Carnegie Mellon University

MLD Peers is here to talk about everything from really tough issues to more regular challenges that you may face as a grad student. We're happy to talk to you about whatever is on your mind.

Here are some examples:

I'm not sure I have the right advisor.
I want to learn about xyz subject, but I don't know anyone in that area.
I could use some time management tips and tricks.
I'm thinking of changing areas.
don't like my research project and I don't know what to do.
Should I apply for a joint PhD program? Can/should I take courses from department xyz?
I’m an international student, and I’m having a hard time adjusting to the cultural differences.
I am stuck on a problem, whom/how should I reach out for help?
Am I overworking? Am I not working hard enough?
I’m not sure if my advisor’s request for … is reasonable.
'm having trouble balancing school and personal life.
How do I measure my progress in the program?
I'm overwhelmed.
'd just like to talk to someone!

Confidentiality: All members of the MLD Peers group understand that these are sensitive matters, and promise to uphold the confidentiality of any information shared with us.

PhD Peers

Photo of Jeremy Cohen
Jeremy Cohen

Office: GHC 8015
Email: jeremycohen at

I’m a 4th yr. PhD student working on “neural network plumbing” — how to initialize and normalize neural networks so that they train fast and generalize well. I am happy to chat about anything. 

Photo of Kartik Gupta
Kartik Gupta

Office: GHC 8003 (or remote) 
Email: kartikg1 at
Area - Machine Learning

Hi, I am a sixth year PhD student. I did my undergrad in CS from IIT Madras. I joined CMU in the Computer Science Department but soon decided to move to the Machine Learning Department. I dabbled in more than one area before settling on my thesis topic. I am happy to talk about whatever’s on your mind. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Photo of Charvi Rastogi

Charvi Rastogi

Office: GHC 8227
Email: crastogi at
Area: ML + HCI

I’m a 5th year PhD student working at the intersection of Machine Learning and Human-Computer Interaction. I’m happy to chat about: pretty much anything, being co-advised, switching advisors, switching directions, paper rejections, fellowship/internship applications, struggling to keep a work-life balance (especially post-wfh), adjusting expectations about research, giving constructive feedback to advisors, seeking mental health resources, and anything I’ve learned from my pitstops so far. I moonlight as an indoor gardener, with some biking, reading and TV watching skills.

Photo of Jacob Tyo

Jacob Tyo

Office: GHC 8007 (or remote)
Email: jtyo at

I'm a 5th year PhD student focusing broadly on meta learning, but I pretend to be a pro motorcycle racer in my free time. PhDs are friggin hard. Lmk if you want to talk about it.

Photo of Motolani Olarinre


Office: GHC 8005 (or remote)
Email: molarinr at
Area: Computational Neuroscience

I'm a 5th year PhD student working on (Biological) Neural signal processing with applications in Brain Computer Interface. I am also into long (really medium) distance running. My experience has been: The beginning is the most difficult part. Community really does help, so feel free to reach out about anything.

Photo of Don Dennis


Office: GHC 8110
Email: donkurid at

I’m a 4th PhD student working on resource efficient machine learning -- making machine learning algorithms compute/memory/energy efficient. I am happy to chat on any topic you might want to discuss. Feel free to reach out!


Photo of Ashwini Pokle


Office: GHC 8113
Email: apokle at

I'm a fourth year PhD student working on diffusion models and deep equilibrium models. In my free time I love to do indoor gardening, painting, and walking around in Schenley park. PhD can be tough and taxing. I am happy to chat about anything---mental health, work-life balance, switching research directions, switching advisors, etc.

Photo of Gabriel Sarch


Office: NSH 4604 or Remote
Email: gsarch at
Area - Computer Vision & Computational Neuroscience

I’m a 3rd year PhD student in the Machine Learning and Neural Computation joint program. I have dealt with: co-advisory, switching directions, research stress/planning, fellowships, Pittsburgh living, and much more. Would love to chat!

Photo of YJ Choe


Office: FMS 327 (or remote)
Email: yjchoe at
Area -

I'm a fifth-year joint PhD student in Statistics and Machine Learning, currently working on topics in sequential inference, game-theoretic statistics, and forecast comparison. In my spare time, I enjoy watching sports, and I also started learning to play guitar. I'm happy to talk about pretty much anything, including switching topics (done it several times), handling research stress, work-life balance, and joint program related things.

Photo of Tanya Marwah


Office: GHC 8123 (or remote)
Email: tmarwah at
Area -

Hi, I am a 4th year PhD student working boardly working in the intersection of differential equations and neural networks. I am happy to talk about anything---from feeling overwhelmed with research, imposter syndrome, etc. Please do not hesitate to reach out!

Photo of Chenghui Zhou


Office: GHC 8113
Email: chenghuz at

I'm a 7th year PhD working on generative models and their applications. I have a cute dog at home and I take walks with her a lot in my free time. In the summer I enjoy going camping. I also like fashion. I struggled a lot during the PhD with advisor changes, and I understand this process is not easy. Feel free to chat with me regarding any of your concerns and we can talk it through.