Clayton Cohn

PhD Student, Research Assistant at Vanderbilt University

About Me

Greetings! My name is Clayton Cohn, and I am a computer science PhD student and research assistant at Vanderbilt University. My concentration is Artificial Intelligence (AI) with a focus on Natural Language Processing (NLP) in learning environments.

I like to stay active, so I play hockey and golf and also lift weights. I'm a committed Francophile and belong to two French meet-ups that help me improve my language skills and gain additional exposure to French culture. I also enjoy volunteering and participate in two charitable organizations through Vanderbilt. I like taking advantage of Nashville's live music scene, and I enjoy playing guitar.

More than anything, I like to challenge myself. I like to solve problems and learn new things. I like to engage in constructive discourse and hear opposing points of view. I like to broaden my horizons and expose myself to activities outside of my comfort zone.


+1 847 962 6387
Nashville, TN, USA


Mar. 2023
  • Proposed temporal, fully-weighted scanpath graphs as a novel representation of gaze behavior
  • Combined scanpath graphs with clustering scheme to obtain high-level gaze summaries, which were then used to explain changes in gaze behavior during a nurse training simulation
  • Published at International Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference (LAK) 2023
Jul. 2022
  • Developed custom tagging scheme for analyzing discourse of student nurses
  • Applied multimodal ML methods to training phase identification in simulated ER training environments
  • Published at Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence
Jul. 2022
  • Evaluated textual data augmentation methods for small and imbalanced datasets
  • Outperformed BERT-based baseline models
  • Published at International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED) 2022
Nov. 2020
  • Completed systematic literature review of BERT's efficacy when applied to scientific and medical datasets
  • Explored various BERT adaptations across multiple tasks and languages
  • Identified effectiveness of domain-specific pretraining (domain adaptation) before fine-tuning with BERT


Doctor of Philosophy, Computer Science (expected 2026) from Vanderbilt University
Aug. 2021 - Present
  • Focus on conversational agents and applying NLP to learning environments.
Master of Science, Computer Science from DePaul University
Jan. 2017 - Nov. 2020
  • Concentration in Artificial Intelligence
  • Graduated with Distinction
Bachelor of Science, Computer Science from DePaul University
Sep. 2013 - Nov. 2016
  • Concentration in Software Development
  • Cum Laude

Work Experience

Research Assistant at Vanderbilt University
Jul. 2021 - Present
  • Performing discourse analysis and event detection of nursing students during training
  • Designing conversational pedagogical agent for computer-based high school science learning environment
  • Exploring NLP approaches to data augmentation, few-shot learning, and domain-specific learning
  • Leveraging multimodal AI approaches toward analyzing learning environments
iOS Developer at The UpNext, Inc.
Jan. 2016 - Apr. 2017
  • Designed, built, and launched iOS music discovery app
  • Managed team of three software engineers
  • Developed algorithm for quantifying performance of up-and-coming artists
  • Implemented Apple SDK APIs and CocoaPods third-party APIs

Military Experience

Infantry Machine Gunner at United States Marine Corps
Jul. 2005 - Jul. 2009
  • Honorably discharged as Sergeant with "Excellent" Proficiency and Conduct Marks
  • Completed two deployments to Iraq
  • Awarded Purple Heart for wounds sustained in battle
  • Awarded Certificate of Commendation as Honor Graduate (first in the class) at Infantry Machinegun Leaders Course


University Graduate Fellow at Vanderbilt University
Aug. 2021 - Present
"The University Graduate Fellowship is awarded by the Graduate School to highly qualified students entering study for the PhD or the master's degree."
Russell G. Hamilton Scholar at at Vanderbilt University
Aug. 2021 - Present
"Russell G. Hamilton scholarships are awarded to highly qualified students intending to pursue the PhD degree."


Dismas House in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Organizes meals for and provides guidance to halfway house residents transitioning out of prison
Challah for Hunger at Vanderbilt University
  • Participates in semi-monthly challah-bakes to aid in fundraising for hunger-fighting organizations


+1 847 962 6387