Dr. Cindy Bethel in the Social, Therapeutic & Robotic Systems Lab with TherabotTM. (photo by Beth Wynn)

By Alan Burns

Dr. Cindy Bethel, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering and director of the Social, Therapeutic, and Robotic Systems (STaRS) Lab was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship for this upcoming spring.

The Fulbright program is a key international exchange program that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. As described by the Bureau, the program is “designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” It is often used by universities to send faculty members around the world to conduct research.

“It is such an honor to be selected for this prestigious and highly competitive award. I am so excited to learn about new cultures, increase my research knowledge, and develop new collaborations,” said Bethel.

Bethel’s research focuses on robotics and artificial intelligence used for therapeutic robotics and law enforcement applications. She will continue her work this academic year in Australia at the University of Technology Sydney.

Her research in Australia will investigate the use of TherabotTM, a robotic dog, that she and her students developed for therapy support. She will be studying whether a support system will be beneficial for people discussing sensitive topics related to stress and anxiety.
Bethel is also the recipient of the Billie J. Ball Endowed Professorship in Engineering and is a Research Fellow with the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems and the Social Science Research Center. She received both her bachelor’s in Computer Science and Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of South Florida.

For more information on Dr. Bethel or her research, visit and

Bethel Named Fulbright US Senior Scholar
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