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CSoI Student Research Seminar Series this Spring

This spring the CSoI will highlight research conducted by two undergraduate Channels Scholars and an interdisciplinary student research team. Seminars will take place virtually in March, April, and May.


The programs are part of the CSoI’s overarching Information Frontiers Learning Initiative. “Two of our successful long-running training programs have been the Channels Scholar experience for undergraduates and the Interdisciplinary Student Research Collaborative involving graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral scholars,” described Brent Ladd, CSoI Director of Education, “We are proud of the accomplishments of these students and are looking forward to hosting the seminar series.”


Seminar Dates, Times (EDT), and Presenters:

March 18, 2 PM Natalie McGuckin, CSoI Channels Scholar, will present research conducted with Dr. Mark Ward on building tools and formulas for visualizing complex mathematical structures.


March 31, 4 PM Changlong Wu, Ph.D. candidate, University of Hawaii - Manoa (CSoI partner), will present a seminar titled: Prediction and Learning with eventual almost sure guarantees


April 14, 2 PM The D2IE Student Research Team will present their XPRIZE Challenge project on the data science and economics of the digital divide phenomenon in education. The team is represented by graduate and undergraduate students from Purdue, Bryn Mawr, and U. of North Texas.


May 12, 2 PM Nathan R. Kanter, CSoI Channels Scholar, will present research conducted with Dr. Vetria Byrd on data visualization of lupus and population demographics.


Details of each seminar, with a Zoom link to participate, will be announced soon on the Events Calendar at Learn more about these student training programs below.



Channels Scholar Program:

 During the last ten years, Channels Scholars has involved 128 undergraduates in academic year trainings where the students work alongside CSoI affiliated faculty taking on specific projects in data and information research with applications to a wide range of domain areas. “These research experiences have bolstered students’ opportunities for summer internships, and many have gone on to graduate research programs, with several of our early undergrad trainees now in faculty positions,” said Ladd.


The Channels Scholar program was first designed and established at Bryn Mawr College by CSoI Associate Director and Professor of Computer Science, Deepak Kumar. “Having this connected with the Center has extended students’ opportunities where they can also participate in summer workshops, and professional development trainings organized by CSoI,” said Kumar.


“Following on the success at Bryn Mawr, the Center was able to expand the Channels program working with more than thirty faculty at seventeen universities involved in mentoring the students," said Bob Brown, CSoI Managing Director. "It’s truly served the purpose of helping prepare these students to go on to graduate school and careers in the science of information.”


The program has not only created an experiential pathway for undergraduates to enter the data and information science domain areas but has also served as an important pathway for underserved populations with 59% of participants being women and 27% representing minority populations.


Interdisciplinary Student Research Collaborative:

 Since its inception in 2012 the Interdisciplinary Student Research Collaborative has involved twenty research teams of graduate and undergraduate students, and postdocs from nearly thirty universities representing more than twenty disciplines. The teams have addressed topics ranging from information theory and machine learning to topics in medicine and genetics to educational paradigms.


“CSoI got its start by involving leading faculty from a broad spectrum of disciplines collaborating on the emerging science of information. I thought, why not create a platform and pathways for graduate students and postdocs to also collaborate,” said Ladd. “Along the way, we made more room for advanced undergrads to participate on the teams. Being steeped in interdisciplinary team science, with responsibilities to lead the process, has made a sizeable impact on these students and postdocs. Many of them have secured faculty positions and credit their experience on the teams as a major factor.”


This annual training program is a combination of intensive summer hands-on training in data science and team research, followed by opportunities for the students to co-author NSF-style grants to CSoI to fund continued team collaborations for one to two years.


“One of the positive outcomes from the teams program is that the students work together toward co-presenting their results at major conferences, and many teams have gone on to publish their research in peer-reviewed journals,” said Ladd.


Like the Channels Scholars program, the Interdisciplinary Student Research Collaborative effort has emphasized integrated active diversity and inclusion. One of the explicit objectives was to achieve gender balance with the student-led teams. To date with 77 students and postdocs participating across the twenty teams, a 1:1 gender balance overall has been achieved (48% women: 52% men). In addition to the basic gender makeup, team leadership dynamics are also important. Nearly half of the teams (nine of the twenty teams) have been led by women students and postdocs.


Readers can access additional details about the Interdisciplinary Student Research Collaborative, and the Channels Scholar Program at the CSoI website.