August 9th, 2016
AUGUST 9, 2016 - Jacqueline Tapia, a student in the Computer Science (CS) department and a summer intern at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), was one of four female undergraduates to be awarded a UIC CS Scholars scholarship. The awardees are full-time students with high academic standing, and each receives a monetary award for the 2016-2017 academic year, to be spent at their discretion.
Tapia, in addition to being an excellent student, also participates in several extracurricular activities. She is an active member of the UIC Women in Computer Science (WICS) group and is Vice President of the UIC student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) professional society.
This summer, Tapia’s CS faculty advisor Elisabetha Marai hired her with Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a visual analytics web application. Tapia partnered with another one of Marai’s CS REU students, Dennis McNamara, to visualize a building’s sensor data and employee movement data, with the goal of helping the company better identify typical patterns and issues of concern. The data was provided by a major international conference, IEEE Visualization 2016, as part of a Visual Analytics Challenge it holds annually to encourage researchers to apply their programming, visualization and interaction skills to solving complex problems. Tapia and McNamara plan to submit a poster or a short article to the IEEE Visualization 2016 conference.
Tapia took advantage of her time at EVL this summer to find out about other projects, and became interested in the Lab’s SAGE2™ development, particularly as it relates to Software Defined Networking. For Fall semester 2016, she will be supported by REU funding from the NSF SAGE2 grant, and will work under the supervision of CS/EVL research associate professor Luc Renambot and senior research programmer Lance Long.
The UIC CS Scholars scholarship was hard earned, but Tapia’s scholarship is just beginning. This recognition, plus the opportunities that NSF affords with its REU program - to expose undergraduates to research and thereby encourage them to pursue advanced degrees and/or challenging careers - not only contributes to her scholarship, but to her inspirations. As Tapia explains, “In the future, I hope other scientists and explorers can learn from what we have discovered and reach technological advances that we have only ever dreamed about. Overall, I have learned that I do belong in the field of Computer Science and I hope that one day, I too, can leave behind something meaningful in the field for those who are to follow in our footsteps.”