Headshot of Dr.Catherine  Finegan-Dollak

Dr. Catherine Finegan-Dollak

Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Profile

    Catherine Finegan-Dollak received a bachelor's degree from Boston College and a juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law. She practiced law for several years, during which her least favorite part was document review: reading thousands of documents to figure out which were relevant to a case and to pick out the few needles of useful information in a massive haystack of emails and corporate documents. When she saw IBM's Watson on Jeopardy, she was fascinated, both by the potential application of taking over the tedious parts of her job and by the apparent ability of a machine to understand language. In 2013, she left her job as a litigator to study natural language processing (NLP) full time. After earning her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, she worked as a Research Staff Member at IBM Research, where she focused on machine learning and NLP. 

    Dr. Finegan-Dollak's current research centers on semantics: What information is in a text, how can we represent it, and what can we do with that representation? She is also interested in what NLP can learn from related fields such as cognitive psychology and neurology.