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Christina Petlowany

Robotics Graduate Student Augmented Reality Human-Robot Interaction


My Background

Profile Picture

I graduated Summa Cum Laude in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University in 2016. At Rice, I worked on several engineering design projects, notably a customized wheelchair for a teenager with arthrogryposis that many deemed "an impossible project." I was heavily involved in the Intro to Engineering Design course as a student, TA, and then Head TA. In this course, students learn the engineering design process while they work on a real-world project. After Rice University, I transitioned to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin in the Nuclear and Applied Robotics Group. I received my M.S. in 2019 and am working towards a PhD degree. My current research centers on Augmented and Virtual Reality and using gaze to inform robotic behavior. I am supervised by Dr. Mitch Pryor, Dr. Justin Hart, and Dr. Carolyn Seepersad. Currently, I am funded on a DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory fellowship with supervision from Dr. Nathan Hahn.


  • Name: Christina Petlowany
  • Job: Graduate Research Assistant
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Website:
  • Email:

Research Tools

  • Microsoft HoloLens 2
  • Unity and Unreal
  • ROS
  • C++
Relevant Experience

Selected Research and Education

Research Experience

Gaze & Robotics

Summer 2022 - Present

Gaze-based UIs for Scalable Teaming

Using gaze-aware interfaces to improve dissemination of information to people working with robots. Paper recently accepted in ASME's IDETC-CIE 2023 conference.

Social Navigation

Spring 2022 - Present

Person-Centric Robot Navigation

Employing Virtual Reality to measure visual indicators of a person's navigational goal that a robot can then use for socially-compliant path planning.


Fall 2020 - Present

Augmented Robot Environment

Augmented Reality user interface for the Microsoft HoloLens 2 to display robot status and information. Video demo here. Presented at ROSWorld 2021. Paper accepted to 2022 IEEE RO-MAN.

Robot Reachability

Spring 2018 - Spring 2019

Task-Trajectory Analysis Package in ROS

Visualizing robot reachability to enable execution of complex manipulation tasks.

Multiuse Workcell

Spring 2017 - Spring 2018

Automated Glovebox Workcell

Design of a multi-functional glovebox workcell for performing manufacturing tasks. This project incorporated complex path planning, force feedback, and computer vision. Presented at Waste Management Symposia 2018.


Doctoral Degree

August 2020 - In Progress

The University of Texas at Austin

Working on Augmented/Virtual Reality and Human-Robot Interaction to enhance human-robot teams and human-robot spaces! I am also the President and on the founding team of Texas Robotics Graduate Students (TRGS), a student organization providing professional development and networking among robotics graduate students at the University. Under my tenure as president, TRGS was a finalist for Best Graduate Organization in the University's student organization awards.

Master's Degree

August 2016 - May 2019

The University of Texas at Austin

The thesis topic was the robot reachability described above. I received a Provost's Graduate Excellence Fellowship and a U.S. DOE Nuclear Energy University Program Fellowship. I also mentored undergraduate research teams and was a Building Coordinator for UT Austin's 2017 Girl Day.

Bachelor's Degree

August 2012 - May 2016

Rice University

I graduated Summa Cum Laude and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi honor societies, the latter of which I acted as VP for Rice's chapter. I received awards as: Outstanding Senior in Mechanical Engineering, Distinction in Research and Creative Works in Mechanical Engineering, and the Rice Engineering Alumni Distinguished Leadership Excellence Award. I also acted as a Peer Academic Advisor, a Committee Head for my residential college, an Engineering Presentations Coach, and a Teacher's Assistant.


Selected Projects



Feet of Height


Years Playing Volleyball


Newspaper Issues as EIC




Trained Cat Tricks


Cross Country Race
Contact Me

Please reach out with any questions or comments!

Where to find me

Austin, TX
78712 US

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