Working in My Group

I am always delighted to receive inquiries from talented students interested in undergraduate and graduate opportunities in the STARS Laboratory. Researchers in the group come from a variety of backgrounds, but share the common interest of advancing robot capabilities for the betterment of society (i.e., building robots that do useful things and help people). For more information, please follow the instructions on the Join Us page of the Laboratory website. I look forward to hearing from you!

Note that the Laboratory (happily) receives a large number of inquiries about open positions. Due to time constraints, I'm simply not able to respond to all messages, but I do read them. If you contact me and do not receive a response within a few weeks, it's likely that a matching opening in group is not available in the near term.

Reference Letters

Please read this if you need a recommendation letter from me.

Each year I write letters of recommendation for quite a number of students. I try my best to make these letters as informative as I possibly can. This takes substantial time and effort.

If you are a student who needs a letter from me, please follow the steps below. This will ensure that your letter gets sent on time with the minimal anxiety on your part. For me, it will mean that I can focus on the content of your letter, and not worry about whether I have the correct envelope/stamp/URL when the time comes to send it in. Please also note that I am not generally able to write more than two letters per student.

Those who don't follow these instructions and approach me in a panic shortly before letters are due, should note that frantic appeals at such a stage are futile. You are not ready for graduate school if you can't figure out how to get the application materials in on time.

  • Step 1: Send me email asking me if I am willing to write a letter for you. This is best done at least one month in advance of the time you actually need the letter(s) sent out. If we haven't been in touch for a while (e.g., you took my class several semesters ago), please remind me who you are, and whether we interacted as part of a class or some other activity. Please don't send me a resume or other materials at this stage. Note that if our only contact has been because you took my class, I can only write you a letter if you got an A or A+ grade. Even though I will write it, for a good graduate program such a letter is essentially useless because it will simply reiterate what is already on your transcript. Ideally you should only ask for letters from people with whom you've worked on projects or research.
  • Step 2: If I feel I can recommend you, I will send you an email agreeing to your request. At this point you need to tell me where the letters are going. This is done in the following two ways and needs to happen at least 15 days in advance of when you actually need the letter(s) sent out.
    • If the letters are due online email me a list of addresses (email/URL) where the letters are going to go, accompanied by a set of due dates. Also email me (in plain text or PDF, not MS Word) your statement of purpose and your resume.
    • If the letters are due by snail mail, please leave a stamped, addressed envelope for each letter in my mailbox at UTIAS. If a form is to accompany any of the letters, enclose it within the envelope. Fill out the obvious parts of the form (your name, my name, your address, my address etc.). Please also attach a hardcopy list of due dates for each letter and email me (in plain text or PDF, not MS Word) your statement of purpose and your resume.
  • Step 3: On/around the requested mailing date of the letters, you can check with me to see if the letters have been sent out. However, there is no need to do this. Its purely up to you.

Text originally from Gaurav Sukhatme.