Awards 2008-2009

Undergraduate & Graduate Student Awards

Outstanding Senior Award (Fall): Tasneem Kaochar

Tasneem Kaochar is truly an outstanding senior in scholarship, research, and outreach. She has been a Science Ambassador, she participated in the department's Women in Computer Science (WISC) group, she served as a mentor to middle school students, and she was the leader of a computer science outreach group. Tasneem worked with Professor Saumya Debray for two years on the implementation of pointer alias analysis, with the ultimate goals of reducing the code size of the Linux operating system and of assisting in the analysis of computer malware.

Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award: Justin Samuel

Justin Samuel worked with Professor John Hartman on the Stork research project for two years. Justin contributed to Stork in numerous ways, mostly related to its security aspects. Justin was second author of a paper published in the highly competitive ACM Computer and Communications Security Conference. Justin also worked with John on a distributed resource management project called Backs. Justin was instrumental in the design of the system and wrote a prototype of several of its components.

Undergraduate Student Outstanding Service Award (Fall): Tasneem Kaochar

Tasneem Kaochar graduated with honors with a BS in Computer Science and a BA in Spanish and Portuguese in fall 2008. She has won numerous awards and recognition during her time here and has been working on research with Professor Saumya Debray over the last 2 1/2 years. Tasneem represented the department as a College of Science Ambassador and has volunteered her time to outreach efforts. As a result of her research involvement and accomplishments, Tasneem was selected as one of the Undergraduate Scholars in Integrated Sciences and as a Galileo Circle Scholar by the College of Science. Tasneem plans to continue her studies by pursuing a doctoral degree in Computer 

Graduate Student Research Award: Igor Crk

Igor Crk had five publications in the past year, two of which he presented at the top conferences in his area of research. He was also the assistant guest editor of the Journal of Information Technology Research. One of Igor's papers "Leveraging Knowledge Reuse and System Agility in the Outsourcing Era" was one of the top 10 downloaded papers on Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Graduate Student Outstanding Service Award: Ranjini Swaminathan

Ranjini Swaminathan has made a significant impact on the outreach and mentoring activities of the Computer Vision group, as well as the Computer Science department as a whole. She has played an important role in the Integration of Science and Computing ISC summer camp for middle school students, and has lead a related "notebook exchange" outreach activity where Computing Science students maintain a connection with camp graduates and other students. In the 08/09 academic year, Ranjini has also organized a seminar for undergraduates interested in research. On a department level, Ranjini has mentored incoming grad students and has contributed to the goals of the Women in Computing Science (WICS) group.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Award: Jordan Marshall

Jordan Marshall was recognized as being thorough and fair with his grading. He returned each assignment back in a timely fashion, prepared detailed answer sheets to homework assignments that included explanations of common mistakes. Jordan answered many student questions by email and newsgroup postings (in addition to office hours), often during evenings and weekends when the students are actually working on programs. His communications struck just the right balance of being helpful without giving too much help. In the words of his nominator, “Jordan is one of the best TAs I have worked with in the past 35 years”.

Outstanding Senior Award (Spring): Justin Samuel

Justin Samuel is simply an outstanding student in his courses, an exceptional researcher (see above), and a wonderfully helpful person in the department (see below).

Spring 2009 Undergraduate Student Outstanding Service Award: Justin Samuel

With five years industry experience, Justin Samuel taught Secure Web Application Development with PHP and MySQL. The lab filled to the maximum capacity of 31. Using a great deal of preparation and enthusiasm, Justin provided our students the opportunity to learn about Web Development and security issues. Justin also started and led two student clubs: 1) Security Club and 2) Software Development Club providing students with opportunities to consider important issues in our field.

Staff Awards

COSSAC Outstanding Service Award: Gregg Townsend

Gregg Townsend has applied valued technical leadership in reorganizing the department's web site and in adapting it to the stylistic conventions developed by the Web Committee. Gregg developed a novel and highly effective technical approach that involved sophisticated software that would produce, from the existing web site files and several configuration files, a test web site every night for further refinement and improvement. Everyone and every aspect of the department benefits from our new web presence. As but one example, a recent survey of graduate applicants to our department indicated that our web site is our most prominent recruiting tool.

STAR Outstanding Service Award: Rhinda Leiva

This year, Rhonda Levia took over management of Academic Services. She had very big shoes to fill and Rhonda stepped in and indeed has doing a wonderful job. Rhonda had to learn about the undergraduate program while continuing to handle graduate advising. She also had to assume management responsibilities. In all respects, Rhonda has done a superb job with a seamless transition. The Academic Services group has been functioning as a thoroughly integrated team under Rhonda's leadership. Throughout this transition, Rhonda has kept in clear focus the needs of students, while also making due with fewer resources. This group remains strong and effective.

Faculty Awards

Faculty Outstanding Service Award: Saumya Debray

Saumya Debray has, in all of his numerous service roles, stepped up to the plate when leadership was needed, and in each case provided calm, insightful, responsive direction and guidance. While on the P&T committee, he created the scripts to produce the html pages presenting data on course evaluations in a very useful format, thereby regularizing this part of the evaluation. As chair of the advisory committee last year, during a tumultuous time, his was a calm yet knowledgeable and thoughtful voice. While as chair of the department head committee, he played a central role in ensuring that we attracted the best possible next department head.

Faculty Teaching Award: Lester McCann

Lester McCann has consistently been rated by students well above his peers in the university, over many dimensions, including course effectiveness, course quality, amount learned, and effectiveness of the instructor. it is clear that students respect Lester as a teacher and appreciate the care taken with and quality of his instruction. Lester is innovative in his courses, pioneering implementation of podcast and video lectures and the use of a tablet PC to mark up slides that he later distributes. The department and its students are both fortunate to have Lester as a role model.