Betta Manalo with robot

Betta Manalo

M.S. in Geography She/her/hers


Betta is from Champaign, Illinois where she lived around the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and worked as an artist and graphic designer. She is currently a Master's student at the University of Nevada, Reno, studying Geography with an emphasis on GeoArts and social Human-Robot Interaction (HRI).

Her research focuses on examining museum environments for institutional use of socially-interactive robots. She has worked collaboratively with the Socially Assistive Robotics Group at the University's Robotics Research Lab since 2021. She has identified behaviors and patterns for Socially-Aware Navigation (SAN) systems used in autonomous robots.

Her thesis focuses on ethnographic research methods, including participant observation, to study tensions across various disciplines and scales in interdisciplinary collaborative projects. She enjoys working interdisciplinarily with social scientists, roboticists, artists, and museum professionals.

Research interests

  • Critical Geography
  • GeoArts/GeoHumanities
  • Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)
  • Museum Studies
  • Social Robotics and Artificial Intelligence


  • B.A. in Communication Studies with a double minor in Art History and Museum Studies, University of Nevada, Reno (2022)
  • A.F.A. in Art and Design with a concentration in Graphic Design, Parkland College (2016)