Day: March 23, 2020 – Page 2

Sila Tamang, Undergraduate Researcher in Computer Science

Sila Tamang and Grace ParkI came from a background where for computer class, I played Mario games and improved my typing speed. For a person who entered Computer Science thinking HTML was a programming language, I found it difficult in the beginning. Yet, pushing through that class and proceeding onward to the Programming I class acquainted me with Dr. Park. I got into my research with her knowing nothing about how to research and with few programming skills. The project also diverged a lot. We started from professional development for teachers to reaching out to high school students. The purpose of the Code Okie workshop is to reach out to high school students in Oklahoma, especially minorities, females and students from rural areas and low-income families, to help them have exposure to CS and raise their interest in CS. I, along with five other undergraduate students in the Department of Computer Science (CS), have been actively involved in high school outreach with the Code Okie Workshop since 2016 and have taught more than 150 high school students conducting more than 20 workshops and reaching out to more than 20 different high schools in Oklahoma. Through my involvement in the project, I did a co-op program with Google and experienced immense growth in my leadership as well as programming skills. I have been selected as a STLR and RCSA grant recipient, Leaders of the Tomorrow Award recipient, NCWIT- Change leader scholar and had the privilege to attend the NCWIT Summit and Aspiring Technologists and also got to attend the GHC conference in Florida. Being part of the project, not only financially supported my ride through the university but also boosted my job search after graduation. I am grateful to Dr. Park, Computer Science Department, and the STLR program for guidance, support, and funding.

Dr. Benjamin Tayo Joins the Engineering and Physics Faculty

Benjamin TayoDr. Benjamin Tayo joined the faculty in Fall 2019 as an Associate Professor working in the areas of Computational Materials Science and Condensed Matter Physics. He earned his PhD in Computational Material Science from Lehigh University, his M.S. in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Trieste (Italy), and his B.S. in Physics and Computer Science from the University of Buea in Cameroon. As the only faculty member in the department to have earned degrees on three separate continents, Dr. Tayo brings a wealth of experience to the department. He served previously as a tenured Associate Professor at Pittsburg State University in Kansas where he established an interdisciplinary research program that led to his mentoring of 5 M.S. projects, several undergraduate research projects, 8 refereed journal articles, 22 conference presentations, and 7 invited talks. Dr. Tayo’s computational research will provide collaborative opportunities with faculty in each engineering discipline, while also supporting the college’s Professional Science Master’s program. He has already begun working with several students on undergraduate research projects and senior design projects. We are very excited to have Dr. Tayo as a member of our faculty.

Joseph Dwerlkotte Graduates with Three Degrees

For most students, earning a degree and getting a job is sufficiently challenging to occupy their time. This past December, Joseph Dwerlkotte graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, a BS in Electrical Engineering, and (if that were not enough) a BS in Engineering Physics. A product of Jones, Oklahoma, Joseph worked with Merik Aston, Josh Branscum, Colten Hutson, and Taylor Stow on a senior design capstone project to design and fabricate an assembly jig for the restoration of vintage Funk B85C Airplanes. He also did undergraduate research work on CAD modeling of a microwave imaging device to safely detect breast cancer. He did a summer internship with DJ Engineering in 2018 and is currently a Systems II Engineer with Boeing here in Oklahoma City.

Other students recently earning more than one degree are Mohamad Keblawi (EE/BME), Abby Magee (EE/BME), Andrew Matli (EE/ME), and Blake Obr (EE/ME). Several of our current students are also working on double degrees. They are in good company.

Mikala Lea, Funeral Service Major, Receives Prestigious Scholarship

Mikala LeaMy name is Mikala Lea and I am a senior in the Funeral Service Department at UCO. This semester I had the honor to receive the Larry Morgan Mortuary Jurisprudence scholarship for having the highest grade in the class for the 2019-2020 academic year. Not only do I feel this shows my prowess in the program, but also how funeral services have pushed me to achieve and contribute more. I joined Sigma in my first semester and have been a part of it ever since. Within Sigma, I am always helping where I can for our different events. Last semester I became the secretary of our group and coordinated our service event for the holidays. We collected donations to fill stockings to hand out to veterans at the Veteran’s Hospital in Oklahoma City. The group overall, along with the help of some local funeral homes, was able to make 40 stockings to give out. I am also on the CMS Student Advisory Council where I am the representative for the department. With this group, we have worked towards implementing a mentorship program in each of the departments to help incoming students feel more comfortable. Along with this, I have helped to begin working on a better notification system for Funeral Service students so that we can inform more students of events and job opportunities going on specific to our field. During my time at UCO, I have been very proud of the achievements of not only myself but the Funeral Service Department as a whole and cannot wait to see what the future holds for us both.

Thomas Dunn Undergraduate Researcher in Mathematics

Thomas Dunn with research poster.Thomas Dunn is a sophomore at the University of Central Oklahoma majoring in mathematics. He started working on research with Dr. Tyler Cook and Dr. Emily Hendryx in the spring semester of his freshman year. Interested in applications of deep learning, Thomas has been rapidly learning the Python coding language to put these methods into practice. During his sophomore year, Thomas has been particularly focused on using autoencoders to differentiate between normal and anomalous electrocardiogram (ECG) beats. ECG data can provide a wealth of information to physicians about the health of a patient. However, even experienced clinicians may struggle to distinguish normal from anomalous ECGs in cases when the differences are subtle or distributed over long periods of time. Thomas’s autoencoder model takes steps toward developing an initial screening tool for ECG beats. An autoencoder (AE) is a machine learning model which learns to compress input data into a low dimensional vector representation and then reconstruct an approximation. The goal for such a model is to learn to reconstruct the input data as well as possible, which requires learning an effective representation for the data. An AE trained to reconstruct one class of data (normal ECG beats) will have a high error when trying to reconstruct data from another class (anomalous beats). His model uses reconstruction error to discriminate between different beat types which can then be assessed by a clinician or further classified using additional models. He investigates whether AE-based anomaly detection methods are viable tools in application to real ECG data, comparing the performance of the autoencoder against traditional classification methods. Thomas presented his results at this year’s Oklahoma Research Day at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He also hopes to continue his research on deep learning by exploring the use of generative adversarial networks for 3D image generation.