PhD Done: Leveraging Other Experiences Made It Possible

The research I discuss in my thesis can be seen as a meta-reflection of my PhD journey. Leveraging other experiences made all of this possible. It is incredible to realize how many people directly or indirectly had a profound impact on my life and on my research.

First, I must thank my supervisors Mohamed Chetouani, Francisco S. Melo, and Ana Paiva. The combination of their experiences deeply shaped my thesis, broadened my horizons and encouraged me to expand in ways I could never imagine.

Thanks to my examination committee that took the time to discuss my work and accepted it for public defense. Thanks professors Tony Belpaeme and Bradley Hayes for your valuable questions and reports on the draft of the thesis.

The research I did was made possible by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Thanks for giving me the unique opportunity to be part of an international research and training network. I am grateful for having been exposed to such a flourishing interdisciplinary environment. 

Thanks to my fellow graduate students of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Project for sundry help and fun discussions. 

Special thanks go to Ramona Merhej with whom I shared the most throughout these years. I wish to thank also Rebecca Stower and Sebastian Wallkötter for their valuable feedback that often extended beyond the realm of the PhD. Thanks to my Talking Robotics teammates, in particular Patrícia Alves Oliveira, and Miguel Vasco, it has been extremely enriching to work with you. Your growth mindset was a constant source of inspiration. 

Thanks to David W. Aha, Prashan Madumal, Rosina Weber and Mark T. Keane, for their mentorship and insightful exchanges. It has been a great experience to initiate and organize the workshop on Explainable Agency with you. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Sarath Sreedharan, and Tathagata Chakraborti, for welcoming me into the Explainable Planning community and being a foundational reference for my work. 

My doctoral journey gave me the opportunity to work in two different groups, in two different countries. I had the opportunity to meet brilliant and outstanding people. Thanks to Kim Baraka for your exceptional help and support. Thanks to Shruti Chandra for your life-saving tips. This work would not have been possible without the input from my collaborators. Thanks to the GAIPS team at Instituto Superior Técnico for the warm welcome and invaluable support. I am indebted to Marta Couto for facilitating my first study with children. Thanks Maria José Ferreira for your kindness and remote support. Thanks also to the PIRoS group members at Institut Systèmes Intelligents et de Robotique for hosting me in such unpredictable times. Thanks to my friend and colleague Elisa Massi, I’m truly appreciative of your work and your unconditional positive regard.

I would like to thank all my friends, including Sarthak, Giovanni, Virginia, Marcella, Sera, and Sooraj. Each of you deserves a dedicated page of my thesis. Thanks, Arnaud, you had a great influence on my perspectives. Your support and encouragement were worth more than I can express with words. Finally, I am very grateful to my family. Their unwavering support gave me the solid foundations I needed to stay on my feet and keep moving forward.

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