Alumni Spotlight

Jeff Rodny, Graduate of Cognitive Science Program 2011

Jeff Rodny received his Bachelor’s of Science in Cognitive Science and Bachelor’s of Engineering in Computer Science & Engineering at UConn in 2011. He began undergraduate research in the Cognitive Science department his first summer at UConn, working with Professors Whitney Tabor and Letitia Naigles. He learned how neural networks work and the intricacies in how to implement them for research with Professor Tabor. He gained a deeper understanding for computational analysis on the data collected from research working with Professor Naigles. After graduating from UConn he went to the University of California, Merced to pursue a PhD in Cognitive and Information Sciences, where his advisor, David Noelle, supported him unwaveringly through grad school. He finished his PhD in 2017, writing a dissertation on reinforcement learning, breaking down how animals learn by modeling brain areas like the basal ganglia and hippocampus with spiking neural networks. That September he started working as a Senior Research Scientist at a Boston-based computer-vision startup, Neurala. He now develops and trains state of the art neural networks, and leads and organizes team projects where his expertise in neural networks shines. The engineering side of him likes combining his knowledge of neural networks with real-world customer projects, and hopes he will continue to be as lucky as he has been so far, able to have fun working with neural networks for years to come.

Photo of Jeff Rodny