Hi, I'm Jesse!

Postdoctoral Researcher at Facebook AI Research

What I'm about

How can we leverage mixed reality and virtual agents to build efficient and enjoyable remote collaboration tools? What's the role of nonverbal communication in these new mediums? Where can we reduce our carbon footprint by replacing travel and face-to-face meetings with virtual proxies? These questions have implications for the future of work, communication, and sustainability.

My research seeks to provide some answers. It lies at the intersection of character animation, deep learning, human-computer interaction, nonverbal-communication, graphics, virtual reality, and psychology. I'm currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Davis, under the excellent tutelage of Dr. Michael Neff. Previously, I've had the good fortune to work alongside talented researchers at Oculus Research (now Facebook Reality Labs), Snap Inc. (parent company of Snapchat), and Army Research Lab (ARL) West.

I'm currently seeking new opportunities for research, software engineering, and data science work in academia or industry.

My curriculum vitae.


2013 - 2019

Ph.D. Computer Science

University of California, Davis

Davis, CA


M.S. Computer Science

University of California, Davis

Davis, CA

2005 - 2009

B.S. (Hons) Environmental Engineering

Tufts University

Somerville, MA


Publication Date: January 19th, 2021

Avatar Style Transformation Using Neural Networks

US Patent Number: 10896534

Work Experience

2020 - Present

Facebook AI Research (FAIR)

Postdoctoral Researcher

Pittsbugh, PA


Snap, Inc.

Research Intern

Venice, California

2016 - 2017

Oculus Research (Facebook Reality Labs)

Research Intern

Sausalito, California


Army Research Lab - West

Visiting Researcher

Playa Vista, CA

2010 - 2013

Abt Associates

Associate Programmer Analyst

Cambridge, MA


Spring 2019

CDM 131 Character Animation

Associate Instructor

Autodesk Maya-based class focused on art and practice of character animation. Theoretical material focused on introductory movement theory, principles of animating, and timing. Practical work focused on building characters, developing a sense of wieght, and animating motion such as walking and gesturing.

Class notes here.

Spring 2014, Spring 2015

TCS 007D Introduction to Web Design

Associate Instructor

Summer intensive workshop focused on static website construction via HTML and CSS.

Class notes here.

Spring 2014, Spring 2015

TCS 170D Web Design

Associate Instructor

Continuation of TCS 170D. Primarily focused on responsive websites, cascades, the box model, LESS and Bootstrap.

Class notes here.

Spring 2015

TCS 007A Introduction Digital Imaging

Associate Instructor

Adobe Photoshop-centered summer intensive workshop. Best practices and efficient workflows for touching up existing photographs, introduction to creating digital collages.

Class notes here.

Spring 2015

TCS 170A Digital Imaging

Associate Instructor

Continuation of TCS 1007A. Primarily focused on tools and techniques for creating digital collages.

Class notes here.

Spring 2014, Spring 2015

ECS 089H Beginning Web Programing

Co-Developer & Teaching Assistant

An introduction to programming through both browser-based and server-side web application development. Overview of web development tools and technologies, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, BootStrap, Node.js and MySQL.


San Francisco Bay Area / Davis
Phone Number
(415) 413 8303

hjsmith at ucdavis dot edu