James Lester is Distinguished University Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for Educational Informatics at North Carolina State University. He is the Director of the National Science Foundation AI Institute for Engaged Learning. His research centers on transforming education with artificial intelligence. His current work spans AI-driven narrative learning environments, virtual agents for learning, and multimodal learning analytics. He is the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award and numerous Best Paper Awards.

His foundational work on pedagogical agents has been recognized with the IFAAMAS Influential Paper Award by the International Federation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education and on the 2020 National Educational Technology Plan Technical Working Group for the US Department of Education. He is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).