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Heather Pon-Barry

Computer Science, Mount Holyoke College
Adjunct Associate Professor


Spoken language processing, human-robot interaction, computer science education.


Professor Pon-Barry develops computational methods that analyze the acoustics and intonation of spoken language to augment traditional speech recognition---to move beyond just the words a person says and incorporate other signals. She uses these methods to create intelligent, adaptive speech interfaces in the context of human-robot interaction, human-computer interaction, and human-human interaction. Pon-Barry has worked on a wide range of projects including spoken dialogue systems, intelligent tutoring systems, recognition of uncertainty in speech, and analysis of acoustic-prosodic entrainment.


Ph.D., Computer Science, Harvard University (2013). M.S. and B.S., Symbolic Systems, Stanford University (2004). From 2013-2014, Pon-Barry was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Arizona State University. In 2014, she joined Mount Holyoke College as a Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Science.

Activities & Awards

Professor Pon-Barry received a Computer Science Capacity Award from Google in 2015 to establish MaGE (Megas and Gigas Educate), a new peer education and mentoring program at Mount Holyoke College. She also received a Computer Science Engagement Award from Google in 2015. Pon-Barry was supported by a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG), and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship during her graduate work, where she was named a Siebel Scholar (class of 2013).