2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Winners

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award. This year’s nominees are a very impressive group. A number of them were commended for making significant contributions to more than one research project, several are authors or coauthors on multiple papers, others have made presentations at major conferences, and some have produced software artifacts that were in widespread use.

Many of the nominees had been involved in successful summer research or internship programs, many had been teaching assistants, tutors, or mentors, and a number had significant involvement in community volunteer efforts.

CRA gratefully acknowledges the support of Microsoft Research and Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs, which sponsor the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award program in alternate years. Microsoft is the sponsor of this year’s awards.

2019 Selection Committee: Cristina Nita-Rotaru (Northeastern) Chair, Pieter Abbeel (University of California-Berkeley), Jeff Forbes (Duke University), Elena Grigorescu (Purdue University), Victoria Interrante (University of Minnesota), Amy Ko (University of Washington), Ran Libeskind-Hadas (Harvey Mudd College), and Neil Spring (University of Maryland)

Thank you to those who volunteered their time to serve on the selection committee for this award.

A list of the winners, runners-up, finalists, and honorable mentions is below.


ChangSerina Chang

Columbia University
Serina Chang is a senior at Columbia University studying Computer Science and Sociology. Her research interests fall at the intersection of the two fields, specifically in combining natural language processing and computational social science. Her prior work in emotion detection and automatic text summarization led to publications in EMNLP’18 and EACL’17. She is also passionate about education and student diversity, and has served as a teaching assistant in CS, Co-President of Lean In at CU, and Academic Chair of CU Womxn in CS.

GillespieLauren Gillespie

Southwestern University
Lauren Gillespie is a senior at Southwestern University majoring in computer science and chemistry. She is interested in how evaluation can generate complex intelligence akin to our own artificial systems. Most recently, she has been looking at low-level evolutionary dynamics to understand the influence of changing environments on genes in genetic architectures.

NarayananShyam Narayanan

Harvard University
Shyam Narayanan is a senior at Harvard University majoring in math, computer science, and statistics. His passion for math comes from both the excitement of innovative ideas and new mathematical fields and the clever tricks manifested in competition math. His goal is to share the love of these two related aspects of math through teaching, both as a teaching fellow for Harvard courses as well as a coach for high school math competitions.

YasunagaMichihiro Yasunaga

Yale University
Michihiro Yasunaga is a senior at Yale University majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. His research interests are in natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, where he has investigated data-driven algorithms for automated analysis of human language. In particular, he has contributed to the fields of automatic text summarization, syntax and semantics, and latent variable models for NLP. His work has led to publications in major NLP and AI conferences such as NAACL’18, EMNLP’18, and AAAI’19.

Runners Up

chengRicson Cheng

Carnegie Mellon University
Ricson Cheng is a senior at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in computer science with a minor in machine learning. His research focus is on active perception for visual recognition and object manipulation. Currently, he is working towards unsupervised visual representation learning using view prediction.

LurieEmma Lurie

Wellesley College
Emma Lurie is a senior at Wellesley College majoring in computer science and Chinese language and culture. She is interested in algorithmic auditing techniques to investigate the behavior of Google and other platforms’ algorithmic news features.

WuXinyu Wu

Carnegie Mellon University
Xinyu Wu is a senior at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in computer science and mathematical sciences. She has done significant work in and is very passionate about theoretical computer science as well as bringing people together to share ideas in a weekly seminar that she set up.

XieAnnie Xie

University of California, Berkeley
Annie Xie is a senior at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. Her research lies at the intersections of deep learning, reinforcement learning, and robotics. The goal of her research is to leverage meta-learning and video prediction methods for robotic vision-based control under limited human supervision.


Jackson Abascal – University of Rochester
Maryam Bahrani – Princeton University
Jonah Casebeer – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dibya Ghosh – University of California, Berkeley
Noah Golowich – Harvard University
Jenny Hamer – University of California, San Diego
Meena Jagadeesan – Harvard University
Hong Jun Jeon – University of California, Berkeley
Jonathan Lee -University of California, Berkeley
Runliang (Oscar) Li – Duke University
Nelson Liu – University of Washington
Daniele Moro – Boise State University
Eric Neyman – Princeton University
Kimberly Ruth – University of Washington
Tyler Scott – University of Colorado, Boulder
Andrew Vuong – University of Utah
Xuanyu (Ben) Zhou – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Honorable Mentions

Harrison Brown – Rice University
Timothy Burchfield – University of Notre Dame
Sophia Chan – University of Victoria
Jeff Cho – University of Alberta
Michael Cinkoske – Purdue University
Zachariah Cohen – Princeton University
Trisha Datta – Princeton University
James Dong – University at Texas at Austin
Matthew Eichhorn – University at Buffalo, SUNY
Diego Fabiano – University of South Florida
Grant Fong – Brown University
Hannah Fowler – Texas A&M University
Han Guo – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Maxine Hartnett – University of Colorado
Edward Huang – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Grant Iraci – University at Buffalo, SUNY
Isay Katsman – Cornell University
Pathirat Kosakanchit – University of Washington
Rohith Kuditipudi – Duke University
Irene Li – Carnegie Mellon University
Pengyuan Lu – University of Virginia
Sara McAllister – Harvey Mudd College
Luke Miles – University of Kentucky
Andriy Mulyar – Virginia Commonwealth University
Mina Narayanan – Auburn University
Michael Neuder – University of Colorado
Hamed Nilforoshan – Columbia University
Kojin Oshiba – Harvard University
Shyamal Patel – Georgia Tech
Gregor Peach – George Washington University
Rowan Phipps – University of Washington
Prasanna Ramakrishnan – Stanford University
Silei Ren – Brown University
Nicholas Rewkowski – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Nicholas Roberts – University of California, San Diego
Gili Rusak – Stanford University
Omar Sagga – Boston University
Harshay Shah – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Marilyn Sun -Tufts University
Qiuyue Sun – University of Rochester
Kiran Tomlinson – Carleton College
Hoan Tran – University at Buffalo
Caleb Tung – Purdue University
Jiachen Wang – Vanderbilt University
Ben Weinshel – University of Chicago
Nathaniel Weir – Brown University
Justin Whitehouse – Columbia University
Frederick Xu – Duke University
Jung Min (Chris) Yoon – University of British Columbia
Euisun (Irene) Yoon – Cornell University
Ling Zhang – Purdue University
Ruiqi Zhong – Columbia University