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SPIN Interns Garner Achievements, Success Over Academic Year

SPIN interns at UIUC's 2022 Engineering Open House.

Participants of NCSA’s Students Pushing Innovation (SPIN) program gained notoriety for their many accomplishments over the 2021-22 academic year.

Among them were returning interns Haihley Connors, Quentin Herzig and Haolin Luo, recipients of the 2021 Jerry Fiddler Innovation Undergraduate Fellowship award. These three students were among the 20 awardees who were recognized at a virtual ceremony in November for their exceptional contributions to interdisciplinary research projects that explore new topics and innovation.

Portrait of Haihley Connors.

“I am extremely honored to be nominated and to receive the 2021 Jerry Fiddler Innovation Undergraduate Fellowship award,” Connors said. “After hearing about the prestige of this award, I felt so blessed to be a recipient. Mr. Fiddler’s accomplishments are utterly amazing, and this recognition has pushed me to work even harder.”

Connors and Herzig credited the network of researchers, faculty and staff in their achievements.

“The connections and opportunities the NCSA provides us interns with are once in a lifetime, and I am so grateful to be a part of the program,” Connors said.

SPIN interns engaged in conversation with Jerry Fiddler.

Meeting Mr. Fiddler in person after having a virtual ceremony was great, and the conversations we had were inspiring. It is such a privilege to speak to someone and receive recognition from someone so accomplished about my research and the beginnings of my future career.

Haihley Connors, SPIN intern and UIUC undergrad student.
Portrait of Quentin Herzig.

“I am incredibly honored to have my research recognized with this award,” Herig said. “We work hard in our research to produce high-level work and the support from our mentors is always present, but to have my work recognized by this award was a huge honor.

“In addition to supporting my research, this award has motivated me to keep working even harder to continue pushing myself and my research. Having the opportunity to meet Mr. Fiddler in person and present my project to him was a wonderful and enlightening experience.”

SPIN Students Leading the Way

Returning interns Pranshu Chaturvedi, William Eustis and Nikil Ravi lead thought-training sessions on HAL during the past spring semester. These three students have participated in the SPIN program for the last two years, allowing them to master their technical skills and knowledge.

For the fourth year in a row, a SPIN intern was recognized in Outstanding Undergraduate Research at Engineering Open House 2022. Muhil Arumugam won second place for his presentation of his student research at NCSA’s Center for Artificial Intelligence Innovation.

Additional SPIN intern accomplishments include:

  • Arumugam and Eustis also participated in the Ashby Prize in Computational Science hackathon at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, placing second and third, respectively.
  • Ravi received recognition for his oral presentation at the 2022 Undergraduate Research Symposium.
  • Foziea Garada gave a talk about her Nobel Project at the NCSA All-Staff meeting in April.
  • Eustis took home two prizes at TreeHacks 2022 at Stanford University. Eustis won the “Best ML Hack” and “Most likely to Become a Business” prizes for his project on Machine Learning efficiency called “Fine Tuned Heads.”
    • “I am extremely thankful to have won the (TreeHacks 2022) prizes,” Eustis said. “I’m also thankful to NCSA. NCSA’s SPIN program has allowed me to develop my passion for efficient ML.”

Virtual Poster Presentations

Check out these engaging poster presentations from the 2021-22 SPIN interns to learn more about the projects and research they’re working on at our center. These videos will be available for viewing until June 3.

Interns and Mentors Nominated for Recognition

Congratulations to all SPIN interns, mentors and recent Illinois graduates on completing the program’s spring term. SPIN participants who will receive an NCSA letter of recognition include:

  • Lyuxing He, Electrical Engineering
    Project: Teaching Experiences Around Cutting-Edge Visualization of Materials Science Data
    Mentor: Andre Schleife
  • Muhil Arumugam, Statistics and Computer Science
    Project: Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure
    Mentor: Volodymyr Kindratenko
  • Nikil Ravi, Mathematics and Computer Science
    Project: Convergence of Physics-Inspired AI and Extreme-Scale Computing for Multi-Messenger Astrophysics
    Mentor: Eliu Huerta
  • Anushka Gami, Information Science
    Project: Quantifying the Effectiveness of Scientific Documentaries Using Natural Language Processing
    Mentor: Jill Naiman
  • Alistair Nunn, Information Science
    Project: Natural language processing
    Mentor: Jill Naiman
  • Quentin Herzig, Crop Sciences
    Project: Visual Analytics Group 3D Biological Network Visualization
    Mentors: Kalina Borkiewicz and Charles Blatti

SPIN mentors who will receive an NCSA certificate of recognition for their outstanding mentorship this academic year include:

  • Volodymyr Kindratenko
  • Eliu Huerta
  • Zeynep Madak-Erdogan
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