the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory and is a recipient of the 2014 WISeNet IGERT Fellowship. Andrew received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2012 and 2014, respectively. While at North Carolina State University his research was in turbulent flame stabilization methods, including the implementation of confinement, diluents, and high-potential electric fields in flame propagation and control.

Current research efforts are focused on system dynamics modeling for evaluating training for operating increasingly autonomous systems and investigating methods of reporting self-confidence of autonomous systems to operators. Andrew also serves as the project manager for the Drones in Gabon (DIG) project. This project involves designing an inexpensive wildlife monitoring system for monitoring the African forest elephant during the night in Gabon. Outside of the lab, Andrew enjoys playing golf, going to the gym, watching/attending sporting events, and spending time with friends.

Miles Aubert

Miles Aubert is a PhD student in The Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department as part of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. He is also a research assistant in the Humans and Autonomy Lab. Miles graduated in 2014 with honors from the University of Reading in the UK with a First Class Bachelors of Science Degree in Robotics. His Research was focused on advanced techniques for Human Computer Interaction in High Cognitive Task Load Paradigms as well as 3D Scanning and Interaction technologies, and Virtual Reality techniques for multiple rehabilitation paradigms. During his time at the University of Reading he was awarded multiple awards most notably the EMEA Google Scholarship for Students with Disabilities and the Thales Research and Technology Sponsored Student Award.

His current research is concerned with developing interactive technologies that support optimal cognitive decision-making. Manifestations of this research include future air traffic control paradigms, interactive simulation environments and modeling the cognitive interactions between humans and autonomous systems.

Outside of the Lab Miles is passionate about fencing, watching football (The American kind) and basketball with friends, as well as applying the skills that he has developed through his studies to provide rapid response solutions in crises such as natural disasters.

 Matthew Tucker

Matt Tucker is a PhD Student in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) Department at Duke Univeristy. Matt is a research assistant in the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory and a recipient of the 2015 NSF WISeNet IGERT Fellowship. Matt received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in 2013 and a Master of Science in Biochemistry in 2015, both from North Carolina State University. Specifically, Matt investigated the relationship between zebrafish caspase3 utilizing X-ray crystallography, proteolytic specficity assays, and fluorometric kinetic assays.Matt is currently developing a human-machine interface for risk-aware, human cooperative planning for autonomous systems. Matt is interested in discovering the cognitive requirements necessary for humans to understand how algorithms perceive risk. Using that information, Matt is developing a human-machine interface capable of effectively conveying algorithmic perception of risk to the human operator, but also capable of enabling the operator to effectively convey human perception of risk to the automation. Outside of the lab, Matt enjoys going to the gym, watching college and professional sports, and unsuccessfully attempting to win New Yorker magazine caption contests.

Victoria Nneji

Victoria Chibuogu Nneji believes every opportunity in life is a blessing from God to use our gifts for the betterment of society. So, she finds her Research Assistantship with HAL meaningful as our work is intended to improve the interaction of people with new technologies, particularly in mission-critical environments. Victoria was born in Lagos and raised in Durham. Upon earning her B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Columbia University in NYC, she decided to return home and continue graduate studies at the Pratt School of Engineering.

 Mentoring students to believe in their ability is a favorite of Victoria. She does so at her alma mater NC School of Science & Math, in a monthly college prep series at local libraries, and as a Teaching Assistant at Duke. She was appointed to the Mayor's Education Task Force to Reduce Poverty and as a City Commissioner focused on passenger shuttle and taxi transportation issues. When she is not on a locomotive for her railway research, you can find Victoria enjoying family.

Ted Zhu 

Ted Zhu is an undergraduate at the Ohio State University, where he is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering. He is working on the Wildlife Conservation project, Drones in Gabon, which will use thermal imaging to count numbers of the African Forest Elephant at night. His research interests include robotics, programming languages, artificial intelligence, and human interfaces. Outside of the lab, Ted enjoys skiing, watching movies, and experiencing food.



Raya Islam

Raya Islam is an undergraduate student working towards a mechanical engineering major and computer science minor. She is currently trying to establish a drone interface that can be utilized in wildlife conservationism. Outside of the lab, Raya works with Girls Engineering Change and loves attending Duke basketball games. Her interests include robots, soccer, camping, and eating Cajun food.


Joshua Furth

Josh is an undergraduate student currently working towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering and also planning on completing the Aerospace Engineering Certificate Program.  He is currently leading work on the TriangleTraffic app, which will provide location-based traffic warnings based on real-time knowledge of sports games and other major events.  Outside of the lab Josh is interested in robotics and anything that flies, and he swims on Duke’s Varsity Swim Team.


Kaijie Chen

Kaijie is a Mechanical Engineer who hopes to use entrepreneurship to change the world. He studies Mechanical Engineering, specializing in aerospace engineering. His research focuses on drones' impacts on wildlife. He has also designed  a Vertical Takeoff and Landing drone with a team in Xiamen University. He is an entrepreneur in heart, who hopes to use engineering knowledge to help develop technologies that will have significant influence in the coming decades.




Wes Ross

Wes Ross earned his B.S. degree in computer engineering from the University of New Mexico in May 2011. As a IGERT WISeNet trainee, Wes’s previous research has focused on the fusion of behavioral sensoring and human driver models for applications in ground vehicles to maximize combined vehicle and driver performance.  See the WISeNet Experiment on Intelligent Sensing and Control for Automotive Human Machine Interface and his IEEE CDC publication for more information about his work.  His current research is focused on agent based modeling of heterogeneous environments in which machines and humans work together.  Outside of the lab, Wes is an active member of the departmental graduate student committee and of the outdoor student-lead leadership group called Building Outdoor Leaders and Doers (BOLD).  He expects to graduate in Dec, 2017.

Victor Chen

Victor is an undergraduate student working towards a double major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, as well as a minor in Economics. He is currently focusing on Micro-Aerial Vehicles and their potential applications in wildlife conservationism. Outside of the lab, Victor likes to golf, read, work on Duke's Formula SAE car, and swim on Duke’s Varsity Swim Team.




Delaney Lagrew

Delaney is an undergraduate student working towards a major in Neuroscience, as well as a minor in Chemistry and Biology. He is currently focusing on Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy studies dealing with workload and boredom. Outside of the lab, Delaney likes to sail, travel, swim on Duke’s Varsity Swim Team.




Vera Somers

Vera Somers is an Honours master student at Delft University of Technology in the department of Control & Simulation at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering. She received her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at the same university (TU Delft) with a minor in mathematics and statics obtained as an exchange student at the University of Melbourne. Vera joined HAL as an intern and worked on the Drones in Gabon project, where she helped with the testing and implementing of the final system. Furthermore she did research into pedestrian behavior and intent for the Modeling Intent Communication Pathways for Human-Autonomous System Collaboration project. Besides research related interests such as aeronautics and solving mathematical challenging problems,  her interest include travelling, exploring new countries and cultures, meeting new people, sport challenges such as a rowing marathon, dancing, spending time with friends and organizing activities for the student society of Aerospace Engineering students in Delft such as a study tour and Airshow.

 Vinicius Sampaio

Vinicius Sampaio is an undergraduate student at Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), in Salvador, Brazil where he studies Automation and Control Engineering. He is a participant of the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program, through which he completed one academic year at Washington State University. At HAL, Vinicius joined as a summer intern and worked with Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) and its application on a long duration driving simulation, as well on the Drone thermal camera testing. His research interests are robotics, drones, machine learning and computer vision. On his free time, Vini likes to travel with his family, play with drones and go to the beach.

 Sakshi Agarwal

Sakshi Agarwal is an undergraduate student at IIT Kharagpur in the department of Electrical Engineering. She is working on a project which aims to determine the negativity of a person. She focuses on sentiment analysis and machine learning aspects of the project. She also worked on the Wildlife Conservation Project where she helped with the testing of the Drone Thermal Camera. Her research interests include algorithms, robotics, embedded systems and artificial intelligence. On her free time, she likes to play badminton, watch movies and spend time with her friends.



Kevin McVay

Kevin McVay is an undergraduate Senior working towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He is involved with optimizing Micro-Aerial Vehicles for their use in wildlife conservationism, focusing on the development of lightweight and economical systems for use in the field.  Outside of the lab, Kevin is involved in Naval ROTC and was selected to be an aviator for the U.S. Navy.  He also enjoys playing soccer, filmmaking, and surfing.


Kevin Nikolaus

Kevin Nikolaus is a senior mechanical engineering student from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is currently writing his senior thesis investigating the role that unmanned aerial system (UAS) can play in polar field research. He also researches distributed communication networks and hardware ruggedization. His current work within HAL has focused on gathering data on public drone sentiments via a survey he approved with the IRB. He is also involved with the wildlife conservation drone project where he helps with communication and telemetry.

 Serhat Uzumcu

Serhat Uzumcu graduated from Delft University of Technology (TUDelft), where he studied Aerospace Engineering. He is pursuing a Masters Degree in Control Simulation (C&S) at the Aerospace Engineering department of TUDelft. Serhat is an intern in the Humans and Autonomy Lab and his research is focused on improving the autonomy and safety of flight carrier decks. In addition, Serhat supports other HAL PhD students in their research topics.

Other than studying, Serhat enjoys playing basketball, playing ultimate Frisbee, and traveling to new cultures, especially to taste their food.

 Lucas Proenca

Lucas Proenca is an undergraduate student at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Lucas is majoring in Control & Automation Engineering. He joined HAL to work as a summer intern. Besides Duke, Lucas also visited the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he completed an academic year. On his research at HAL, he is interested in applications of drones in wildlife conservation projects.

In his free time, Lucas enjoys spending time with friends, doing outdoors activities like biking and soccer, and playing guitar. Also, he is a passionate fan of Cruzeiro, one of the most victorious Brazilian soccer teams.

 Angela Reisch

Angela is an undergraduate student at the University of Rhode Island and is pursuing degrees in Mechanical Engineering and French. Angela is also in a five-year International Engineering Program, where she will spend one year abroad in France. Her expected graduation date is in May 2017. During the Summer of 2014, she worked on developing and analyzing a survey to discover if there is a gender gap in drone perception and the reasons behind it. In her free time she likes to hike, read, swim, and she is also the vice president of the SWE section at URI.



Professor Peter Hancock

University of Central Florida MIT2 Lab (Minds in Technology/Machines in Thought)

Professor Alex Deghan

Conservation X Labs


Current Openings

HAL is currently recruiting post doctoral associates, both Ph.D. and master’s students, visiting researchers and interns, and undergraduate students with an interest in the human intersection with technology.

Contact Professor Cummings at if interested.