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Headshot of Rachel Holladay

Rachel Holladay
CS PhD Student, MIT
rhollada [at] mit [dot] edu
Office: MIT 32-331

I am a PhD student at MIT co-advised by Alberto Rodriguez and Tomás Lozano-Pérez. I work in the MCube Lab (Manipulation and Mechanisms at MIT) and LIS Group (Learning and Intelligent Systems). Prior to MIT, I completed my undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University in computer science and robotics and was advised by Siddhartha Srinivasa.

Research: I am generally interested in dexterous manipulation and constrained manipulation planning. I'm currently working on forceful manipulation of rigid and non-rigid objects, where the robot must actively plan for exerting substainal forces to complete a task. Some past research highlights include: 
  • Planning framework for multi-step forceful manipulation that leverages task and motion planning
  • Formulation of tool use as a constrained manipulation planning problem
  • Mechanics and algorithms for in-hand manipulation via prehensile pushing
  • Distance metrics and algorithms for constrained motion planning with task space constraints

Outreach: I am deeply invested in opening up STEM to younger generations and contributing to my community. A few major current efforts include: 
  • Mentoring a gender-minority high school FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team, the Winsor Wildbots, Team 13620
  • Serving in EECS REFS (Resources for Easing Friction and Stress), a peer support group trained to help fellow graduate students manage stress and conflict
  • Co-founding and co-leading GWiRC (Graduate Women in Robotics Community), a student group focused building a tighter-knit community, across departments, for the female-identifying robotics researchers at MIT
  • Serving on the Executive Council for EECS's GAAP (Graduate Application Assistance Program), which provides mentoring and resources to underrepresented communities

Miscellaneous: My academic lineage is more of a "family graph" than a "family tree".



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