CRA Bulletin

The CRA Bulletin frequently shares news, timely information about CRA initiatives, and items of interest to the general community.
Join the RSS feed to stay connected.


CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Awardees: Where are they now?


The CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award recognizes undergraduates who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing.  Here’s an update on last year’s awardees.  Information on the 2016 competition is available on CRA’s website.

2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award AwardeeUrvashi Khandelwal, the 2015 female awardee from a Ph.D.-granting institution, graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and has since entered the Ph.D. program in computer science at Stanford University. At UIUC, the Department of Computer Science recognized her at their spring awards ceremony.  Here’s what Urvashi said:  I had the wonderful opportunity of working with Dr. Jiawei Han on interesting research problems and to be recognized for that work by CRA was very exciting! I hope to work on interesting research at Stanford and make some useful contributions to the fields of data mining and machine learning.

2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award AwardeeEmma Harrington, the female awardee from a non-Ph.D.-granting institution, graduated as valedictorian at Williams College, where she double majored in computer science and economics. Click here to read her commencement speech. Emma is now pursuing a Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University. She says, “I would like to do research at the intersection of computer science and economics, exploring how behavioral oddities manifest themselves on the internet and how social connections mapped on the web relate to economic outcomes. Hopefully I will be able to guide others’ research and pay forward some of the wonderful advising I have received.”  

2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award AwardeeDanfei Xu, the male awardee from a Ph.D.-granting institution, graduated from Columbia University and entered Stanford’s computer science Ph.D. program. He plans to pursue industry opportunities after graduation.  He says, I felt absolutely elated when I found out that I won the award.

2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award AwardeeHyunsu (Philip) Cho, the male awardee from a non-Ph.D.-granting institution, graduated from Trinity College and joined the machine learning group at the University of Washington as a Ph.D. student this fall.

2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-UpDanaë Metaxa-Kakavouli, the female Runner-Up from a Ph.D.-granting institution, graduated from Brown University and also entered Stanford’s computer science Ph.D. program. She plans to pursue an academic career.  Here’s what she told us about hearing about the award: I actually found out [about receiving the award] in the middle of a final exam when the professor of the class whose exam I was taking, excitedly ran up to my row and showed me the email announcing the winners on her iPad. As you might imagine, I had a hard time focusing on the exam after that! I felt very proud of myself, and thankful to everyone who had encouraged me to apply.”

2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-UpWilliam Rathje, the male Runner-Up from a non-Ph.D.-granting institution, graduated from University of Puget Sound.  He is working on his M.Sc. in computer science at the University of Oxford, England as a Rhodes Scholar. William says, “I remember feeling so honored to be selected by the CRA as well as tremendously grateful to my university and universities I had done research at for creating environments in which undergraduates can  take on cutting edge problems in computer science and pursue their research goals to the fullest. I think that kind of encouragement of undergraduate students is paramount for developing the next generation of  computer science students, and I feel so lucky to have had the support and encouragement of great mentors. I am also grateful that my school allowed so many opportunities for teaching and mentorship of other students by  undergraduates, which ended up making for some of the most rewarding experiences in my undergraduate education.”

2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-UpBrett Boston, the male Runner-Up from a Ph.D.-granting institution, graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle and is now working toward a Ph.D. in computer science at MIT. He plans to pursue a career in academia after graduation.

CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Awardees: Where are they now?