Seth Polsley (Texas A&M) Wins IACS Challenge at Tapia Conference

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
IACS Staff

From left to right: Seth Polsley, José Manríquez (undergraduate students in Computer Science at Texas A&M) and Adrián Soto (PhD student in Physics at Stony Brook University)                   Photo by Rosalia Davi

IACS Diversity Outreach Coordinator Rosalia Davi and IACS Student Diversity Ambassador Adrián Soto attended the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing conference held in Austin, TX last week. Their goals were to meet and greet undergraduate students from around the country in hopes of finding those who could join the elite group of graduate students here at IACS. One such possible student is Seth Polsley from Texas A&M who won the challenge posed to the students who stopped by the IACS booth. 
In the challenge the students had the freedom to use any computational method or tool to determine which networks, that were provided in data files, corresponded to different listed categories. "I'm a visual person, so I like to have different ways of looking at the data to help think about new approaches," said Seth, who won a Raspberry Pi for his conclusions obtained from his graphical representation of the networks. Seth plans to use the Raspberry Pi for an upcoming undergraduate research project. 
Other students who stopped by the IACS booth hailed from universities across the country: University of Georgia, Bard, Harvard, U of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Purdue, Williams, Temple, UC Berkeley, Arizona State, MIT, and Cornell to name a few. José Manríquez, a colleague of Seth's from Texas A&M, is still undecided about whether he wants to do cybersecurity or research more related to artificial intelligence and computer-human interaction. Victor Musasia II and Richard Ervin Jr., both juniors from University of North Texas, are still researching their future options, but they were both excellent ambassadors of their institution and visited the IACS booth as well as the industry poster session. Lauren Strong, a junior at Temple University, is studying Electrical Engineering with an interest in Photonics and Optoelectronics. She is exploring graduate degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering or Computer Science, as well as Opto Electro Mechanical Systems Engineering here at Stony Brook
There was even a visit from an SBU alum who has worked at Google since 2010. Claude Castille is a Senior Software Engineer in the San Francisco Bay area who graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Computer Science and Psychology from SBU in 2009. He stopped by the IACS booth and spoke fondly of his alma mater emphasizing his passion about recruiting interns from Stony Brook. 
Overall the conference was a huge success drawing over ~950 attendees of which about 850 were students who visited both industry and academy booths while also attending the many workshops and speaker presentations offered to registrants. One of the main goals of the conference, according to their website, was to "connect with others with common backgrounds, ethnicities, disabilities, and gender so as to create communities that extend beyond the conference." This goal was accomplished tenfold. According to Davi, "Each student we met with has enormous potential to be successful in his/her field, while also impacting society (and STEM) positively. We hope they'll consider applying to a graduate program at Stony Brook, but we wish them much success wherever their paths may lead."