CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award

This award recognizes individual faculty members who have provided exceptional mentorship, undergraduate research experiences, and, in parallel, guidance on admission and matriculation of these students to research-focused graduate programs in computing. Click here for award information.

Selection committee: Monica Anderson (University of Alabama), Renee Bryce (University of North Texas), Gary Holness (Clark University), Denys Poshyvanyk (William & Mary) Chair

Dr. Carrie Demmans Epp is an Assistant Professor of Computing Science at the University of Alberta, Canada. Her research interests include the use of technology for supporting learning and assessment. Dr. Demmans Epp has mentored 69 undergraduate students in the past 10 years. All of the undergraduate students she has mentored have moved into research roles or obtained industry positions where they use the development and analytic skills they learned while working with Demmans Epp: 6 are working as researchers (e.g., modeling user interactions with software, co-designing and evaluating technologies with Indigenous communities), 7 have completed research-based MSc degrees, another 11 have started an MSc, 2 are now pursuing PhDs in human-computer interaction (HCI), and 4 are applying to graduate programs in CS and HCI.

Dr. Demmans Epp’s mentees received prestigious awards to pursue their studies and research. Of Demmans Epp’s undergraduate mentees, 6 have been awarded large national scholarships (4 NSERC CGS-M, 1 NSERC PGS-D, 1 Facebook Fellowship, 1 Apple AI/ML Scholar, and 1 Google DeepMind Graduate Scholarship) to fund their graduate studies. Two of her mentees have also received large regional scholarships. Another 7 have been awarded the Canadian equivalent of the CRA’s CREU (i.e., NSERC USRA). Undergraduate students working with Demmans Epp have co-authored 29 publications, many of which have received prestigious awards.

Dr. Raja Kushalnagar is a Deaf Professor at Gallaudet University. He directs both the undergraduate Information Technology program, and the graduate master’s Accessible Human-Centered Computing program. Gallaudet is a private, federally chartered university that was founded in 1864. It is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language (ASL) and English.

Dr. Kushalnagar has mentored 130 deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students over 13 years, from 2010-2023. Specifically, of those 130 undergraduate mentees, 85 have identified as DHH, and 45 have identified as hearing. Additionally, about 40 mentees have identified as black, Hispanic, or Asian. He has also mentored 10 deaf and hard of hearing masters’ and doctoral students, through service on their dissertation committees. He has collaboratively published 63 refereed papers with his mentees, and some have received best paper awards, or honorary mentions. He provides advice and guidance on applying to graduate school. Three of his mentees have received GRFP awards, and one received a CSGrad4US award. A total of 9 mentees have gone on to pursue PhD degrees.

Dr. Mubarak Shah, the UCF Trustee Chair Professor, is the founding director of Center for Research in Computer Visions at University of Central Florida (UCF). Dr. Shah is a fellow of ACM, IEEE, AAAS, NAI, IAPR, AAIA and SPIE.  He has published extensively on topics related to human activity and action recognition, visual tracking, geo registration, visual crowd analysis, object detection and categorization, shape from shading, etc.  He has served as ACM and IEEE Distinguished Visitor Program speaker. He is a recipient of 2022 PAMI Mark Everingham Prize for pioneering human action recognition datasets; 2019 ACM SIGMM Technical Achievement award; 2020 ACM SIGMM Test of Time Honorable Mention Award for his paper “Visual attention detection in video sequences using spatiotemporal cues”; 2020 International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR) Best Scientific Paper Award; an honorable mention for the ICCV 2005 Where Am I? Challenge Problem; 2013 NGA Best Research Poster Presentation; 2nd place in Grand Challenge at the ACM Multimedia 2013 conference; and runner up for the best paper award in ACM Multimedia Conference in 2005 and 2010. At UCF he has received Pegasus Professor Award; University Distinguished Research Award; Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Doctoral Students; Scholarship of Teaching and Learning award; Teaching Incentive Program award; Research Incentive Award.

Dr. Shah has been a cornerstone in the development and success of the NSF REU Site on Computer Vision, which is the longest running REU program in the country. His mentorship has been instrumental in providing undergraduate students with immersive research experiences.

Dr. Shah has consistently provided students with high-quality, high-impact research experiences.  He has mentored over 100 undergraduate research students over the past ten years, with at least 34 of these undergraduate students who have gone to graduate school. Dr. Shah’s passion for undergraduate research mentoring extends beyond his own research program by empowering other faculty to become better undergraduate research mentors. His undergraduate students published in top conference papers and received various research awards.