Congratulations 2021 HDSI Scholarship Recipients

by Trista Sobeck

Congratulations to 28 Halıcıoğlu Data Science Undergraduate scholarship recipients who have shown they are motivated to find data-driven solutions to real-world problems. In HDSI’s mission of supporting multidisciplinary, student-led projects, our 2021 recipients show promise as future Data Science leaders.

The program was open to all UC San Diego undergraduate students, with priority given to students in the Data Science major or minor. Here are some highlights from this year’s recipients:

Camille Dunning was inspired by her recent neurobiology coursework and involvement in IEEE Project Drive. Her interest in reinforcement learning was piqued. “I am also focusing on signal processing (ECG waveforms and economic data in the past) and Natural Language Processing,” she explains. She recently founded a startup that is working to improve current NLP practices and actualize a fully functioning and smart product.

Michael Garcia-Perez  is excited to use data in order to help capture regional COVID trends by applying natural language processing techniques. “The data that I specifically work with consists of various Twitter data and Google Trends. The sentiment provided from tweets will allow me to identify trends in COVID rates which will help me answer my research,” he says. He is observing regional COVID rates so that he can discover trends that might be preventable. 

Amelia Kawasaki originally came to data science from cyber security. After seeing how data scientists were able to process and train models on network and file data to improve cyber security on local networks, she became inspired. “It was the first time that I was able to see how math and computer science skills could directly protect people. Data science is the perfect union of math and computer science that I didn’t know I wanted,” she explains. The scholarship will enable her to focus on her project over the summer so she can begin her career in research and enter grad school.

Bailey Man is interested in using data science for projects spanning from GIS data, and website user purchases, to COVID particles and recently, dolphin cognition. This project is unique because it attempts to gain insight into the conversations and sounds made dolphins and provides the architecture for much further research. “The types of problems I envision myself solving are ones that utilize massive amounts of data, not simply for the sake of its size, but also because the scale is only recently becoming possible,” he says.

Sam Schickler has been interested in data since the 7th grade. “I want to use data to help people understand our world better. Whether that is in neuroscience, where I am currently helping to develop software and algorithms to help scientists understand the brain, or in economics or in political science,” he says. One of Sam’s goals is to help enable the use and development of CIDAN (Calcium Image Data Analysis) to process brain images.

Sirui Tao would like to explore the possibility of using AI to facilitate better design interaction, optimize the design process. “The scholarship helps introduce me to Prof. Judith Fan’s Cognitive Tools lab, which gives me lots of opportunities to learn from other researchers who are actively approaching the problems in various other ways,” he says. He is working on a project that will showcase how AI can be used in a highly creative field.

Zirui Wang who also goes by Colin, has been an EDM producer for a few years and started to wonder if artificial intelligence could be used to put the music together. “Starting from here, I began to read data science books and fell in love with it,” he says. Colin is also working on a proposed project that aims to extract useful information from any single audio/music spectrogram and uses a CNN-based stacked GAN to generate similar music based on that.

Watch some of last year’s HDSI Undergraduate Scholarship presentations here.

For questions regarding this article and other HDSI information, please contact HDSIComm@ucsd.edu.