Awards 2018 - 2019

Undergraduate & Graduate Student Awards 

(Galileo Circle Scholars, the University of Arizona's finest undergraduate and graduate science students, represent the tremendous breadth of research interests in the College of Science)

Galileo Circle Scholar: John Kounelis

John is a junior undergraduate. He is current a TA, department webmaster, CS Ambassador for the College of Science, IdeaLab coordinator, and works in the Academic Services Office. He has proven to be an invaluable member of the department, always striving to serve and mentor other students.

Galileo Circle Scholar: Spencer Krieger

Spencer works on Bioinformatics research with his PhD advisor John Kececioglu. He has a special interest in algorithms and how they can be applied to problems with biological motivations. He is currently researching protein secondary structure prediction, and this is his last semester of classes for his PhD program.

 Galileo Circle Scholar: Meredith Larrabee

Meredith is a senior in Computer Science and will be graduating in December 2019. During her time as a CS major she has served as a section leader for CSC 110 and the vice president of the Women in Information and Computer Science club. This summer she will be working at GoDaddy as an intern. Meredith is very appreciative to the CS Department for all of their support and for being awarded this scholarship!

Galileo Circle Scholar: Heidi Lee

Heidi is a first generation college student studying computer science with an ISTA minor. She has been a section leader for the Department of Computer Science for 5 semesters, which has been her favorite part of college throughout the past four years. Although she will miss the family she has made here in Tucson, she is excited to start the next chapter of her life working full-time as a software engineer this July.

Galileo Circle Scholar: Jixian Li

Jixian is a PhD student work with Josh Levine in the area of scalar fields visualization technique combining machine learning and topology. They utilize GAN and other types of deep neural networks on volume rendering to help the user explore time-varying and multivariate data. We also study and experiment to using topology to give further assistance in scalar field visualization. Jixian also earned his BS and MS from the department.

Galileo Circle Scholar: Dyana Muller

Dyana is a senior double-majoring in Computer Science and Neuroscience & Cognitive Science. She is currently a research assistant in Dr. Kobus Barnard's computer vision lab, where she is working on implementing a deep learning approach to detecting human eyeblink in video. Besides brains and computers, Dyana is also particularly passionate about foreign languages and traveling. She has minors in Spanish and Chinese, and has spent several years living abroad in Peru and Taiwan. After graduating, she plans to return to Taiwan for additional language study.

Galileo Circle Scholar: Bailey Nottingham

Bailey is currently an Accelerated Master's student. He will be finishing his undergraduate degree in May and will continue on to the MS degree in August. He has been working with Dr. Debray in researching covert channel detection algorithms in Android applications for his honors thesis.

Galileo Circle Scholar: Klaus Schneider

Klaus is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Arizona where he works with his advisor Dr. Beichuan Zhang. Before that, he worked with Dr. Udo Krieger at the University of Bamberg, Germany. He received a Masters Degree in Applied Computer Science from the University of Bamberg in 2015 and a Bachelors Degree from the same institution in 2013.

Galileo Circle Scholar: Cristal Castellanos

Graduating senior with minors in Math and Spanish.

Undergraduate Research: Brandon Neth

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Brandon Neth is a junior studying Computer Science and Mathematics, with minors in Anthropology and Linguistics. When not working on parallelism research with Dr. Strout, Brandon can be found a few buildings over at Haury, studying ancient Greek potter'swheels with Dr. Hasaki. Volunteering has been his passion since high school, realized now with the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. Outside of school, Brandon loves music, reading, and spending time with his fraternity brothers.

Undergraduate Service Award: Hannah Parraga

Hannah loves computer science because it lets you create anything you can dream of! Her favourite experiences in this department have been hosting Hack Arizona and being a section leader. She is glad to have gotten to spread the joy of programming to others.

Undergraduate Teaching Award: Heidi Lee

Heidi is a first generation college student studying computer science with an ISTA minor. She has been a section leader for the Department of Computer Science for 5 semesters, which has been her favorite part of college throughout the past four years. Although she will miss the family she has made here in Tucson, she is excited to start the next chapter of her life working full-time as a software engineer this July.

Outstanding Senior Award: Morgan Henry

Morgan is from Northern California and enjoys playing guitar and biking in her free time. Following in her father's footsteps, Morgan decided to attend the U of A and study computer science. She was able to explore her passion for teaching as a computer science tutor for 3.5 years and was the tutor coordinator the past year. During her time here she served as a College of Science ambassador, resident assistant, undergrad research assistant and undergrad TA. In the past four years Morgan has had three summer internships at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, USAA, and American Express. After graduation she will spend the summer traveling and begin her full time software development position at GoDaddy in Tempe, AZ in August.

Graduate Student Research Award: Rebecca Faust

Rebecca is a third year PhD working with Dr. Scheidegger.  She is currently a NIST GMSE Fellow working in collaboration with Dr. William Bernstein and other researchers at NIST. Her research focuses on using data visualization to help analysts and programmers better understand how their programs work and how to interpret their results. She has done research specifically on explaining what non-linear projection methods do and is now working on a method that uses visualization to assist in program debugging and understanding

Graduate Student Service Award: Ian Bertolacci

Ian Bertolacci received a B.S. in Computer Science, a B.S. in Psychology, and a B.S. in Applied Computing Technology: Human Centered Computing from Colorado State University in 2016. Ian has been a PhD student at the University of Arizona since 2016.

His immediate research interests are in High Performance Computing. He works on developing optimizations that can be performed automatically by the compiler, and sometimes enabling these optimizations by developing language annotations that supplement the missing semantics of the original programming language. He is also interested developing language features that allow for performance portability and extend application lifetime

Staff Awards

College of Science Staff Excellence Award: Amy Dreweatt

Amy is the Undergraduate Program Coordinator and manages undergraduate advising and the tutoring center. She is a true student advocate - working to meet student needs while guiding them and helping them grow as individuals. Her leadership has truly strengthened the undergraduate experience.

Faculty Awards

Faculty Teaching Award: Benjamin Dicken

Ben is a second-year lecturer and former student in the Department - earning both his BS and MS degrees here. Ben has worked to implement active learning into CSC 110, the department's largest course. His efforts in the classroom and with colleagues across campus to engage in the conversation about active learning has made invaluable contributions to the work the department is doing in this area.

Faculty Research Award: Katherine Isaacs

Kate is a third-year faculty member and received the NSF Career Award this year. She has a thriving research group, publishing multiple papers in top venues and funded by multiple grants.

Faculty Research Award: Joshua Levine

Josh is in his third year at the University of Arizona and received the DOE Career Award this year. Josh's research group has been active and had multiple publications in top


Faculty Service Award: Saumya Debray

Faculty Service Award: Stepehn Kobourov

Outstanding Contribution Awards

Outstanding Contribution: Mascha Gemein

Dr. Gemein is an educational developer at the UA's teaching center, the Office of Instruction and Assessment. She supports faculty and curriculum development through individual consultations, online and face-to-face professional development programs, and learning communities. She is the Graduate Coordinator and a faculty member in the Certificate in College Teaching program.

Outstanding Contribution: Nicole Soley

Nicole has been instrumental in building internal and external outreach in the department. Her skill in marketing and willingness to coordinate activities with students and schools across Southern Arizona has transformed our relationship with K-12 students and teachers. The Department is now a true resource for K-12 educators because of her efforts. Her work ethic, creativity, and willingness to take on challenges is truly invaluable.