Laura Petrich, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Ph.D. Student)

Laura is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Computing Science under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Pilarski and Dr. Matthew E. Taylor. She received a B.Sc. with Honors in Computing Science from the University of Alberta in 2019 and an M.Sc. in Computing Science from the University of Alberta in 2022. Her research interests include reinforcement learning, human-robot interaction, biomechatronics, and assistive robotics. Drawing inspiration from her anatomical studies with Dr. Pierre Lemelin, Laura’s research aims to develop control methods for robotic manipulation with the goal of increased functionality, usability, reliability, and safety in the real-world.

During her undergraduate and master’s studies, Laura worked with the Computer Vision and Robotics Research team led by Dr. Martin Jägersand. She advanced a cohesive perspective on assistive technology by unifying the strengths of robotics research with the specific needs of the intended users. Based on these findings, Laura prototyped a robotic learner that can adjust to the user’s needs through basic feedback, making wheelchair-mounted robotic manipulators more user-friendly.

Before finishing her master’s degree, Laura worked as an Associate Machine Learning Scientist on the Advanced Technology team at Amii for a year. She developed a machine learning-based decision making system for Attabotics, which enhanced the efficiency of their fully autonomous robotic warehouse.

In her free time, Laura enjoys nature, playing piano, and board games.