Rebecca Khurshid

Assistant Professor (ME, SE)

Assistant Professor (ME, SE)

  • Primary Appointment Mechanical Engineering
  • Education University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D.
  • Additional Affiliations Division of Systems Engineering
  • Honors and Awards Member of IEEE, Association for Women in Science (AWIS), & Society of Women Engineers
  • Research Areas Robotics


Rebecca Khurshid leads the Collaborative and Integrative Robotics (CAIR) Laboratory, which is part of the Boston University Robotics Laboratory. Rebecca received a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2010 and MSE and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania with the Haptics Group of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory in 2013 and 2015, respectively. She received a US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2011 to support her doctoral work in human-centered design for teleoperation. Before joining Boston University, Rebecca completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the Interactive Robotics Group of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).


Rebecca’s research seeks to create robotic technology that allows humans and robots to work together to accomplish tasks that were previously impossible for human-robot teams. Together with her students, she designs new algorithmic and hardware solutions to improve the robots’ ability to gather data, communicate, and act while working intimately with a human. She invents new technologies using data-driven and human-centered design methodologies, and rigorously evaluates these technologies through formal human subject evaluations. Rebecca is excited by the potential for her work to improve robotics for disaster response, assistive technologies, and human-robot teaming for manufacturing.


In addition to working to improve the field of robotics, Rebecca is passionate about engineering education and engineering outreach. She firmly believes that the field of engineering needs people from all walks of life to identify and solve problems for people from all walks of life. Barriers to inclusion in engineering not only do a disservice to those who are excluded, but more importantly to all of humanity. This is why one of her main interests is working to ensure that every student feels a sense of belonging in engineering. She is passionate about both engineering education and engineering outreach. She has worked on the teaching team for courses ranging from an introductory freshman class called ‘What Is Engineering?’ to advanced graduate courses in robotics. At Penn, she was awarded Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Mechanical Engineering and served as a Graduate Fellow for Teaching Excellence with the Penn Center for Teaching and Learning. She particularly enjoys working with students outside of the classroom to tackle difficult concepts. Because Rebecca firmly believes that all students deserve the opportunity to pursue engineering if they so desire, she often organizes and volunteers at events that introduce K-12 students to the joys of engineering and events that promote equity for underrepresented minorities in engineering.

Affiliation: Primary & Affiliated Faculty (ME), Primary & Affiliated Faculty (SE), Primary Faculty (SE)