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Vinicius Goecks | Image: Vinicius Goecks

Vinicius Guimaraes Goecks, a doctoral student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been selected for a fellowship award in the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (USARL) Research Associateship Program (RAP).

This award, funded by USARL and administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), is presented to a doctoral student interested in investigating novel forms of human-robot interaction to enable humans to train intelligent robotic agents in real time to perform desired tasks. Vinicius previously completed a summer internship at USARL in 2017 and 2018.

"Intelligent robotic agents have many disruptive applications. As research progresses toward augmenting autonomous systems with self-learning capabilities, it is essential to investigate how these intelligent agents should be better integrated into our society--especially how humans can shape their behavior in real time," said Goecks. "I would like to thank Dr. John Valasek for encouraging and supporting me to pursue this award and line of research, and the Army Research Laboratory for welcoming me on its facilities, technical support and funding this program."

Goecks is a research graduate student in the Vehicle Systems & Control Laboratory ( and has been working with his advisor, Valasek, for three years. Goecks earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (Brazil) in 2013. He earned his master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M in 2015 and was advised by Dr. John Hurtado. He is currently a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Intelligent Systems Technical Committee. His main research interests are reinforcement learning, computer vision and data-driven controllers applied to unmanned air systems.