This article is published in the June 2013 issue.

CRA Announces Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Winners

Vera Khovanskaya – Female Awardee

2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award AwardeeSenior at Cornell University

Vera Khovanskaya is a Senior at Cornell University in the Department of Information Science.

As an undergraduate researcher in Cornell’s Interaction Design Lab, Vera brings a synthesis of computer science and social science skills to her projects. Vera’s research combines critical reflection on issues in the collection and processing of data for personal informatics with the design of technologies. She has assisted with the development of a mobile phone application to improve health behaviors and health awareness, and a mobile phone application that generates music in response to a user’s physical movements in order to foster creative expression.

Vera also has also worked as a teaching assistant, and helped develop an introductory programming course for non-majors.

Matthew Bryan – Male Awardee

2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award AwardeeSenior at University of Washington

Matthew Bryan is a Senior at the University of Washington majoring in Computer Science. Matthew’s research is highly multidisciplinary – spanning the fields of robotics to brain-computer interfacing.

Matthew’s state-of-the-art research helps make brain-computer interfacing more adaptive to the ongoing needs of users, who are often paralyzed or disabled. As an undergraduate research assistant, Matt took on the challenging problem of developing a brain-computer interface for controlling an assistive humanoid robot using brain signals. Matthew’s novel approach allows the user to teach the robot new commands on the fly by training the robot to perform new behaviors using brain signals.

In addition to formulating research hypotheses, developing and implementing algorithms, and presenting research results at international conferences, Matthew also mentors at-risk youth.

Zhengyuan Zhou – Male Awardee

2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award AwardeeBachelor of Science at University of California, Berkeley

Zhengyuan recently received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Zhengyuan has an exemplary record of research results, and a drive to work on deep and meaningful problems in computer science. He has co-authored several papers building on open-loop frameworks for differential games, with an emphasis on control and optimization. In addition to theory and algorithm design, Zhengyuan is a skilled programmer.

Zhengyuan also gained experience as an undergraduate student instructor and tutor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and worked on problems in Algebra with researchers in the Mathematics Department.

Mattea Welch – Female Runner-Up

2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-UpSenior at Queen’s University in Ontario

Mattea Welch is a Senior at Queen’s University in Ontario, majoring in Computer Science with a specialization in Biomedical Computing.

Mattea is passionate about using computing and logic to solve real life problems, and her projects are multidisciplinary – involving computer scientists and clinicians. She has organized research in the Laboratory for Percutaneous Surgery specializing in computer-assisted surgery.

She is also a Research Assistant and Vice-President of the Queen’s Association for Technology in Medicine and Biology, which provides a platform to discuss and explore the changing role that technology plays in medicine and biology. It promotes the idea that traditionally separate fields of technology, medicine and biology have much to gain through a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to problem solving.

Frank Ong – Male Runner-Up

2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-UpSenior at University of California, Berkeley

Frank Ong is a Senior at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.

As a Research Assistant, Frank investigated a novel way of denoising blood flow data using divergence-free wavelet transform. During the project, he had the opportunity to collaborate with radiologists in Stanford University, which motivated him to allow complete user control on the denoising process, because algorithms may cover up some details that radiologists want to see.


Finalists and Honorable Mentions

Finalists (Female)

Logan McNamara, Lehigh University
Marjori Pomarole, University of California, San Diego
Alexandra Schofield, Harvey Mudd College

Finalists (Male)

Daniel Grier, University of South Carolina
Eric Moult, Queen’s University
Sameh Saleh, George Mason University
Rohan Sharma, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Honorable Mentions (Female)

Colleen Alkalay-Houlihan, McGill University
Andreea Bancila, Mount Holyoke College
Willa Chen, Princeton University
Yudi Fu, Brown University
Rachel Gordon, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Grace Muzny, University of Washington
Amy Pavel, University of California, Berkeley
Melissa Queen, Dartmouth College
Elissa Redmiles, University of Maryland, College Park
Stephanie Rogers, University of California, Berkeley
Kaitlin Stouffer, Princeton University
Megan Torkildson, University of Washington
Rachel Ulgado, University of California, Irvine
Rachel Wesley, University of Rochester

Honorable Mentions (Male)

Gregory Allan, Queen’s University
Gregory Bodwin, Tufts University
Kevin Brandstatter, Illinois Institute of Technology
Jonathan Burket, University of Virginia
Nicholas Carboni, Lafayette College
Kevin Clark, University of Washington
Nihit Desai, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Jesse Domack, Florida International University
Adam Fairfield, Arizona State University
John Fallon, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Clement Gehring, McGill University
William Hamilton, McGill University
John Judnich, Santa Clara University
Jason Koenig, Carnegie Mellon University
Alan Kuntz, University of New Mexico
Young Hyun (Albert) Kwon, University of Pennsylvania
Avi Levy, University of Texas, Dallas
Jack Ma, Harvey Mudd College
Kevin Mantel, Princeton University
Douglas McErlean, Brown University
Christopher Miller, University of Rochester
Gal Oshri, Princeton University
Tong Pham, Lafayette College
Steven Reisman, Loyola University, Chicago
Mark Rich, New York University
Cesar Rodriguez, Texas A&M University
Russell Seidel, Clarkson University
Michael Shaffer, Loyola University, Chicago
Max Smiley, Tufts University
Daniel Stubbs, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Timothy Sun, Columbia University
Kui Tang, Columbia University
Kesler Tanner, Brigham Young University
Jesse Thomason, University of Pittsburgh
Jeffery Thompson, University of Southern Maine
David Turner, Texas A&M University
Joshua Wang, Stanford University
Matthew Weber, University of Virginia
James Wilcox, Williams College
Alan Wright, University of Central Florida
Jason Zhao, Cornell University

2013 Sponsor: Microsoft Research
Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs and Microsoft Research are sponsors in alternate years.

2013 Selection Committee
This year’s Selection Committee includes Chris Stone (Chair, HMC); Amy Czismar Dalal (Carleton College); Miguel Labrador (University of South Florida); Jennifer Welch (Texas A&M); Thad Starner (Georgia Tech); and Maria Gini (University of Minnesota).