“As a child, I wished for a robot that would explain others’ emotions to me” says Sharifa Alghowinem, a research scientist in the Media Lab’s Personal Robots Group (PRG). In her early life, Alghowinem faced difficulties with understanding social cues and never scored well on standardized tests, but her dreams carried her through. Breazeal's research explores the potential for companion robots to go far beyond assistants who obey transactional commands, like requests for the daily weather, adding items to shopping lists, or controlling lighting. Still in the fundraising stage, the plan is to equip social robots to teach the children English language and social-emotional skills and provide activities to preserve cultural heritage and Arabic abilities. “We’ve laid the groundwork by making sure Jibo can speak Arabic as well as several other languages,” says Alghowinem.