About

Building Research Capabilities of Academically Talented Undergraduate Students from Hispanic-Serving Institutions through Virtual Research Experiences 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a disruption in society across all sectors with widespread loss of internships, jobs, and undergraduate research experiences that negatively impact the talent pipeline in computing fields and the future of U.S. innovation. Such disruptions are likely to occur in the near future, and the U.S. must be well-prepared in offering effective virtual internships and undergraduate research experiences to expand learning and professional development opportunities, especially for minoritized undergraduate students. Thus, this project will address this exigency by refining a proven model for developing professional, research, team, and communication skills so that it will be effective in a virtual environment.  

With support from the RAPID program, this project aims to provide academically talented students with research experiences that are critical for graduate studies. The project will ensure that students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse experiences will be engaged in impactful research projects. Equally important is that underserved students will receive funding that will, in part, support continuation of their education. The proposed project will provide faculty professional development in the Affinity Research Group (ARG) model, a Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) signature and proven practice for immersing students in research. Faculty will also learn how to incorporate ARG elements into classroom pedagogical practice to improve teaching and learning. The effort will lead to a national community of faculty who are skilled at undergraduate research mentoring informed by the ARG model and who grow through their involvement with a cohort of researchers and participation in ARG interactive webinars. The proposed effort has the following objectives: 

  • Establish a process to select a faculty cohort of research mentors who have well-defined research project(s), including definition of intellectual merit.   
  • Provide a mandatory virtual ARG workshop orientation for the faculty cohort.  
  • Establish a process to select students based on financial need, academic record, and references. 
  • Build a national community of faculty and undergraduate researchers. 
  • Prepare students for virtual poster presentations by all participants. 

The evaluation will examine whether student perceptions of computer science and their career goals change after participation in a virtual REU. The evaluation will identify the practices that worked and those that were less successful for the virtual REUs. In addition, the evaluation will document the benefit to faculty, if any, of joining a cohort community in support of research with undergraduate student from underrepresented groups. The evaluation questions addressed will be the following: What are the best practices in computing education for virtual REUs?  and How do faculty benefit from joining a cohort community in support of undergraduate student research? 

A broader impact is the development of a model for virtual undergraduate research experiences that can benefit students who do not have the ability to travel to remote REUs because of family obligations. Broadening participation of minoritized students in research can increase the motivation and interest of those students who pursue graduate studies in computing, and studies have shown that inclusion of diverse perspectives in problem solving can lead to novel and transformative solutions.   

Funding:  NSF 

2021 CAHSI vREU Participants

Andrea Corrales
Northeastern Illinois University

Bio

Angelica Walker
University of California Merced
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Anibely Torres
Kean University
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Anthony Diaz
Kean University
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Brayan Garcia Pong
The University of Texas at El Paso
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Elizabeth Soto
Northeastern Illinois University
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Emilio Ramirez
The University of Texas at El Paso
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Eric Landaverde
Kean University
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Felix Rodriguez
Florida International University
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Jacob Whitlow
California State University, Fresno
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Jason Castillo
New York City College of Technology
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Jennifer Ly
California State University, Dominguez Hills
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Megan Phillips
Merced College
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Michael Segovia
The University of Texas at San Antonio
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Nathaniel Valdez-Cagua
Kean University
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Phillip Aguilera
California State University, Dominguez Hills
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Rachel Varghese
California State University Long Beach
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Ricardo Sillas
The University of Texas at El Paso
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Shagota Dasgupta
New York City College of Technology
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2020 CAHSI vREU Program

Outstanding Research and Elevator Speech

Gabriel Soto
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

Mentor: Jose Baca, TAMU-CC
Assessing Rehabilitation Exercises via Movement Pattern Recognition

Video Link

Juliana Judge
Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi
Mentor: Jenn Li, Kean University
Where is the Boundary of Deep Learning Capability?
Video Link

Outstanding Research Award

Gabriel Lopez Lugo
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Jenn Li, Kean University
Optimal Deep Learning Neural Network Designs
Poster Link

Cristopher Rosado Miranda
University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo
Mentor: Jose Baca, TAMU-CC
Monitoring Astronaut’s Performance Based on Patterns Assessment
Poster Link

Jesus Vega
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: M. Shahab, CSU-Fresno
Performance Analysis of Hashing Schemes in HDMA
Poster Link

Outstanding Elevator Speech

Petra Bazan
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Mentor: Eliana Valenzuela, UPR-A
Understanding the Underrepresentation of Hispanics in Computing and Improving Outreach Programs for Hispanic Women
Video Link

Ging Gonzalez
San Jose State University
Mentor: Marvin Andujar, UCF
A Motor Imagery-Based Virtual Brain-Controlled Drone to Increase User’s Attention Retention: A Face Recognition Approach
Video Link

Preston McCullough
California State University – Fresno
Mentor: Dvijesh Shastri, UHD
Classifying Food Dishes: A Deep Learning Approach
Video Link

Honorable Mention: Elevator Speech

Jennifer Nwogu
University of Houston-Downtown
Mentor: Marvin Andujar, UCF
A Motor Imagery-Based Virtual Brain-Controlled Drone to Increase User’s Attention Retention: Quantified-Self Profile for Tracking Affective and Time Completion Data
Video Link

Ramon Rosado
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Marcelo Sztainberg, NEIU
Defining a Similarity Index to Improve Image Appropriateness Analysis by Association
Video Link

2020 CAHSI VREU Participants

Alberto Melchor-Maldonado
University of California, Merced
Mentor: Salam Daher, NJIT

Tracking Eye Gaze of Trainees in Virtual Patient Simulations
Andrei Georgescu
San Francisco State University
Mentor: Juan Li, KEAN

The Limitations of Deep Learning Recurrent Neural Networks
Angelina Plaza
New Mexico State University
Mentor: Mira Franke, KEAN

Autonomous Drone Code
Anissa Champion
Kean University
Mentor: Juan Li, KEAN

Interfacing AI and Human
Cristopher Rosado
University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo
Mentor: Jose Baca, TAMUCC

Monitoring Astronaut’s Performance Based on Patterns Assessment
Daniel Ramirez
Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi
Mentor: Eliana Valenzuela, UPR
Understanding/Improving Local Computing Relate Careers Outreach Programs During and After COVID-19
Diego Pérez
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Mentor: Marcelo Sztainberg, NEIU

Applying Sentiment Analysis on Twitter to Follow the Progression of COVID-19
Diego Rosario-Vega
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Jose Baca, TAMUCC

Connector Mechanism with Data/Power Transfer Capabilities
Eric Landaverde
Kean University
Mentor: Aber Aljarrah, SFSU

Learning Under Lockdown: The Challenge of Effective Computer Science Instruction in Higher Education
Gabriel Lopez Lugo
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Juan Li, KEAN

Optimal Deep Learning Neural Network Designs
Gabriel Soto
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Jose Baca, TAMUCC

Assessing Rehabilitation Exercises via Movement Pattern Recognition
Ging Gonzalez
San Jose State University
Mentor: Marvin Andujar, USF

A Motor Imagery-Based Virtual Brain-Controlled Drone to Increase User’s Attention Retention: A Face Recognition Approach
Hiram Vera Mercado
University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo
Mentor: Navid Amini, CSULA

Data Analytics and Visualization: Determining Factors Related to Poor Prognosis in COVID-19 Patients
Jade Jimenez
California State University – Fresno
Mentor: Salam Daher, NJIT

Towards an Autonomous Drone
Jael Gonzalez
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Tao Wang, NMSU

JavaScript Deployment on the Internet and Its Security from Scale Perspective
Jennifer Mondragon
Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi
Mentor: Martine Ceberio, UTEP

Theoretical Foundations of Neural Networks
Jennifer Nwogu
University of Houston-Downtown
Mentor: Marvin Andujar, USF

A Motor Imagery-Based Virtual Brain-Controlled Drone to Increase User’s Attention Retention: Quantified-Self Profile for Tracking Affective and Time Completion Data
Jesus Vega
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Shahab Tayeb, CSU Fresno

Performance Analysis of Hashing Schemes in HDMA
Joan John
Kean University
Mentor: Shahab Tayeb, CSU Fresno

In-Vehicle Network Communication CAN-Bus Security and Vulnerabilities
Jonathan Rivera
Kean University
Mentor: Vladik Kreinovich, UTEP

How to Extend Interval Arithmetic So That Inverse and Division Are Always Defined
Jose Alicea
Kean University
Mentor: Aber Aljarrah, SFSU

Privacy and Security in Healthcare
Jose Alvarado
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Mentor: Omar Badreddin, UTEP

Predicting Software Evolution with Machine Learning to Enhance Upfront Software Design
Jose Otero
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Marvin Andujar, USF

Implementing Alpha and Beta White Noise in a Brain-Controlled Drone Simulation
Jose Tua
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Eliana Valenzuela, UPR

Understanding and Improving the Underrepresentation of Hispanic/Latino Computing Students
Juan Ayala
University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo
Mentor: Shahab Tayeb, CSU Fresno

Comparison of Network Access Technologies in the Automotive Industry
Julianna Judge
Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi
Mentor: Juan Li, KEAN

Where is the Boundary of Deep Learning Capability?
Mairim Figueroa
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (UPRRP)
Mentor: Martine Ceberio, UTEP
Local Re-Computation for On-the-Fly Changes in Dynamical Systems Parameters
Maria Moreno
Kean University
Mentor: Bhrigu Celly, CSUDH

Car Damage Classification Using a Convolutional Neural Network
Montserrat Molina
University of Texas at El Paso
Mentor: Omar Badreddin, UTEP

Predicting Software Evolution with Machine Learning to Enhance Upfront Software Design
Naomy Morales
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Matin Pirouz, CSU Fresno

Early Detection of Brain Disease using CNNs
Natalie Christie
San Francisco State University
Mentor: Omar Badreddin, UTEP

Predictive Software Design: Using Data Analysis to Reduce Software Maintenance
Natasha Ramos
University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo
Mentor: Martine Ceberio, UTEP

Local Retraining of Neural Networks
Neil Tellez
Kean University
Mentor: Bhrigu Celly, CSUDH

Car Damage Classification Using a Convolutional Neural Network
Nicholas Grijalva
New Mexico State University
Mentor: Pablo Rangel, TAMUCC

Developing Foraging Algorithms for Swarm Robots to Find and Collect Resources on Mars
Petra Bazan
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Mentor: Eliana Valenzuela, UPR

Understanding the Underrepresentation of Hispanics in Computing and Improving Outreach Programs for Hispanic Women
Phillip Aguilera
California State University – Dominguez Hills (CSUDH)
Mobile Infrared Temperature Analysis for COVID-19 with Machine Learning and Computer Vision
Preston McCullough
California State University – Fresno
Mentor: Dvijesh Shastri, UHD

Classifying Food Dishes: A Deep Learning Approach
Ramón E. Rosado Rivera
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Mentor: Marcelo Sztainberg, NEIU

Defining a Similarity Index to Improve Image Appropriateness Analysis by Association
Rodolfo Higuera
University of California, Merced
Mentor: Pablo Rangel, TAMUCC

Developing Foraging Algorithms for Swarm Robots to Find and Collect Resources on Mars
Sofía I. Crespo Maldonado
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Mentor: Alireza Izaddoost, CSUDH

Traffic Sign Recognition Using Deep Learning
Tahea Hossain
University of California, Merced
Mentor: Vladik Kreinovich, UTEP

How to Extend Interval Arithmetic So That Inverse and Division are Always Defined
Yareth Melendez
Inter American University of Puerto Rico
Mentor: Matin Pirouz, CSU Fresno

Early Detection of Brain Disease using CNN’s
Yash Sharma
University of California, Merced
Mentor: Vladik Kreinovich, UTEP

How to Extend Interval Arithmetic So That Inverse and Division Are Always Defined