2017 Participants

Participants in the 2017 UMN REU Big Data Summer Program

Ben AkinjoBenedict Akinjo

Mentors: Stephen Guy and Vicki Interrante

Benedict Akinjo is a graduate of Century College where he recently completed his A.S in Computer Science. He will be transferring to the University Wisconsin - Madison this Fall where he'll continue studying to earn a B.S in Computer Science from the College of Letter and Sciences. His family moved to Minnesota from Nigeria when he was three years old and have been living in Woodbury almost ever since. He can usually be found playing sports, videogames, or reading in his free time. 

In the future, he plans on becoming a software engineer or a developer at a game studio. Most of his interest in the various fields of CS, such as graphics, virtual reality, and A.I, stem from his regard for their potential applications within the gaming industry. He's considering going to grad school for an M.S in Software Engineering, but may end up going directly into industry (at least for a few years).

Kate AveryKatherine Avery

Mentor: Dan Boley

My name is Katherine Avery, though most people call me Kate, and I am a second-year student at the University of Oklahoma. I plan to graduate with a B.S. in computer science and a minor in mathematics in May 2019 and afterwards hope to enroll in a PhD program. Currently, I am a machine learning research assistant at the National Weather Center and use artificial neural networks to identify patterns on weather radars. Before attending the University of Oklahoma, I grew up in a town north of Oklahoma City and attended the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, and ballroom dancing.  
Deana BuiDeana Bui
Mentor: Haiyi Zhu
My name is Deana Bui, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I'm a rising senior at Mills College and plan on graduating in May 2018 with a BA in Computer Science. I was first introduced to computer science my first semester and and have been interested ever since. My main focuses are currently in UX/UI design.

Nyssa Capman

Nyssa Capman
Mentor: Vipin Kumar

I am a senior at Augsburg College studying physics and mathematics, and graduating in spring 2018.  While my main focus is on physics, I've had an interest in computer science since starting college.  For the past two summers, I've been doing research in space physics at Augsburg, studying electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves in the Earth's magnetosphere.  This has allowed me to combine my interests in physics, computer science, and math.  Last December I presented my research at the American Geophysical Union San Francisco meeting.  I'm currently working on implementing and comparing different methods of determining the polarization of electromagnetic waves.

I'm from Minneapolis, and in my spare time (what little there is nowadays!) I enjoy playing music, cooking and baking, making stop motion animation movies, and nature photography -- among other things.  After college, I'm planning to go to grad school, however I'm interested in many different areas of research, so I'm not sure what field I want to go into yet.  Some possibilities include space physics, civil engineering, or computer science.

Zach Chaviz

Mentor: Stephen Guy

Derek Delzell
Derek Delzell
Mentors: Abhishek Chandra and Jon Weissman
Derek Delzell is currently attending Morningside College studying Computer Science & Mathematics and is planning on graduating May of 2018. He was born in Florida and moved to Iowa when he was young. In his free time, Derek enjoys listening to music and playing video games. He also volunteers at his local church running concert lightning for their live band. Derek is unsure what he wants to pursue after college but is exploring the possibilities of both graduate school and heading straight into the work force.
Marc HoMarc Ho
Mentor: Junaed Sattar
My name is Marc Ho, and I was born and raised in Minnesota. I currently am a junior at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, and I am pursuing a B.S. in both Computer Science and Economics. After graduating, I will most likely go into industry, but I could see myself going to grad school a couple years down the line. I'm looking forward to learning more about data sciences this summer and seeing how such data analysis could be applied to economics.
Zane JoinerZane Joiner
Mentor: Victoria Interrante
My name is Zane Joiner. I’m a student at Beloit College in Wisconsin, majoring in Cognitive Science and minoring in Computer Science. I plan on graduating in the spring of 2018. I grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, and in my free time I enjoy writing, guitar, and video games.
Alex KautzAlex Kautz
Mentor: Gary Meyer

My name is Alex Kautz.  I am a rising junior at the University of Rochester. I’m majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics in 2019. I am interested in computer graphics, linear algebra, and theoretical computer science. After graduation, I plan to pursue a PhD in computer science, and I dream of someday becoming a professor. I enjoy listening to science and comedy podcasts, playing games of all kinds, and discussing philosophy.

Gemma Lein-McDonoughGemma Lein-McDonough
Mentor: Lana Yarosh
My name is Gemma Lein-McDonough, and I am a junior at Simmons College. I am planning to earn a B.S. in data science and analytics with a concentration in mathematics. At Simmons, I also work as a technology assistant. As a researcher, I am interested in how big data can be applied to improving relationships between people and technology. I am excited to be doing research at the University of Minnesota this summer. 
Biniam LemmaBiniam Lemma
Mentor: Nick Hopper
My name is Biniam Lemma, and I was born and raised in Ethiopia. I moved to the U.S. in July 2013. I recently graduated with A.S. in Computer Science and Computer Information Systems from Century College. I will be transferring to the U of M CSE next fall to pursue my B.S. in computer science. I worked as a tutor for computer science and math at Century College, as well as a student ambassador. While attending Century College, I was honored for being named Outstanding Student of the Year from the computer science department for 2016/17 school year, named Outstanding Student Ambassador of the year for 2016/17 school year, and selected to the 2017 All-Minnesota Academic Team award.
Jeremy LopezJeremy Lopez
Mentor: Lana Yarosh
My name is Jeremy Lopez. I am a sophomore at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. I am majoring in Computer Science with an interest in web development and minoring in Mathematics. I plan on graduating in May 2019 and afterwards I plan on either working in industry or continuing research in computer science. I was born and raised in the state of Minnesota while my family originated from Ecuador. For my free time, I enjoy playing video games and playing soccer with a team on the weekends. This is also my first time doing research and I am looking forward to it!
Crystal Luo
Mentor: Volken Isler
Karla ParaisoKarla Paraiso
Mentor: Victoria Interrante
My name is Karla Paraiso and I am a second-year student at Arizona State University currently working for a B.S. in Computer Science concentrated in Software Engineering. I graduated from a small high school in the city of Glendale and had a strong focus in graphics and arts until I got introduced to Computer Science my first year at university. That’s where I was able to discover my passion for programming and building software. My freshman year, I was part of a team in our introduction to engineering class and I helped design and program a Lego robot using Matlab. I also designed and programmed a simple logic circuit that recorded player scores. Furthermore my experience consists of knowing how to make basic games and useful programs as well as understanding the coding languages such as Java, C++, C, Unix, Scheme and Prolog. Currently I am interested in gaining more knowledge on how to build software as well as how we can improve it. I also want to know how other machines and current technology can be used to benefit ourselves as well as third-world countries. I’m excited to participate in research and learn more this summer. 
Mary SolomonMary Solomon
Mentor: Haiyi Zhu

My name is Mary Solomon and I am a rising Junior at Bowling Green State University. I plan on graduating in Spring 2019 with a degree in Data Science and a music minor. After I graduate, I would like to pursue a Master’s degree, but might go into the workforce before doing so. I’m interested in a wide range of topics, so I have not decided on what sort of graduate program I would like to pursue. I am excited to continue my journey in figuring it out! My long-term goal, however, is to combine my passion for music and my skills in data science to do research on topics in music and the performing arts.

I’m a proud Ohio native who loves cats, playing the violin and piano, reading, exploring new places, and meeting new people. I look forward to spending my summer in Minnesota doing research!

Molly SrourMolly Srour
Mentor: Rui Kuang
My name is Molly Srour and I am a junior mathematics and music major at St. Olaf College.  Formerly a biology major, I spent the summer of 2015 in Waltham, Massachusetts researching treadmilling properties of actin in a biophysics lab connected with the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Brandeis University.  I became fascinated with data science and engineering as it relates to large biological and genomic data through my work at Brandeis and in my biology classes. After I graduate from St. Olaf in May 2018 with B.A.s in Mathematics and Music, I plan to attain a masters degree in data science or data engineering. Before moving to Minnesota, I grew up in Redondo Beach, California. I play clarinet in the St. Olaf Band, and I also enjoy writing fiction and playing board games in my spare time.
Kamala VarmaKamala Varma
Mentor: Vicki Interrante

My name is Kamala Varma and I am a sophomore majoring in Math and Computer Science at Vanderbilt University.  I plan to graduate in May 2020.  I developed a passion for Computer Science through first a cryptography-themed summer program at the University of Nebraska, and then Carnegie Mellon’s Summer Academy for Math and Science.  After my first year at Vanderbilt I have learned how to code in Python, C++, and Java, and am on the board of our Women in Computing chapter, which was just created this past spring!  I still don’t know much about the applications of Computer Science beyond the classroom, but I know that I want to pursue a career that somehow involves Computer Science and Math, and am excited to start to explore the field in more depth.  I also enjoy tap dancing, painting, and photography/videography.  I currently live in Minneapolis, was born in Nashville, TN, and lived in Berkeley, CA during elementary school.

Josh Wissbroecker
Mentor: Joe Konstan and Max Harper
Nyla Worker
Nyla Worker
Mentors: Abhishek Chandra and Jon Weissman
My name is Nyla Worker and I am a sophomore physics major at Carleton College.  I was born and raised in Bolivia. When I was 18, I moved to Germany for about eight months to improve my German and study technical courses in a preparatory college school. Afterwards, I came to the US, where I started to explore coursework related to physics, mathematics and computer science. In my first year, other students from Carleton and I started the engineering club, where I became the lead of the electronics sub-team, which currently has a strong focus on image processing. Over the summer of my freshman year, I did astrophysics research and realized that I was interested in data analysis. The engineering team and astrophysics grew my interest in this field and I started to get more involved with computer science.  I am excited to learn more about this area over the summer.