My background is in the humanities; I received a Master’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Utrecht in 1995. Given my interest in computational linguistics, I then moved on to work in the field of language technology at the Eindhoven University of Technology, where I received the PhD degree in 2000. My PhD research focused on automatic language generation in a spoken dialogue system. In 2001, I joined the Human Media Interaction (HMI) group at the University of Twente as a postdoctoral researcher, to work on the generation of both language and gestures for embodied conversational agents. In 2003, I received a personal research grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and was appointed assistant professor at HMI. The project funded by this grant, which ran from 2003 to 2007, was called ANGELICA: A Natural-language Generator for Embodied, Lifelike Conversational Agents.
Other NWO projects I have acquired are IMOGEN (together with Tilburg University, 2003-2007), which focused on multimodal output generation in the context of a question answering system, and FACT (together with the Meertens Institute, 2012-2016) on the automatic classification and clustering of Dutch folktales. In addition, since 2004 I have been coordinating the research on digital storytelling at HMI.
The courses I teach in the Master’s Human Media Interaction include Speech and Language Processing and Conversational Agents. I have supervised numerous MSc students and several PhD students.