Undergrad Researchers Wrap-Up

Victoria Blackwood

For six years in a row, undergraduate researchers descended on ECU and its College of Engineering and Technology (CET). They participated in two, summer-long Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs that were made possible by grants from the National Science Foundation.

The department of computer science’s program looked at software testing and software analytics. Joining the five ECU students, five others came from Cornell University, Florida International University and Appalachian State University. Research topics ranged from machine learning to natural language processing to blockchain for cybersecurity learning. Six faculty members from the department served as research mentors for the students.

Jack Edwards is a rising senior within ECU’s department of computer science. His research centered around machine learning and topic modeling. On participating in the program, Edwards said it, “gave me more experience with academic research. I learned about the research process and more importantly how to narrow down my research focus.”

BME-SIM REU 2018 Summer program included, front row from left to right, Dr. Stephanie George (PI and CET assistant professor), Natalie Dottle (LeTourneau University), Madeline Pauley (ECU), Tyra Bookhart (George Mason), Thomas Winterfield (UNCC), Megan Stevens (UConn), Victoria Blackwood (ECU), and Erica Bell (Graduate Assistant). Back row from left to right, Jacob Fallon (Long Beach State), Christopher Gough (Rowan University), Joshua Dupaty (Mercer), Shea Middleton (Fayatteville Tech CC), and Dr. Zac Domire (CoPI, Health and Human Performance).

Computer Science REU 2018 Summer program included, from left to right, Dr. Venkat Gudivada (chair, CET Computer Science), Jack Reilly Edwards (ECU), Junghwan Oh (Cornell), Elizabeth J Chilcoat (ECU), Sanaabida Amin (FIU), Sophia L Armstrong (ECU), Elliot McMillian (ASU), James P Phillips (ECU), Emily Vick (Cornell), Brandon Lee Underwood (ECU), Ricky Lovick, Jr., (UNC Pembroke), and Dr. Junhua Ding (CET associate professor).

CET’s Biomedical Engineering in Simulation, Imaging and Modeling (BME-SIM) program also hosted 10 students. Students from ECU, University of Connecticut, George Mason University, LeTourneau University, Mercer University, UNC Charlotte, Long Beach State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College and Rowan University were exposed to cutting-edge research utilizing advanced computational models with applications in biomedical engineering.

Victoria Blackwood is from High Point, North Carolina and will be an engineering junior (with a biomedical concentration) starting this Fall. She came to the program without having any research experience.

“This (the program) gave me an idea to see if research was for me,” said Blackwood. “It gave me a lot of experience, especially in a new program like OpenSim, and biomechanics, a field that I want to study in graduate school.”

The BME-SIM program is a collaboration between multiple ECU departments, including engineering, kinesiology, physics, and communication sciences and disorders. CET’s Dr. Stephanie George is the program’s principal investigator, and Dr. Zachary Domire from the College of Health and Human Performance is the program’s co-PI.

Both programs closed their summer with a poster session that outlined the research students conducted while at ECU.

Jack Edwards