Data, Computer Science Students Earn Awards at National Conference
By Mark Kramer
The Great Minds in STEM (GMIS) 2020 National Conference provided great learning and networking experiences for University of Houston-Downtown Data Science and Computer Science students. In addition to gaining new knowledge, students came away this conference with national awards.
UHD student Michael Giraldi earned honors in the Forensics category of the GMIS Hackathon. The Hackathon is an interactive learning event where students work in teams to solve challenges that test their cybersecurity skills. The event was hosted by the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) and included students from throughout the United States and as far away as Puerto Rico.
In addition, UHD’s Jacquelyn Johnson and Nhi Le took third place honors in the GMIS poster competition. The students were required to submit an abstract and a poster of an ongoing research project, then presented their conceptual research to a panel of judges.
According to Dr. Mary Jo Parker, Executive Director of UHD’s Scholars Academy, more than 50 UHD sponsored undergraduates participated in the GMIS Conference.
Not only did UHD students win awards at the conference competition, but several students had interviews for either jobs or internships with large companies and organizations including Chevron, General Motors, JP Morgan Chase, Google, NASA, Oracle, Boeing and Northrup Grumman. Four UHD students were offered full time positions as a result of the interviews, and three were presented with internship opportunities.
Prior to the GMIS conference, UHD students competed in the CAHSI Data Analytics Challenge. The team of UHD’s Mark Vazquez and University of Houston-Victoria’s Prabha Sapkota took first place in the event, while the team of Anh Nguyen of UHD and California State University-Fresno captured second place.
“This year there were many overlapping virtual conferences which allowed students to participate in multiple opportunities, but by far, the GMIS has become the place for computer and data science majors to participate for job interviews, internship acquisitions, and full-time job offers,” Parker said. “This conference has helped open the door for many students.”
Prior to the GMiS conference, UHD students competed in the CAHSI Data Analytics Challenge. The team of UHD’s Mark Vazquez and University of Houston-Victoria’s Prabha Sapkota took first place in the event, while the team of Anh Nguyen of UHD and California State University-Fresno captured second place.
For more information on GMIS, log on to their website.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second largest university in Houston—has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.
As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by Interim President Antonio D. Tillis. Annually, UHD educates more than 14,000 students; boasts more than 51,000 alumni and offers 44 bachelor’s and eight master’s degree programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service, Sciences & Technology; and University College).
UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.